My friend, Lena Soliven, is an Uber driver on Oahu. She’s recounted many interesting and profound ride stories. But the latest story she shared really hit me.
She picked up a man wanting a ride from Waikiki to Honolulu for work. The man mentioned he was worried about getting to work on time. She told him to sit back, relax, and she’d get him to work on time. En route, a red light stopped her at a very busy, always congested intersection. When the light turned green, she heard a voice telling her “Wait.” She sat still.
In her rear view mirror, she noticed the man becoming restless as she sat stationary at the green light. I’m sure people in the lane behind her felt restless, too. Suddenly, from what seemed like out of nowhere, a truck barreled through the cross street on the red light.
Her passenger exclaimed “Whoa! What made you wait?”
Lena said, “I heard a voice that told me to wait. So I waited.”
The man said, “Tell me how I can get that voice to speak to me so that I can hear it tell me to wait!”
I’ve never been very good at waiting for anything–for water to boil, for my husband to think just like I do, for decisions to be made, for prayers to be answered. And yet stories like Lena’s show the salvation often inherent in listening to the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost and waiting.
I remember praying during my twenties to know if the righteous men I dated were the “one” for me. No. Wait. I waited so long that a beloved old grandma-type friend wrote me a long letter telling me I needed to drop everything in my life and make finding a husband my full-time job. My waiting, much to her exasperation and mine, continued for two more years after her letter. The voice finally said YES. I married Anthony.
I still hear “No. Wait.” regarding other prayers–like prayers for children or prayers to revolt from all responsibility and backpack the world.
One of my favorite scriptures is “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” Alone, it sounds like a nice, placid verse. Be still–wait–wait upon the Lord. But, in reality, it arose from intense stress.
The children of Israel exited Egypt. They’d journeyed to the edge of the sea and found nowhere for them to go. Then, they “lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid.” Can you imagine the terror you’d feel seeing that army bearing down upon you, your family, your friends, your entire nation? Some today know that terror. I do not, so have to imagine how it would feel.
They rushed to Moses freaked out, stressed, complaining, demanding answers–what were they supposed to do? Where was God in their time of need–He told them to leave Egypt, didn’t He? Why didn’t they just die in Egypt instead of dying all hot and sweaty and stressed by the sea? WHY WHY WHY?
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Moses went to the Lord who told him to stretch forth his rod over the sea and it parted. The people waited until the Lord told Moses “speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.” And they went forward on the dry ground of the divided sea. “And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.”
Stand still until you see the salvation of the Lord–then go forward.
Wait to Feast
Alma taught the poor Zoramites about faith leading to salvation through a beautiful metaphor of a tree. If they planted a good seed, then the tree would grow and ultimately provide them good fruit. Have you ever grown a tree? I’m growing a tree right now. It’s progress isn’t substantial. Sometimes I wonder if it’s dead. I may be dead before it bears fruit. I used to read this story and subconsciously think–oh, glorious, I plant a tree, and by the next Sunday, I partake of the fruit. Of course, how awesome!
My interpretation of that story certainly isn’t Alma’s fault. He clearly warned that the process wouldn’t be instantaneous. “Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.” Maybe I should just go buy a tree. Why all of the effort? Is all of the effort, diligence, patience, long-suffering (Suffering for a tree?), waiting really worth it?
Alma knew I’d ask these questions once I realized what he was really saying, so I just insert my name.
“Delisa, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life. But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.” Fruit from the Tree of Life, eternal life, life with God. “Ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.”
Yes. Yes, its worth the wait. To ultimately feast of that fruit, at the throne of God, it’s worth the effort and the wait for that kind of fruit, that kind of feast, that kind of salvation.
Wait to Rise
We first hear Lazarus’ name when he’s terminally ill. The Savior received word of Lazarus’ sickness and waited for two days. Jesus waited. I’m so grateful for examples of Jesus Christ experiencing what I experience. He loved Lazarus. When He arrived at the tomb, He wept. But, before that, He waited. Why? Ultimately, because His Father commanded it. “This sickness is … for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”
Who else waited in this story? Mary and Martha waited expectantly, I’m sure. They knew Jesus could heal their brother. Lazarus waited, too. He waited to rise.
A few days later, Jesus told the disciples that Lazarus died. “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. … And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.”
What would they need to believe? Believe in Him, firstly. Believe that He had power over death, including His own imminent death. Believe that He could and would do the same for them. And believe whatever else they were lacking, because one experience, though shared, is received and internalized according to each person’s perception of reality.
Wait to Believe
Lena’s obedience gave vision to herself, her passenger, and to us. After Lena waited, her passenger believed. Moses’ words gave vision of salvation to the children of Israel, and to us. After the people waited, they believed and moved forward. Alma’s allegory gave vision to the Zoramites, and to us. After Alma taught them the Word, the Zoramites believed and planted the seed. The Savior’s experience gave vision to Lazarus, everyone else present, everyone else who heard about it–the story featured prominently throughout Jerusalem the following week–and to us. After Lazarus’ rising, many believed on Jesus and testified of His Messianic mission.
So my perspective shifts when I view waiting this way. Maybe my waiting is to bring glory to God, or for the intent that I believe, or purposefully for my salvation. I cry to think that any part of my life could bring glory to God. And I hope in every scenario, my experiences strengthen my belief. And I praise God with all of my heart for the hope of Salvation!
Do you hear the Voice that sometimes tells you to wait? If you don’t hear it, you can learn how to hear it. If you hear it, but don’t listen, will you consider the reasons why you don’t? If you do hear the Voice, and obediently wait, God bless you. I admire you and hope to be near you when the Lord tells His people “go forward” and enter into His rest.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.