11 O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted! Behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.
12 And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.
(3 Nephi 22:11-12, Isaiah 54:11-12)
When I think of the trauma the Nephites endured just prior to the appearance of the Savior, I’m not surprised He quoted this chapter of Isaiah to them. I wonder if they had heard these words before–they were in the brass plates which Lehi and his family had brought from Jerusalem. If so, I wonder if these words had new meaning for them after losing so much in an unprecedented series of natural disasters just a few days before.
Isaiah’s words in the passage above are a message of hope for people who are suffering, with no end in sight and with inadequate support from others. His message is to hold on and believe in a better time to come. He acknowledges their pain in the present, and he asks them to find hope and strength in their promised future blessings.
This passage reminds me of the following words of encouragement from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
Every one of us has times when we need to know things will get better…. For emotional health and spiritual stamina, everyone needs to be able to look forward to some respite, to something pleasant and renewing and hopeful, whether that blessing be near at hand or still some distance ahead. It is enough just to know we can get there, that however measured or far away, there is the promise of “good things to come….”
To any who may be struggling to see that light and find that hope, I say: Hold on. Keep trying. God loves you. Things will improve. Christ comes to you in His “more excellent ministry” with a future of “better promises.” He is your “high priest of good things to come” (“An High Priest of Good Things to Come,” General Conference, October 1999).
Today, when I feel “afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted,” I will draw strength from my hope. I will remember that God loves me and that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I have been promised unimaginable blessings. I will continue on, believing in “good things to come.”