I wrote last week that we all have signs in our lives—reasons to believe that God lives and loves us. The question is whether we are willing to recognize those signs or whether we choose to ignore them.
As Samuel the Lamanite revealed to the Nephites in Zarahemla the signs which would correspond with the Savior’s birth and death, he told them that these would not be the only signs. After sharing the sign of the Savior’s birth, he said, “And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven” (Helaman 14:6). And after sharing the signs of the Savior’s death, he affirmed “that many shall see greater things than these, to the intent that they might believe that these signs and wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men” (Helaman 14:28).
A “wonder” is something that causes amazement or astonishment. It is extraordinary and even miraculous, an experience that catches our attention and makes us think.
When God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, he explained that Pharaoh would be difficult to convince. God said that Moses would “multiply [His] signs and wonders in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 7:3, see JST in footnote a). Later, when the children of Israel were preparing to enter the promised land, Moses repeatedly reminded them of the signs and wonders they had experienced in Egypt decades earlier (Deuteronomy 4:34, 6:22, 7:19, 26:8).
So even though a “wonder” catches our attention and ought to be unforgettable, we do have a tendency to forget. And when we see many wonders, we may even have the tendency to ignore them, to take them for granted.
Even before the birth of the Savior, “there were great signs given unto the [Nephites], and wonders.” But “notwithstanding the signs and the wonders which were wrought among the people of the Lord…Satan did get great hold upon the hearts of the people” (Helaman 16:13, 23).
Everyone saw the sign of the birth of the Savior, and it was obvious that this was the fulfillment of Samuel’s prophecy five years earlier. The people “were so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth” (3 Nephi 1:17). But about three years later:
…the people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from heaven, insomuch that they began to be hard in their hearts, and blind in their minds, and began to disbelieve all which they had heard and seen.3 Nephi 2:1
Elder Neil L. Andersen recently reminded us that memories of spiritual experiences can carry us through times of uncertainty:
When personal difficulty, doubt, or discouragement darken our path, or when world conditions beyond our control lead us to wonder about the future, the spiritually defining memories from our book of life are like luminous stones that help brighten the road ahead, assuring us that God knows us, loves us, and has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to help us return home. And when someone sets their defining memories aside and is lost or confused, we turn them toward the Savior as we share our faith and memories with them, helping them rediscover those precious spiritual moments they once treasured.“Spiritually Defining Memories,” General Conference, April 2020
How can we ensure that we remember these spiritual experiences and that we recognize new ones when they occur? In other words, how can we ensure that we continue to be astonished at the wonders in our lives?
Elder Andersen reminded us of a practice recommended by President Henry B. Eyring:
Tonight, and tomorrow night, you might pray and ponder, asking the questions: Did God send a message that was just for me? Did I see His hand in my life or the lives of my children?… And then…find a way to preserve that memory for the day that I, and those that I love, will need to remember how much God loves us and how much we need Him.“O Remember, Remember,” General Conference, October 2007
This evening, I will take some time to think about how I have seen the hand of God in my life today. I will write down the impressions I have. I will strive to be perceptive, to see how He is blessing me and my family. I will strive to be more fully aware of the wonders He is working in my life.