Lift Up Your Head and Be of Good Cheer 3 Nephi 1-7
Over the last several months it's been a little hard at times to find a reason to lift up my head and be of good cheer, I have to admit. But if there is anything to be learned from the period of time right before the Savior came to the Americas, it's that there is always a reason to have hope and be of good cheer. Even when times are tough.
Faith is easy for some
Have you ever looked around and wondered why it seems so easy for some and not for you?
I'm not talking about the general trials of life, because we all have our own pity parties and feel like we're struggling when it seems like others aren't.
I'm talking about what should be the simple act of having faith when things aren't going so well. It seems like it's easy for some. It sure isn't easy for me.
I have a friend that used to be my neighbor and she is, to me, an example of someone whose faith seems to just come easily. She always has a cheerful disposition, and you'd be hard pressed to think of a time when she spoke negatively about anything.
She truly is the epitomy of the phrase "lift up your head and be of good cheer".
Because of the way our homes are facing, I could see her backyard from my front window. She had a clothes line up in her backyard. I know that might seem hard to believe these days, but I would see her out there hanging her stuff on that line all the time. She said it gave it a fresh smell you just couldn't get from a dryer.
One day shortly after I saw her hang her clothes out on the line, I realized it had started to rain. A few minutes later, I saw her out in the rain collecting the clothes off the line. They'd been out there long enough that they were probably dry before the rain had started.
I knew watching her that she was probably over there being thankful for the rain. That's just who she is.
Sometimes having faith is hard
I was thinking about my friend as I read this lesson. Sometimes I feel bad that I struggle having faith when things get rough. It is one of those spiritual gifts that I don't have.
I picture myself, had I been there with the Nephites, as they were waiting for the signs of Christ's birth, and they weren't coming. Would I have been one of the people that worried that maybe my faith had been in vain?
I think that I probably would have been. I like to think that I would have been more like my friend, but if I'm being honest, I would have had some anxiety happening.
Some people have the spiritual gift of having such great faith that they never experience doubts about the gospel no matter what happens. Others, like me, have great faith and continue to live the gospel, but when disappointment or opposition comes along, we struggle.
Watching Steadfastly is what counts
3 Nephi 1: 7 says:
And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass.
And it didn't help that they were being persecuted by the non-believers, I'm sure. I can understand this kind of sorrow or worry, because I've had those doubts that creep in.
But then the next verse says this:
But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain.
Holding on, watching steadfastly, being patient and HOPING for faith even when you're unsure is all that matters.
Practicing to keep your faith is a good thing
I have had many, many times in my life when things did not go according to my plan, and I didn't really understand what the Lord's plan was. It was hard at times to continue to have faith that things would be as they should be.
I have had to really push myself to continue having faith in those moments. But there is nothing wrong with that.
In some ways, I feel as though the struggle to hold onto faith has helped my faith grow in ways I didn't know that it could. The Lord doesn't penalize me for doubting, and He doesn't hold it against me that sometimes it's more difficult for me than it is for others. The blessings have always come for me when I have worked hard to hold on when letting go might have been easier.
And it also makes me pray for the strength to hold on. And gives me a reason to be thankful when I'm able to do so.
I loved this lesson and I am so excited to get going into the next part of 3 Nephi when the Savior appears to these steafast and faithful people!
Grab this week's Challenge Cards
If you haven't gotten my free printable challenge cards before, I have them for past lessons in the FREE STUFF, so feel free to grab them there!
It is six lesson helps/activities to supplement your Come Follow Me studies. Whether it is a talk, a video, or an article of some kind that goes with the lesson, I know that these things really help me get the most of each week's lesson. Of course, the scriptures should be front and center--but hearing the words of our living prophets can help us apply those lessons to our lives, too. I hope you'll give them a shot.
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A New Star Appeared the night Jesus was born