At first, it felt like a beautiful gift for the healthy–a chance to disengage with all the fluff around the edges that had crept in and started to suffocate me and my family. So many extracurricular activities, so many rushed evenings, scarfing dinner down like a pack of hyenas before we jump in the car for the next activity. We get to s l o w d o w n. We get to bake together. We get to eat intentionally. We have time to actually practice the piano, read books, work on our outdoor projects together. We thought, since we are stuck at home, let’s buy that milk cow that we’ve been curious about getting since we moved to Wyoming.
Then I had a terrible day. Honestly, I felt cursed. I woke up angry. The kids weren’t on task with their school work. I tried to make butter with the cream from our new milk cow, it failed inexplicably, because I was doing the exact same thing that I had done the week before. I tried to make mozzerella with some of her milk. It failed. Still yelling at my kids. Made pizza for dinner with the failed mozerella, the dough didn’t rise. The pizza was tough on every layer. Ben and the kids couldn’t get the cow to stand still and do the evening milking, so they just didn’t. The baby calf was sick, probably going to die. Everything was falling apart, and I had no peace in my heart. I wondered if this is how the Book of Mormon people felt who were cursed and nothing would stay where they put it, “the ground was slippery” is how they described it. I didn’t want the Lord to curse me. I started to panic that I was not ready for whatever was happening. I changed my prayers from complaining to repenting.
Then I had a little lesson from the Spirit. It told me to remember the story of Joshua. I recalled the Scripture Mastery verse from Joshua 3:5 “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” I looked up the verse and revisited the story. Joshua and the children of Israel were off to reclaim their promised land, starting with Jericho. They came to Jordan (the river) and set up camp and stayed there for three days. The third night, the leaders went through the camp and told everyone, when you see the ark coming through, start following (like a parade) only keep your distance. And then Joshua told them to take time that evening to sanctify themselves for the Lord would do wonders among them. This is when they crossed the Jordan River on dry ground, with the ark of the covenant leading the way.
I found the parallels inspiring. We are all staying home. They were lodged for three days (for a traveling population, that was probably a nice break). We are facing something big and scary that we have never seen or experienced before. They were getting ready to invade the highly-fortified Jericho. They were beginning their long-promised occupation of their promised land. We are heading into the long-promised land of millennial splendor. The Lord needs me (and you) to take this time with our families seriously and sanctify ourselves. He will do wonders among us and through us, if we are ready. Perhaps this next week’s conference will be equivalent to the leaders walking through camp telling people to sanctify themselves and follow the ark.
Our Prophet, Russell M. Nelson has been telling us for months to get ready for Conference, if we are prepared, it will be unforgettable. It will be unlike any previous General Conference. And possibly, in order for us to take this advice seriously, God has sent everyone home to regroup, to study, to pray and fast. The Lord will reveal His mysteries to those who take seriously what He has already given.
1 Nephi 14:13-14 prophesies about a period that we are just entering into.
13 And it came to pass that I beheld that the great mother of abominations did gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God.
14 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.
If this is our next step, then we need to spiritually power up. “They were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.” That doesn’t sound like me. . . yet. I want to use this time at home to find out how to become what God needs me to become for the next phase in the restoration of all things.
I know there are economic ramifications, physical health disasters, and anxiety and fear all around. But let’s not pretend that the world is going to make it intact all the way up to the Second Coming. As I think of this as a Spiritual test, I find comfort in knowing how to act. The hope of making it through this period with a spiritual boost for me and my family gives me hope, even in the midst of this cursed world.