6 And it came to pass that when he had traveled three days in the wilderness, he pitched his tent in a valley by the side of a river of water.
7 And it came to pass that he built an altar of stones, and made an offering unto the Lord, and gave thanks unto the Lord our God.
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Lehi has just taken his family and fled from people who wanted to kill him. He was told in a dream so its likely that he was not chased by an angry mob or anything but it does appear that he left everything behind and took nothing with him save provisions for the trip and left. He didn't stick around to sell what he had, he just got some supplies and left. Now he's gotten far enough a way to take a moment to rest and he sets up camp and immediately gives thanks to God. Gratitude is so important. It seems like for some people when life is going good they give thanks to God because life is going so well. Then when trials hit and life its going so well they get caught up in the trial and forget to be close to God. A year ago our home flooded and luckily we had insurance to help cover expenses. We had to go live in a hotel for 6 weeks and then a rental house for 3 months. It was a crazy time. Its easy to just ride the waves of life, go through the motions. Like someone caught on a strong wave in a rough river, just ride the wave to the end, you sort of shut down emotionally and just survive. But shutting down emotionally, riding the waves of life and just surviving leave little room for spiritual growth, prayer and gratitude.
The passage above also makes me think of a Bible verse that Chris shared with me:
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For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
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I think Lehi wanted the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. I think Lehi wasn't just going through the motions he was following the Lord in faith.
If we stay close to the Lord through our trials, don't just go through the motions but express gratitude and looking for the positive in every situation then he will help us learn and grow from them.
How? --I think we need to take deep breaths and remind ourselves to look for the good in every thing we do and everything that happens to us. It takes training. It takes soul searching. If you're typically noticing the bad about everything make the difficult switch to see the good. The missionaries teach the simple 4 steps to prayer--step 2 is "Thank thee..." prayer is good for us to dig around and see the good in everything. I think we need to desire the knowledge of God and not just the ritual of what we should do, going through the motions and check it off our to-do list. Study the scriptures. Study like you're hungry and stop when you're full. As we seek God and try and dig deep we learn more about ourselves and more about God.