After living in bondage for many years, King Limhi and his people remembered Alma, who had baptized a group of believers, organized the church, and then fled from the armies of Limhi’s father, King Noah.
Limhi and his people wanted the same blessings Alma and his people had received, but it was not their time.
King Limhi and many of his people were desirous to be baptized; but there was none in the land that had authority from God….
Therefore they did not at that time form themselves into a church, waiting upon the Spirit of the Lord.Mosiah 21:33-34
A difficult but crucial component of discipleship is trusting in the Lord’s timing. Sometimes, God’s blessings are delayed for reasons we may not fully understand. As much as we wish we could have those blessings now, the process of waiting patiently can be ennobling and sanctifying for us.
I’ve been thinking this week about Helvécio and Rudá Martins, a Brazilian couple who joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1972. Because of policies at the time which limited participation based on race, they were unable to receive all of the blessings of church membership.
What did they do? They participated as fully as they could and hoped for better times to come. When their son Marcus received a promise in his patriarchal blessing that he would serve as a full-time missionary, they opened a savings account. When the church announced plans to build a temple in São Paulo, they eagerly worked to make it a reality: Helvecio served as a member of the temple’s public relations committee, and Rudá sold jewelry to donate money. (See James Goldberg, “Witnessing the Faithfulness,” Revelations in Context, and “They sacrificed to help build a temple—even though they couldn’t fully participate inside.” on churchofjesuschrist.org.)
On June 8, 1978, the First Presidency of the church announced a revelation extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy members, regardless of race. As part of the announcement, they wrote, “The long promised day has come” (Official Declaration 2, Doctrine and Covenants).
Shortly thereafter, Marcus was able to serve as a missionary, and the Martins family was able to attend the dedication of the São Paulo temple and be sealed together as a family.
For me, the power of this story is not so much in the happy ending. It is in the image of a faithful family, plodding forward, unsure of why blessings were withheld from them but trusting that, in time, all of God’s blessings would be theirs.
Today, I will strive for the faith and the patience of Limhi’s people and of the Martins family. I will “[wait] upon the Spirit of the Lord” for blessings I hope for but have not yet received.