I lay there begging for a few minutes, feeling that it just wasn't fair that this process took so long, and could possibly take years. How much "better" did I have to be? How much more obedient? I don't know what else to do or how to "fix" me so I'd be "good" enough.
Thoughts began to enter my mind and the feeling behind them was somewhat humorous. Not like He was laughing at me, but chuckling at how impatient and dramatic I can be. And I do have a flair for the dramatic. But I have also been very sincere in my desire and so is He. He told me it wasn't about being good enough, it was that I wasn't ready.
Ready? Seriously? I'm am ready! Totally ready!
And then He said that "ready" wasn't the right word. I got the feeling that it can be difficult to communicate the right words as language can sometimes be a barrier, or maybe it's that my vocabulary is too small. LOL Anyway, then the word "experience" came into my mind. He told me I needed more experience with spiritual things and that it would happen at the right time. These things can't be forced or rushed.
So, in other words, spiritually speaking, I'm still finishing up with milk. Maybe it's even milk with toast! But I can't have the really tough meat yet. I'm certainly not where I used to be when I was actively going to the LDS church. I have progressed by leaps and bounds, but it was as if He were saying, "there is more in store for you, so let's get crackin'."
Today, He told me that we (and I'm not sure if it's just my family, everyone, or who) are not using the scriptures enough.
I read A LOT of blogs. I LOVE studying others' words and learning about what they're studying. I LOVE reading books. I have many books on my shelf, written by a variety of people, but for some reason I always procrastinate reading the actual scriptures.
A few days ago He told me to "obtain his word, by studying the scriptures." It was pretty clear, and has been throughout this forty-day fast. Every time I ask what I should study, it is always some place in the scriptures. Usually books I'd NEVER think to study on my own, usually the Old Testament. Yesterday it was Micah. I wasn't even sure I remembered if there was a book in the Bible called Micah, but there is. Obviously. Because I studied it. It does exist and is all about future events. So fascinating.
He told me to read Alma 13-14 today. I thought it was odd, because I'd read those chapters not long ago with my kids, but I obeyed. And two verses in particular caught my attention, and maybe He was just speaking to me, trying to get the message across, but maybe the message if for you too. Here's what I learned...
In Alma 13:20, (and not the whole verse, just part of it is what he wanted me to notice. I'll highlight it.)
Now I need not rehearse the matter; what I have said may suffice. Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction.I got the distinct feeling that I needed to pay attention to those words. I'd always thought wresting was the same as wrestling with the scriptures or something similar, meaning you were doing your darndest to learn and understand. So I cross-referenced with Alma 41:1, and that's NOT what it means.
Alma 41:1 And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the restoration of which has been spoken; for behold, some have wrested the scriptures, and have gone far astray because of this thing...
The Oxford English Dictionary gives us the most common meaning of the verb “to wrest” during the production of the King James Version of the Bible — the almost certain source for English phrases regarding wresting the scriptures, whether found in the Bible or in Mormon texts is:
To strain or over-strain the meaning or bearing of (a writing, passage, word, etc.); to deflect or turn from the true or proper signification; to twist, pervert.In other words, you better not misinterpret the scriptures and think it's the truth, let alone teach that untruth to others. Your reward will be condemnation. That's some pretty serious stuff. It happened all the time at church. All the more reason to "obtain his word" directly for him. Let the Holy Ghost guide you, but even then, there have been times when I did't understand a passage, or I thought the HG was telling me something and then found out I was wrong. This learning curve is tricky.
The important thing is we NEED to be studying the actual scriptures. Not just blogs, articles, or facebook posts. We NEED to have a quiet, thoughtful time every day, with the Lord, studying His actual words. If we are confused, we have to DIG for answers. I'd never tried to figure out what "wrest" meant. Today I did. I had to. I was too stumped and it was bugging me. I had to know.
And then I continued my studies, reading...
Alma 14:1 And it came to pass after he had made an end of speaking unto the people many of them did believe on his words, and began to repent and to search the scriptures.If the importance of the first verse didn't get through, this second one did. Loud and clear. I just stopped and stared at the words. The people had their own scriptures? I've been a part of discussions where we debated on if the BoM people had their own, personal records, or if only the prophet did etc... This tells me they did! The people believed Alma's words and started studying on their own! Just like we are supposed to. Many have read Denver Snuffer's words. They have seen him speak. They gobble up his books, and there's nothing wrong with that. I did the same thing. But we can't stop there. We have to study the scriptures. I know many are already doing this, but just in case you're anything like me, and procrastinate studying the scriptures for alternate material, you've been warned! LOL
I love the way the Lord speaks to me while I study. He makes certain things stand out, and explains what they mean FOR ME. It's like the scriptures have been tailored just for me. (during my personal study)
I am so grateful He does that. He'll do it for you too.