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We had wristbands made for our family members this summer and handed them out during our family reunion. They bore my wife’s favorite scripture, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart,” and the reference for that verse, Proverbs 3:5.
Most family members seemed pleased to have them, and during the three days of our reunion they wore them constantly. But now several months have passed and the only people I see who still wear the bands are my wife and myself. Others say they still have them, but most are not wearing them now.
That is fine, of course. My wife and I hoped that the blue bands on their arms would be a continuing reminder of that unfailing source of love and help and power. However, the message of that verse is more important than the format in which it was recorded. Our hope in preparing the bands was that our family members, all seventy-seven of them now, would be encouraged and reminded not by the wrist bands on their arms, but by the message on their arms to trust the Lord’s goodness and power.
How well that has worked I am not sure. I have not heard any accounts from family members about difficult circumstances in which they were inspired by the message on their bracelets to trust in the Lord with all their hearts.
Nephi understood what this verse suggests:
“O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm” (2 Nephi 4:34).
Nephi’s trust found expression over and over again in his life. Think of his solitary trip back into Jerusalem to make one more attempt to retrieve the brass plates. He did not go forward with a plan carefully prepared and outlined. He went, being “led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which [he] should do” (1 Nephi 4:6).
When Nephi’s family came to the waters at Bountiful and the Lord commanded Nephi to build a boat to cross the ocean, he might have resisted: “Lord, I have never been in a place where ships are constructed. I have never observed people doing this kind of work. I have never sailed on a large ship. How am I supposed to build one?”
But this is the young man who said to the Lord, “I will trust in thee forever.” When the Lord said, “Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters” (1 Nephi 17:8), Nephi’s stunning response was:
“Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me? And it came to pass that the Lord told me whither I should go to find ore, that I might make tools. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make a bellows wherewith to blow the fire, of the skins of beasts; and after I had made a bellows, that I might have wherewith to blow the fire, I did smite two stones together that I might make fire. . . . And it came to pass that I did make tools of the ore which I did molten out of the rock” (1 Nephi 17:9-11,16).
Nephi making tools to build a ship to cross the ocean is a remarkable demonstration of trust, the kind of trust we find in 1 Nephi 3:7, where Nephi said, “I will go and do . . .” because the Lord will “prepare a way for [me] that [I] may accomplish the thing which he commandeth [me].”
I saw a trust like that in the late seventies that brought Proverbs 3:5 to life for me.
I took my bike one day and rode to the LDS chapel on Main Street in Snowflake, Arizona, for some responsibility with a quorum member. I left my bike by a rear door and entered the building. But I forgot about the bicycle, and when we were finished at the church, I left through another door with my co-worker. He took me home in his car.
The next day and the day after that our dog, Sam (Samantha), was not to be found. We called and waited and wondered and worried.
Finally, after three days, when I needed my bicycle for an errand, I remembered. Sam had followed me to the church and I had left through the main door, leaving my bike behind the building. I knew she would have lain down to wait for me by my two-wheeler. I got in the car and drove to the chapel. She was there, laying by my bike, by the door, waiting for me to come out. She must have been there for three days without food or water.
Why did she stay? In our small community she knew the way home, where food and water waited. But I had invited her to accompany me to the church, and left her with my bicycle. And that is where she stayed, trusting with all her heart that I would return when the time was right.
That is the kind of trust Proverbs talks about. It is the trust that tells us that leaning on our own understanding, even in situations that seem to make no sense (see Proverbs 3:5), like refusing to wait for three days next to an abandoned bicycle, will make it impossible for the Lord to direct our paths.
I have remembered and loved this lesson for about forty years. I hope the Lord can trust me to trust him, regardless of the circumstances.