15 But behold I said unto them that: As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us.
In verse 7 of this chapter, Nephi pledges to obey a commandment based on his confidence that the Lord will prepare a way. As much as I admire that demonstration of faith, I find verse 15 to be even more compelling. It is good to accept a difficult assignment based on your faith that things will work out and that you will receive the support and guidance that you need. The real question is, what happens next? What happens to that faith and commitment when you meet your first seemingly insurmountable obstacle and the help you expected doesn’t materialize? The main message of this story is not just that Nephi took a leap of faith and that the Lord blessed him for it. It is that, even after attempting to obey the commandment and failing, Nephi persevered. I can imagine him saying, “I believed yesterday that the Lord would prepare a way, and I still believe it today. The way He has prepared is clearly not just to ask Laban for the plates. We tried that, and it didn’t work. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to obey this commandment. We just haven’t found it yet. We need to keep looking.”
Today, I will follow Nephi’s example when I encounter obstacles. I will recognize that my faith in the Lord is demonstrated through consistent action. I will not let my mind “turn back” from my commitments and goals, but will “continue in patience” to try different approaches until I find the way that the Lord has prepared for me to accomplish His purposes. (See D&C 67:13-14)