Sunday, September 14, 2014
I want to be like Alma II
When I was a child I thought that being the translated Alma must have been awesome. Here this guy was that had converted thousands and seen angels and finally when his life was over was translated and given the chance to be with the Lord. I had forgotten that this man had been through his own Gethsemane. He had to go through a change that I cannot fathom.
Alma grew up under a father who was on the run from a tumultuous king who thrived on women wealth and perhaps the death of those that opposed him. When the government was openly attacked after his father had left with him and his family, the king’s priests through rape victims, gained the trust of the Lamanites. Some years later found Alma and his family and I supposed that the young Alma II who had only known the gospel and running was quite relieved of the chance to stop running. Satan had a good hold of those wicked priests and had taught them a thing or two about seducing children and Alma II bought into their narrative hook, line and sinker.
Some years later when they all escape the turmoil, Alma II hooks up with some roughnecks who are the king’s sons. Finally he thinks he has freedom. I can’t blame him. For years he had been taught to pray in his heart for fear of death by Noah’s priests and their legion of dark bare skin warriors. He turned to the gods of the Lamanites over the God of his father.
Today I had the opportunity to talk about Israel and the prophet Hosea. It seems that Israel is so easily seduced by the coolness when it offers relief from pain and suffering and as much as we hear our parents tell us no we fail to listen to their warning. We become like Gomer (Hosea’s wife) or Alma II and think that we are going to be ok because either we believe that God will not punish us because we are the chosen ones of Abraham or that beat us with only a few stripes and tell us to go on our way. Some of the saints here in Medford OR tell a different story. They remind us that God doesn’t change and that should you be drowning in your own gull of bitterness, it is you that needs to call out and reach out to the Lord because you have turned your back on Him and not the other way around.
When Alma II went though his change he was like many other prophets that have that experience that asks them to be a man over a childish destroyer. Alma II was shown his own personal hell. The scriptures say that for days he was in that gull and it took three days before he either believed what he was calling out to or that he was eager finally to be something better. The sons of Mosiah didn’t need that but apparently he did. Jonah went through it when he was in the belly of the whale so I am not surprised when someone is in a coma for three days suffering his own guilt and anguish.
I love the Living Scriptures depiction of what he went through after as he attempted to convert those that he had seduced away from the church. It was not enough to say that he had repented until he had attempted to restore the faith of those that he had convinced to turn from their God. He had to go through more pain of rejection and it didn’t end there because later in his life he would go with the sons of Mosiah and attempt to convert the Lamanites for the next fourteen years risking life and limb so that someone could hear the word of the Lord.
Times like those I stop my envy of the prophet and reflect inward on the things that I have done in my life. Have I converted the righteous to wickedness through my actions or lack of action? Have I been a good husband and father to my family and attempted to bring them closer to God as Alma attempted for his son (and perhaps whole family). Have I hidden my sins? Have I gone through a Gethsemane as Jesus has so that I could progress to my next level? Am I ready for my cross? Could I die for my religion or convictions?
I am not sure that I am ready for such commitment. Sure as Gomer hit rock bottom in her life, so have I (I think) but I am as young Alma II climbing back up so that I can come to God with clean hands and a smile on my face. I look forward to my Father saying that I have done well and that he is well pleased with what I have done. I hope that no man’s blood is on me because of what I neglected to do or from the things I showed a lack of remorse for.
My time will come one day and I am glad that Heavenly Father continues to show his mercy and miracles to me so that I can testify that He lives and so does His Son. I may have never beheld their faces but I don’t have to, to know that they live. I am a son of God the Eternal Father and have been reborn though Christ my Savior. Could I ask for anything more? That is the greatest knowledge I could ever know or share. My life, as hard as it is, is awesome.
Image comes from Living Scriptures