26 And now behold, if it were possible that our first parents could have gone forth and partaken of the tree of life they would have been forever miserable, having no preparatory state; and thus the plan of redemption would have been frustrated, and the word of God would have been void, taking none effect.
27 But behold, it was not so; but it was appointed unto men that they must die; and after death, they must come to judgment, even that same judgment of which we have spoken, which is the end.
Sometimes, the reason we don’t receive a blessing is because we aren’t prepared to receive it. The blessing would be useless to us or even damaging until we are capable of receiving it and taking full advantage of it. A car would not be a good gift for a 6-year old. Marriage and parenthood require a certain level of maturity. Many opportunities which we wish we had today will only be useful to us tomorrow, when we have grown and progressed beyond our current level of maturity.
After Adam and Eve’s transgression, Heavenly Father cast them out of the Garden of Eden and prevented them from partaking of the tree of life (Moses 4:31, Genesis 3:24). Why would He do that, if the fruit of the tree would have enabled them to live forever? Because His plan is not just to help us live forever (immortality) but for us to live the kind of life He lives (eternal life).
In the chapter prior to the passage above, Zeezrom asks Amulek if the Son of God will save us in our sins. Amulek answers emphatically: “I say unto you he shall not, for it is impossible for him to deny his word” (Alma 11:34). Helaman later explains what Amulek meant:
[Amulek] said unto [Zeezrom] that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins (Helaman 5:10).
In His mercy, Heavenly Father has granted us a preparatory state with the time and resources we need to overcome our sins and prepare for eternal life. Without that time, we would have lived forever in our sins and would have been forever miserable because “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10). As difficult as mortal life can be, it is necessary for us to have the experiences which will prepare us to receive the gift of eternal life.
Today, I will remember that blessings withheld may be blessings I am not yet ready to receive. I will trust God’s plan and His timing, and I will recognize that He comprehends my current state of progression far better than I do. I will take advantage of the opportunities I have been given to learn, to grow, and to progress, so that with His help, I might one day be capable of receiving all of the blessings and opportunities that He desires to give me.