The gospel is beautiful in its simplicity and in its repetition of principles exemplified by different people, at different times, and in different locations. There is consistency and constancy which can fortify our belief and testimonial foundations of truth. I have found evidence of these principles in the life of our ancestral mother Rebekah.
“Much of the Holy Land is desert with very little water. Because water was scarce and precious, it became the object of special lessons taught by the Lord” (Russell M. Nelson, Daily Joy , December 9).
Rebekah came to the well. I’m sure this was a regular occurrence. Rebekah had a charitable heart. She gave water to the servant of Abraham and then offered to do more by drawing water for his camels (Genesis 24:18-20).
This experience at the well is reminiscent of the woman in Samaria whom Jesus met at another well (John 4:6-26). The well is symbolic of living water and her arrival at the well is a symbol of her seeking to #HearHim. She not only sought to hear the Lord but she also sought to obey.
The Lord knew where Rebekah would be and when. She was in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing in order to meet Abraham’s servant. How can we ensure we are at the right place, at the right time, doing the right things? We can seek to #HearHim daily and then follow the guidance we receive. Our consistent actions will be indicators to the Lord that we are dependable.
When I delivered a birthday gift to the son of a family I ministered to, I was surprised when he said, “I knew it was you at the door. I knew you would not forget my birthday.” His confidence that I would remember and come to see him caught me by surprise and I was grateful to learn he felt that he could count on me. It is my desire that the Lord can feel that same confidence in my willingness to go and do as He needs me.
The story of Isaac and Rebekah’s marriage is an example of the involvement of the Lord at each and every step. The servant of Abraham sought for divine guidance and a miracle (Genesis 24:12-14). Rebekah and her family had confirmation that her decision to go to Isaac was the correct choice (Genesis 24:50-51).
Rebekah was an independent person who used her agency to choose. She knew how to #HearHim. “And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go” (Genesis 24:58).
She was ready so when the call came, she said “yes”.
I received a call to serve a mission from the bishop of my parents’ ward and my answer, like Rebekah, was, “I will go.”
Ask and Receive
Rebekah chose to “do what is right; let the consequence follow” (“Do What Is Right,” Hymns, no. 237). With the thought of being a mother, Rebekah left her family and married a man she didn’t know. Her family shared her belief and conviction. Patience was required. She may have wondered at times if she had made the correct choice as we all have those thoughts from time to time. She learned that the timing of the Lord is not our timing, and so it was with Isaac and Rebekah. They endured 20 years of infertility.
A few short words denote the passage of time but the depth of the trial is comprehended when we realize that 20 years encompasses many changes at any stage of life.
As we liken the scriptures to our lives, imagine a young married couple anxious to start a family. Now imagine 20 years have passed and there are no children. This would certainly be an enormous test of faith. It is the story of Isaac and Rebekah.
What do we do when faced with these tests of faith? We can follow the example of Isaac. He knew the principle later recorded in the New Testament: “Ask, and it shall be given you” (Mathew 7:7); and he
“entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived” (Genesis 25:21). A loving Father in Heaven heard the heartfelt plea of a husband for his wife, and Isaac’s prayer was answered. Sometimes we need to ask before we receive a desired blessing.
The answers do not always come in the manner or timing that we might anticipate. Like Rebekah, I have had my own test of faith. I have always loved babies, however, the babies in my life have not been my own. The Lord with tender mercy has provided me opportunities to love many babies and children. I am most grateful!
“But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen (1 Nephi 9:6).
My study of our ancestral mother Rebekah has filled my heart with hope and increased determination to remain on the covenant path. Her life is a vivid reminder to be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right things. She exemplified the importance of being ready and willing to serve when the call comes. Rebekah has taught me that choosing the right does not guarantee an easy path. There will still be challenges to face and immense patience may be required, however, following her I can say with courage, “I will go.”