Living by the scriptures

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. - Heb. 11:13.

There will be times in our lives when it seems our arms are empty of the blessings that we have diligently and righteously sought. Perhaps years of honest, hard work is undermined by a co-worker, and we are left empty-handed, and devoid of the fruits of our labors. Perhaps the promise of a worthy companion has not been fulfilled. Possibly a loved one has passed on, and our arms, once so rich with joy, are now sadly empty. Because we are designed for a fullness of joy, we may become so discouraged that we give up hope.

I have felt all of the above losses, and managed to endure and move on, but recently, I was profoundly discouraged, and I asked myself, "What's the use? Why do I even try?" The words of this verse came to my mind. I knew it was the Holy Ghost prompting me, so I looked the reference up in its entirety.

Abraham had lived a long and righteous life, but he had died not having received a fulfillment of God's promises. Yet he endured to the end, and died full of faith. How did he do it? The word "embrace" caught my attention. I realized that "embrace" implies cherishing, and holding near and dear to our hearts with a loyalty and love that no outside event or person can harm.

A true embrace is also two-way. As we embrace the promises, our hearts are filled with a love and loyalty toward God, which empowers us to keep our covenants with the Lord, as did Abraham. Like Abraham, we can "embrace the promises," knowing they come from a Father and a Savior who love us and wish for us to receive "all that my Father hath. . . ." (D&C 84:38). In the meantime, our arms need never be empty if we "embrace" the promises.

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