For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land. (Alma 37:44)
I've been pondering a lot on the Liahona lately. It seems like it was such a straightforward and miraculous tool that the Lord prepared in order to lead Lehi and his family safely through an inhospitable and bandit-ridden wilderness as they journeyed toward their promised land. Yet, apparently it was not as straightforward as it appears to us. Alma taught his son Helaman that the Liahona worked by faith. Lehi and his family had to believe that the spindles would point the way they should go, but they became slothful, forgot to exercise their faith, and then the spindles stopped working. (Alma 37:40-42).
This is meaningful to me as I have been striving to become better at receiving and recognizing heavenly direction. I've posted previously about seeking to hone my revelatory process and how I have many times been surprised when I was about to follow my best judgement, sought confirmation in prayer and then randomly opened my scripture app and wound up at a chapter page, which seemed like the Lord telling me "No."
I've had some powerful experiences where that has caused me to reconsider my best judgment and get new direction that felt right. But lately, I've been getting so many chapter pages that I was becoming afraid to ask any questions. So, I made a request instead, for the Lord to increase my faith.
I opened to Omni, where I found a note I'd written years ago about the shortcomings of all of Omni's writers, with the exception of Amaleki. I'd written that I always wanted to serve like Amaleki, "with vision and testimony and faith, magnifying my calling."
On this reading, though, I realized that I won't always serve like Amaleki. Every writer in Omni represents a way I have served, and a way I will probably yet serve. I am fallible and incapable at this time of comprehending all the Lord would reveal to me. That's what it means to be human. Sometimes, I'll go through the motions of obedience without catching the bigger vision. And sometimes, I'll catch the vision and magnify my calling like Amaleki did.
That led me to realize that maybe it's not the Lord's design for me to have a fool-proof way of getting revelation from Him. Maybe the process of revelation is supposed to be searching and sometimes unclear. I think I have been relying on a random mechanical process because of my fear of making mistakes. I thought I could always make the right decisions if I didn't do anything without getting a clear yes. But the result has been a loss of confidence in my ability to recognize direction from the Lord any other way.
I want to be able to feel a "no," not just experience it as a mechanical process. That means I need to be willing to wrestle with the Lord in mighty prayer. I need to learn to listen better. And that means that from now on, when I take a question to the Lord and open my scriptures in search of an answer, I'll open a physical copy of the scriptures, not my app.
Will I make mistakes? Yes. And that's okay because my real goal is not to avoid making mistakes. My real goal is to draw closer to Christ by learning to hear His voice. And He is mindful of me and able to lead me according to His will, in spite of all my foolishness and failings.
As Ammon declares, "God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever" (Alma 26:37).
With that promise, I can trust in His strength and His capacity to tutor me.