This has been a weekend for fasting and prayer for me and my husband. Our focus has been for our daughter-in-law and our tiny, new granddaughter, Gabi, who is in the hospital with an infection. Our faith is that they will both be renewed and that they will have new strength and vitality. I understand how Alma felt as he looked back on his striving with the Zoramites, both those who set themselves up higher than their brothers, and those who felt lower and rejected by their brothers. Seeing that the consequences of teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ were both good and bad, he turns to his sons, to shore up his own family in perilous times.Alma 35:15-16"Now Alma, being grieved for the iniquity of his people, yea for the wars, and the bloodsheds, and the contentions which were among them; Therefore, he caused that his sons should be gathered together, that he might give unto them every one his charge, separately, concerning the things pertaining unto righteousness. "
In chapter 36 we have the most beautiful piece of Hebrew poetry in the Book of Mormon. Written in Chiastic form, these verses retell Alma's spiritual journey. He testifies of the power of the atonement to lift him out of his prison.Alma 36:3 "And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day."
This verse is paralleled exactly by verse 27, reviewing the same conviction in the atonement of Christ.
Alma 36:27 "And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me."
To Helaman, to Shiblon, and to Corianton, he gives words of admonishment and counsel, specific to their needs. Every parent can benefit from the example of Alma as they read his words.
Alma 37:37 "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day."
I am currently reading a new book by James Farrell entitled "Falling to Heaven". Many of the chapters in this book deal with the teachings of Alma. Both Alma's verses and this book have been comforting to me this weekend.
"Plant this word in your hearts—the word of the divinity of Christ—then will your burdens be made light through his joy. This was Alma’s message both to us and to those who were down. Would you not now humble yourselves and begin to test whether or not this Christ can lift you? Alma is asking. There is nothing so down that He can’t lift it. As the tree of his divine reassurance and testimony grows within us, the promise is that it will lift our burdens and soothe our souls."