I was reading today in the Book of Mormon (link included below) about Alma and his people. They were victims under harsh treatment from their enemies. Alma had been present during the martyrdom of Abinadi. Alma had heard Abinadi witnessing of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Alma accepted that witness, and because he believed faced certain death. As a result, Alma fled to preserve his life and to witness to others the good news of the gospel. He sought out the honest in heart in his society and together formed a small band of believers who worshipped in quiet safety. Later on, when discovered by the wicked, they all fled to a new land to build a new life.
But enter in the deceiver through the form of an old friend (and still wicked priest), Amulon. Amulon discovered Alma and his people while lost himself with the dreaded enemy people, the Lamanites. Being placed in a position of power over Alma and his people, Amulon soon grew tired of Alma's (and the other's) great faith in Christ. He ordered death to any who prayed.
Can you imagine being cut off from prayer? If you can't pray one way, you can pray another. So this small band of believers continued to importune the Lord - not by raising their voices, but by pouring out their hearts to Him. Thus, the Lord blessed these people as they struggled under anti-Christian bondage. His response came:
"Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage."
As I think of the events of the past few weeks, banks failing, "Feds" rushing in, the government now owning pieces of what used to be free enterprise, mortgages failing, people beginning to bear crushing burdens of financial mishaps, the weight of it all is difficult to bear. The scriptures state that in the last days, "men's" hearts (referring to mankind in general) will fail them.
What is the definition of bondage, after all is said and done? Dictionaries will state bondage to be: involuntary servitude, being subjected to external power or control, or loss of personal power due to the control of a superior. (This all sounds an awful lot like something Lucifer would be interested in!)
Regardless of the type of bondage referred to (whether physical bondage or emotional such as addictions to porn, etc.), the Lord never intended His children to be slaves to others. And so when this occurs, He of course is interested in aiding His children. But He will not force Himself on others, because to put others under "external power or control" is contrary to His nature. No, instead we must petition Him for aid ... and He will hear and bring that aid.
In the course of Alma and his people's situation, as soon as they petitioned Him for help [i.e. "...so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God..." and in another verse "...[they] did pour out their hearts to him..." (Mosiah 24:10, 12)] what was the result? That result can be found in the verse listed above, where the Lord states that He accepts all those who would covenant with Him. He not only strengthens His children during the time of difficult bondage, but He is happy to aid "deliverment" to lost souls!
The important thing that Alma and his people remembered was that the Lord had (and has) a perfect plan and a perfect timetable. We must remember, like Alma's people did, that He can be perfectly trusted. For some reason in the Lord's infinite goodness and wisdom, He did not deliver them immediately from the bondage wherein Amulon forced them to serve. But He did deliver them. To see how, read Mosiah 24.
I guess my point in all this is that our scenarios in 2008 may not be much different in overall impact from that felt by Alma and his people. Oh, we may not have actual Amulon's in our lives (but then again we might). We may not have guards surrounding us to ensure our captivity continues (but then again we might). The point is that emotional or physical bondage of any kind is a non-Godlike thing ... and the Book of Mormon along with the Bible together contain such powerful accounts of the Lord's willingness to rescue us - if we will just turn to Him and then be willing to wait for His rescue.
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