So this morning I went for a run. I was so happy to be back in my regular workout routine, running along the Provo River Parkway, I was whispering audible prayers of thanks for the unseasonably cool weather and the gorgeous scenery. And then two runners asked if I was missing a set of keys. I reached down and sure enough, I was.
Trying not to panic, I ran in the direction they were pointing, to where they'd seen the keys. But I couldn't find them anywhere. I kept running, back-tracking, looking, running, backtracking, retracing my steps, and was finally so frustrated I started to cry. The remote entry to my Honda costs at least $50 to replace, and how was I supposed to get home? Walk another eight miles? (Murmur, murmur.) I kept crying, praying, Please help me find my car keys, please don't let anyone steal my car keys, help me to know where they are, send someone to show me where they are...And then right when I hit a low point and was on the brink of desperation, an angel spoke to me.
Okay, it was on my cell phone, but still. "Hello?" I sniffled. "Is Jana Parkin there?" "Yes, this is she." "My name is David Bell. I have your car keys." (hallelujah!) As it turned out, this kind man and his wife had been handed the keys by someone else who found them on the trail, and they took them to the parking lot. They knew they were Honda keys, spotted my car, and clicked the remote. Woila!
Now, here's a reason I'm grateful I live in Utah today (besides the gorgeous scenery): These people were totally honest. And talk about searching diligently -- they actually got into my car and dug through my personal papers (they seriously called it "invading my privacy") until they found a business card with my phone number on it. And called me. They told me they were leaving my keys under my white sweater on the front seat. Then met me going the opposite direction on the trail, just to say hello. Unbelievable.
How fitting that I've been reading about Lehi sending his sons back to Jerusalem to search for the plates of brass. I felt the frustration of back-tracking after a long journey (okay, about a hundredth as long as theirs, but still), and I felt the frustration of so many fruitless attempts at securing the keys, um, I mean plates, and I felt Nephi's resolve to be " aled by the Spirit, not bknowing beforehand the things which [he] should do.." -- because, frankly, neither did I. I thought about just giving up and walking home. But I kept being prodded back toward Vivian Park. I stopped another man on the trail to ask if he'd seen my keys, and he told me someone had a set of keys up at Vivian Park. I quickened my step.
And I thought to myself, "wherefore can ye bdoubt?" If the Lord can part the red sea, surely he can find my car keys. And deliver them.
Looking back, here's what I learned about Nephi's process (and my own):
- Scriptures and Family History are essentials, second only to family, food, and shelter.
(Car keys are also essentials, it turns out.)
- Nephi had already been praying before the new challenge arrived.
- He went straight from prayer to patriarch, consulting his father.
- He was presented with a challenge: He learned they had to backtrack to retrieve scriptures and family history records. (I SO love Lehi at this moment. I want to say, Thank you so much for forgetting something essential and having to send someone back to retrieve it! What parent hasn't done that before? It makes him so very human.)
- Sometimes the Lord requires us to do hard things.
- Those who don't murmur are favored. (1828: Supported, aided, regarded with kindness, as a friend.)
- Failed attempts and discouragement are sometimes part of the process.
- He can use angels on both sides of the veil to help us.
- Never give up -- The Lord always provides a way.