This post is part of an ongoing series “What’s in the Book of Mormon”, to provide a taste of this sacred record. It is not meant to be a substitute for reading the Book of Mormon itself, however (you can get a free copy here).
1st Nephi in The Book of Mormon, contains a profound and inspirational story about mans power to overcome adversity and create his own destiny.
In the opening chapters of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Lehi was commanded to leave Jerusalem and depart with his family into the wilderness. There they would spend a number of years, before journeying across the ocean to the Americas.
At one point in this journey, his righteous son Nephi records that as he and his brothers went out to hunt for food, Nephi broke his bow. Because his brother’s bows had already lost their springs, this left them incapable of providing sufficient substance for their family. They began to suffer much hunger and affliction. Many began to complain against the Lord for their hardships.
During this time, Nephi did not lose faith, but rather exhorted his family to be faithful, and to trust in the Lord. But he too began to feel the weight of their affliction and hunger.
At this point, rather than allowing himself to wallow in self-pity, or complain, he decided to take action.
1 Nephi 16:23
And it came to pass that I Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myslef with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?
It sounds easy, when said simply in only so many words. But Nephi and his family had lived a privileged and prosperous life in Jerusalem, and building a bow was likely as foreign to him as it would be to you or I. It must have taken significant work and care, and all while hungry.
Because Nephi decided to take action though, he was able to go out into the forest and hunt, returning with food, which caused much rejoicing.
Often our lives are disrupted by such events. I associated with Nephi well, having recently lost my job (my “bow”, or ability to provide food, was broken). But we each have been given the ability to overcome much, if we will just remain faithful, hopeful, and optimistic, take stock of what we’ve got, and then exert ourselves in working out our own solutions.
Often the Lords help comes only as we invest of ourselves. When our power to overcome is supplemented by His power, we too can overcome the adversity of our lives.