After Paul was imprisoned in Rome, he wrote letters to the saints in Philippi and Colossae to encourage them. Even in a time of such uncertainty in his life, Paul understood that “Sharing [his] testimony often [was] one of the most powerful ways of inviting the Spirit and helping others feel the Spirit” (Preach My Gospel, Chapter 11). An oft-quoted scripture is perhaps the best testament to the lasting effect that his letters have: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). Although he was in dire straits himself, he still trusted in the Lord and pointed the saints toward Christ.
One of my favorite parts of the Book of Mormon is Nephi’s journey of faith. In 1 Nephi 2, he describes wanting to know more about the gospel, so “[he] did cry unto the Lord; and behold [the Lord] did visit [him], and did soften [his] heart that [he] did believe all the words which had been spoken by [his] father” (1 Nephi 2:16). This moment is imagined by J. Kirk Richards in his painting I Did Cry unto the Lord, depicting Nephi kneeling in prayer as a light descends upon him. Here, the softening of Nephi’s heart is represented through color; going out from the center of the composition, the paint Richards uses gets darker and darker, giving the impression that the Lord’s light is overcoming Nephi’s disbelief.
This seed of faith grew into a great tree as Nephi consistently exercised his faith. His unwavering commitment to the Lord can be seen in an event from later in Nephi’s life when his family was crossing the sea to the Promised Land. After Nephi angered his brothers with his preaching, they tied him up and would not release him until the ship was about to sink. Nephi describes how he was in pain after they released him, but “[he] did look unto [his] God, and [he] did praise him all the day long; and [he] did not murmur against the Lord because of [his] afflictions” (1 Nephi 18:16). Like Paul, he knew where his true strength lay, regardless of the trials he faced. In writing his record, he bears his testimony over and over, inviting us to similarly “press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end” (2 Nephi 32:20).-Emma Belnap, Research Assistant