5 But, said he, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord.
(2 Nephi 1:5)
After escaping the destruction of Jerusalem and traveling to the American continent, Lehi spoke with his children. He reminded them how merciful the Lord had been to them, both in warning them to leave Jerusalem and in guiding and protecting them during a dangerous journey, even though they were not always faithful to Him (2 Nephi 2:1-4).
Then, he rejoiced in the land they had inherited. From the beginning of their journey, Lehi had assured them that God was leading them to a “land of promise” (1 Nephi 5:5). What was this land like? How would it be different from the place they had lived previously? What would be easier there, and what would be more challenging? Lehi didn’t know. But he knew God was leading his family there, and he therefore knew that it would be amazing.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland once reassured the young adults of the Church that the concept of a promised land is applicable to all of us:
If God has told you something is right, if something is indeed true for you, He will provide the way for you to accomplish it. That is true of joining the Church or raising a family, of going on a mission, or any one of a hundred other worthy tasks in life. Remember what the Savior said to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove. What was the problem in 1820? Why was Joseph not to join another church? It was at least in part because “they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” God’s grace is sufficient! The Lord would tell Joseph again and again that just as in days of old the children of Israel would be “led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm. … Therefore, let not your hearts faint. … Mine angels shall go up before you, and also my presence, and in time ye shall possess the goodly land.”
What goodly land? Well, your goodly land. Your promised land. Your new Jerusalem. Your own little acre flowing with milk and honey. Your future. Your dreams. Your destiny. I believe that in our own individual ways, God takes us to the grove or the mountain or the temple and there shows us the wonder of what His plan is for us. We may not see it as fully as Moses or Nephi or the brother of Jared did, but we see as much as we need to see in order to know the Lord’s will for us and to know that He loves us beyond mortal comprehension. I also believe that the adversary and his pinched, calculating little minions try to oppose such experiences and then try to darken them after they happen. But that is not the way of the gospel. That is not the way of a Latter-day Saint who claims as the fundamental fact of the Restoration the spirit of revelation. Fighting through darkness and despair and pleading for the light is what opened this dispensation. It is what keeps it going, and it is what will keep you going (“Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence,” BYU Devotional Address 2 March 1999).
Today, I will continue to pursue my dreams with confidence that the Lord is leading me and my family and will help us arrive at our “promised land.”