I will admit, the Bible is rather difficult to read at times. The words are long, the phrasing is confusing, and the writing is dense. However, I have found it helpful to step back and look at the Bible more as a story of how God interacts with His people. Doing this has led me to some great revelation and insights. Consider the following from 1 Samuel 12.
1 Samuel 12 is Samuel addressing his people. Being the king of his nation, he is letting them know how he feels about what they are doing. It would be very similar to President Trump or Biden giving out the State of the Union address today. For the first 19 verses of Samuel’s address, he remarks on the poor state of his people. He recounts times they forgot God, disobeyed His commandments, worshiped idols, and many other sinful things they had done. Basically, it sounds like these people are majorly screwing up. But then, Samuel throws a curveball in verse 20:
20. And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart;
Reading this verse struck me. The people have done so much wickedness, but God wanted them to ‘Fear not.’ The reason for this was because they didn’t give up on trying to follow God. They may have continually taken steps back, but they never stopped trying to go forward.
This is a lesson that each one of us could learn from, especially return missionaries. Many return missionaries make one mistake and feel like giving up on following God. But God cares a lot more about what we can do than He does about what we have done.
So, follow the example of Samuel’s people. No matter how many mistakes you make, keep on striving to move forward. The Lord loves effort, and He wants you to ‘Fear not,’ as long as ‘ye turn not away from following the Lord.’ Never give up.
This is a post written by Dallin Clements, a recently returned missionary passionate about inspiring people to live their best lives through the application of gospel concepts.