(September 26, 2014)
There are times when I just want to kneel after reading the scriptures and pray the prayers which I have just read. Particularly in Nehemiah’s case – with only the slightest changes, I wanted to pray this prayer to the Lord for deliverance from the mistakes of my past and for His miraculous power to intervene on my behalf.
The other thought that I had was in the people who were the enemies of God criticizing the work of rebuilding the walls based upon arm-of-flesh, practicality questions. It is shocking how often we see the leaders of the Church criticized on practicality concerns – you shouldn’t say that because it communicates this wrong message, you shouldn’t say that because it is ‘victim-blaming,’ or it is unrealistic to expect someone to do something or they are asking people to run faster than they have strength.
As Elder Neal A. Maxwell has said (and I paraphrase here), we seem to believe in eternal progression but not daily improvement. We are to be perfect, and we become perfect by being better today than we were yesterday. If we are better each and every day from now until the eternal end, we will ultimately be perfect. So the standards are to be set high, just as the goals of rebuilding the walls were established with Nehemiah. Those who argue against the possibility of accomplishing the grand task (as being too big) fail to realize that the progress that needs to be made does not need to be made all at once. We must build a piece of the wall every day (and be cautious not to tear it down as we go), and if things are better today than yesterday, we can consider it a victory and set our minds to doing even better tomorrow.