After this manner

I love how every time I read the scriptures, a different word or phrase seems to jump out at me. It’s such a testimony to me that God knows exactly who we are and where we are at in our lives.

A few months ago, the repeating phrase I kept encountering was ‘do not fear.’ I was, honestly, a bit scared to find out what was coming my way. No matter how hard I tried to force a different phrase to be my guide – ‘do not fear’ just kept coming. After that had been happening for a couple weeks, I was asked to be the leader of the teen girls (ages 11-18) at church. The title we use is Young Women President. Y’all! I have never been a President or lead of anything! I tend to enjoy being a supporting role – way less pressure. When that calling was extended to me, it became very clear why I was seeing ‘do not fear’ everywhere I looked.

Now, I’m finding a new phrase harassing me. Have you ever noticed how many times the phrase ‘after this manner of language’ appears in the book of 1 Nephi in the Book of Mormon? I haven’t counted yet, but I can assure you it’s a whole lot of times. But, that’s not the only place that phrase has jumped out at me. It was on the first page of the new fiction book I’m reading, it’s come to my mind as I pray for guidance, the words appeared in sermons I have randomly stumbled upon – and in so many other places. I long ago learned that patterns like this are not just coincidence. God is trying to teach me something.

My husband often jokes with me that I should be the full time bread winner for our family and he should be the stay at home parent. Not that he thinks I’m more capable, but because he thinks I have a capacity to relate to people better. And truthfully, he’s not wrong. We all have our strengths – being able to communicate and relate to different people is one of mine. I know this, it’s a truth that has been reaffirmed to me many times.

I have often found myself praying to know how to help someone or how to guide my children or what (if any) changes I should encourage in a group. Every single time, God has given me the gift of language – the language that each specific person or group of people will understand. If you want to see a pattern of how this works, you need to go read 1 Nephi. In 1 Nephi 1:2, we see Nephi writing using ‘the language of my father.’ In Chapter 3:21, he says “after this manner of language did I persuade my brethren.” And in Chapter 5:6, we read “after this manner of language did my father, Lehi, comfort my mother, Sariah.” There are so many more examples, but each time, we see people being taught, comforted, exhorted in the language that they understand.

And isn’t that how it is with each of us? This is why we are asked to repeat scripture reading daily, attend church weekly, pray daily with our families, feed our bodies properly – God is trying to teach us in the language that we understand. He knows it’s not the same for each of us. And He also knows that, depending on which phase of life we’re in, the language we understand might be different.

We see this so clearly in the book of Acts in the New Testament. On the day of Pentecost, all the people were gathered together and the Holy Ghost is poured out upon the crowd. In Acts 2:6 we see “that every man heard them speak in his own language.” How amazing is that?

I love that even though we read or hear the same words, the Lord will teach each individual what she or he needs to know AND it will be in a way that she or he will understand.

I challenge you this week to look for the ways that God speaks to you! Perhaps it’s words on a page, or maybe it’s through the example of a fellow disciple, or it might be through music. No matter what your language is, the truth for each of us is that God does speak to us.

Featured image thanks to Arthur Miranda for making this photo available freely on @unsplash

1 thought on “After this manner”

  1. Audra! I loved your experience so much! I love that you saw God trying to teach you in those recurring phrases, not just writing them off as coincidence, but a pattern of God speaking to you in a way that you understood. There is such power in that. And I never noticed those references in 1 Nephi. Now I want to go back and read it again! Thank you so much for sharing your unique and wonderful perspective with us!

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