10 Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.
11 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.
God always fulfills His promises. When we know that, then a promise from Him can be as reassuring as the ultimate fulfillment of that promise. A couple of examples:
- When Sariah was worried about the safety of her sons and about the wisdom of their journey in the wilderness, Lehi comforted her by sharing the promises he had received from God. He spoke about promised blessings as though he had already received them, even though they were only at the beginning of their journey: “I have obtained a land of promise, in the which things I do rejoice; yea, and I know that the Lord will deliver my sons out of the hands of Laban, and bring them down again unto us in the wilderness” (1 Nephi 5:5).
- After Enos prayed all day and into the night for forgiveness of his sins, he heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.” Enos said, “I…knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away” (Enos 1:6). The relief from his guilt came as a result of his belief in the message he had just received.
- Later in the same chapter, after receiving a promise from God that the Nephite record would be preserved, he said, “I, Enos, knew it would be according to the covenant which he had made; wherefore my soul did rest” (Enos 1:17).
One of the purposes of the Book of Mormon is “that [we] may know the covenants of the Lord, that [we] are not cast off forever” (Title Page of the Book of Mormon). For the Book of Mormon to accomplish this purpose, the reader needs to be able to trust the promises of God before they have been fulfilled.
As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has reminded us, all of us can benefit from increased faith in God’s promises:
I think of newly called missionaries leaving family and friends to face, on occasion, some rejection and some discouragement and, at least in the beginning, a moment or two of homesickness and perhaps a little fear.
I think of young mothers and fathers who are faithfully having their families while still in school—or just newly out—trying to make ends meet even as they hope for a brighter financial future someday. At the same time, I think of other parents who would give any earthly possession they own to have a wayward child return.
I think of single parents who face all of this but face it alone, having confronted death or divorce, alienation or abandonment, or some other misfortune they had not foreseen in happier days and certainly had not wanted.
I think of those who want to be married and aren’t, those who desire to have children and cannot, those who have acquaintances but very few friends, those who are grieving over the death of a loved one or are themselves ill with disease. I think of those who suffer from sin—their own or someone else’s—who need to know there is a way back and that happiness can be restored. I think of the disconsolate and downtrodden who feel life has passed them by, or now wish that it would pass them by. To all of these and so many more, I say: Cling to your faith. Hold on to your hope. “Pray always, and be believing.” Indeed, as Paul wrote of Abraham, he “against [all] hope believed in hope” and “staggered not … through unbelief.” He was “strong in faith” and was “fully persuaded that, what [God] had promised, he was able … to perform” (“An High Priest of Good Things to Come,” General Conference, October 1999).
Today, I will trust the promises of God. When I need God’s help, I will “pour out my [soul] in prayer” as Helaman and his army did in the passage above. Like Helaman, Lehi, and Enos, I will trust the promises I receive and find peace and rest in those assurances, even before I begin to see tangible evidence that God’s promises have been fulfilled.