What do you do when you feel like you’re not being heard or understood?
In the middle of a prophecy about the restoration of the gospel, just before introducing the symbolism of a sealed book, the prophet Isaiah shared an image which became meaningful to the writers of the Book of Mormon:
Thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.Isaiah 29:4, see also 2 Nephi 26:16
According to Lehi, the prophet Joseph had used similar language centuries earlier to convey the same concept. His descendants, he said, would “cry from the dust” (2 Nephi 3:19-20). They would write messages from God which would be buried in the earth and delivered to people many generations later.
Nephi certainly believed that he was a fulfillment of this prophecy. Near the end of his writings, he says, “I speak unto you as the voice of one crying from the dust” (2 Nephi 33:13). And Moroni echoed this sentiment, telling us that God will one day ask us, “Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man [Moroni], like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust?” (Moroni 10:27, see also Mormon 8:23).
So what do we do when we feel like our words are falling on deaf ears and accomplishing nothing? Follow the example of Nephi and Moroni. Be patient. Have faith. Your words may be “buried” now, but they may rise from the dust in the most unexpected of ways in the future. The words you speak, in sincerity and in love, will have an impact somewhere and somehow.
Today, I will trust God to carry my words to those who need them, and I will trust that people will listen. I will remember that we rarely see the full extent of our influence. Our part is simply to share and to believe that our words will ultimately make a difference.