1 Hearken unto me, ye that follow after righteousness. Look unto the rock from whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit from whence ye are digged.
2 Look unto Abraham, your father, and unto Sarah, she that bare you; for I called him alone, and blessed him.
3 For the Lord shall comfort Zion, he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.
(2 Nephi 8:1-3, Isaiah 51:1-3)
In this passage, Isaiah provides a compelling reason for studying the lives of our ancestors: because our perspective is expanded when we can see the hand of the Lord in the lives of the people who have lived before us.
As Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf reminded us recently, it is difficult to see the patterns in the events of our lives until after they are over. He shared the following quote from Steve Jobs: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future” (“The Adventure of Mortality,” Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults, 14 January 2018).
But how can we maintain that trust through discouraging times? One key is to maintain a long-term perspective. Seeing the hand of the Lord in the lives of other people can help us to maintain faith through the everyday challenges of our lives. No wonder Isaiah encourages us to “look unto the rock…whence [we] are hewn” and to remember the blessings given to Abraham and Sarah.
In the last general conference, Elder Dale G. Renlund taught us that we receive many blessings through participation in family history and temple work. One of those blessings is “increased ability and motivation to learn and repent because of an understanding of who we are, where we come from, and a clearer vision of where we are going” (“Family History and Temple Work: Sealing and Healing,” General Conference, April 2018).
Today, I will remember my ancestors. I will remember the blessings they received from God. I will take courage from those stories, recognizing that, even though I may not be able to connect all the dots today, they will connect eventually, and I will be able to see the hand of the Lord in my life.