In an Acceptable Time – 1 Nephi 21:8

8 Thus saith the Lord: In an acceptable time have I heard thee, O isles of the sea, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee my servant for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
(1 Nephi 21:8, Isaiah 49:8)

We learn patience by adapting to God’s timing. In this passage, God explains to scattered Israel that He has not forgotten them, and that He will provide them with promised blessings at the appropriate time. This passage must have been particularly meaningful to Nephi’s family, who had traveled across the ocean to escape destruction in Jerusalem, and thus saw themselves as being on “the isles of the sea.” (See 2 Nephi 10:20-22.) Their journey was part of the scattering of Israel. Their life was a sojourn in the wilderness, and even after arriving in the promised land, conflict within the family prevented them from enjoying peace.

But as Isaiah teaches throughout this chapter, God sees the big picture, while we are so often stuck in the moment. We want answers now. We want resolution to the challenges we face immediately. We don’t want to wait. But God provides those blessings “in an acceptable time,” according to His superior knowledge and eternal perspective.

Earlier this year, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf discussed this principle. In a talk to young adult members of the Church, he reflected on his own life:

When I was your age I had no idea where my life would take me. I definitely didn’t see any dots connecting in front of me.
But I did trust God. I listened to the advice of loving family and wise friends, and took small steps of faith, believing that if I did the best I could in the moment, God would take care of the big picture.
He did.
He knew the end from the beginning when I did not.
I could not see the future, but He could.
Even during those times of hardship when I thought I was abandoned, He was with me—I see that now (“The Adventure of Mortality,” Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults, January 14, 2018).

Today, I will remember that faith in God includes faith in His timing. I will acknowledge my own limited perspective and will move forward with faith, trusting that God is with me and that all of His blessings will come to me “in an acceptable time.”

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