15 And now it came to pass that Alma, having seen the afflictions of the humble followers of God, and the persecutions which were heaped upon them by the remainder of his people, and seeing all their inequality, began to be very sorrowful; nevertheless the Spirit of the Lord did not fail him.
Mormon describes a critical time in Alma’s ministry in this chapter. After overcoming a significant insurrection as the chief judge and commander of the Nephite armies, Alma now faced a more insidious challenge. Pride and contention had entered the church because of the affluence of many of its members. Those who were filled with pride were behaving badly, “turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted” (Alma 4:12
Alma was discouraged to see two types of inequality
among his people: temporal inequality (a wealth and income gap) and, more importantly, spiritual inequality (a humility and charity gap). He was so discouraged by what he saw that, as Mormon tells us, “he began to be very sorrowful.” The next phrase, for me, is the key to the entire passage: “Nevertheless, the Spirit of the Lord did not fail him.”
We know that God is patient and long-suffering, and we know that the Holy Ghost can teach us “all things what [we] should do” (2 Nephi 32:3
). However, when we are filled with strong emotions such as fear, anger, or sadness, we can reduce our own ability to detect and understand the guidance that comes through the Holy Ghost. Mormon’s description indicates to me that Alma had learned how to calm his emotions, so that he could continue to receive revelation. With the help of the Spirit, he was able to make clear decisions, even during times of distress.
Today, I will seek to be in tune with the Spirit of the Lord. I will take my emotional pulse from time to time and ensure that my own anxieties or discouragements don’t interfere with my reception of the promptings of the Holy Ghost.