In his first epistle to the Corinthian saints, Paul promises to spend some time with them in the future, but not right away. “I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost,” he says. “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me” (1 Corinthians 16:9).
The word effectual means “successful in producing a desired or intended result; effective.” It is a translation of the Greek word energés (ἐνεργής), which means “active,” “full of energy,” or more literally, “at work.”
When Limhi and his people were in captivity, they tried three times to regain their freedom by fighting against their captors. All three times, they failed. After the third attempt, they stopped trying to free themselves and began to “cry mightily to God…that he would deliver them out of their afflictions” (Mosiah 21:6-14). Limhi sent a group of people to find their homeland of Zarahemla and plead for help, but they were unable to find it (Mosiah 21:25, Mosiah 8:7-8).
After so many failures, Limhi and his people must have been demoralized. But when a group of men arrived from Zarahemla, Limhi’s hope was rekindled. “Lift up your heads and be comforted,” he said to his people. “Notwithstanding our many strugglings, which have been in vain; yet I trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made” (Mosiah 7:18).
In 1833, as Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon traveled to Canada to preach the gospel, the Lord promised to prepare the way for a successful mission:
Behold, and lo, I have much people in this place, in the regions round about; and an effectual door shall be opened in the regions round about in this eastern land.Doctrine and Covenants 100:3
About four years later, the Lord promised Thomas B. Marsh, the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, that wherever he proclaimed the gospel, “an effectual door shall be opened unto you, that they may receive my word” (Doctrine and Covenants 112:19).
The following year, the Lord made the same promise as he called the apostles to preach in England. “I, the Lord, give unto them a promise that I will provide for their families; and an effectual door shall be opened for them” (Doctrine and Covenants 118:3).
Today, I will take advantage of the effectual doors which the Lord will open for me. I will overcome discouragement when things don’t go the way I had hoped, and I will continue to watch and hope for opportunities to accomplish my objectives.