And who do you think listened? Four, or maybe five people? No. Not one single person believed Lehi. But that’s alright. Lehi would have kept walking and teaching and sharing until his sandals wore out and his voice dried up, but God had a different plan.
God talked to Lehi again, in his dreams this time. “Lehi,” He said, “You have been a wonderful teacher, and you have worked so hard to share this beautiful story, but it is time to go. I want you to gather your family and move everyone into the wilderness.”
So Lehi and Sariah, they packed up some food, and loaded the camels, and took one last look back at their beautiful home where they had prayed and laughed and raised their four boys, then they shut the door and walked out into the night. And Lehi and Sariah, they would never see that home and that city they loved again.
You know the pioneers who walked and walked and walked? Lehi and Sariah’s family were like those pioneers. They walked and walked and walked away from their home and friends; they walked into the wilderness where there was sand and heat and bugs. And when they finally stopped walking and put up their tents, Lehi walked around a little more looking for stones so he could build an altar to say “Thank you for bringing us here safely, God. It has been good to walk.”
But not everyone was happy about the idea of camping in the wilderness for a few years. You might have heard of Laman and Lemuel. They’re pretty famous for being in a bad mood all the time and for C O M P L A I N I N G. The world could be singing while the sun shines all around, and Laman and Lemuel would say, “Eh, it’s a bit hot.” So it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that Laman and Lemuel were not happy to have left all their friends and money and jobs and everything they knew back in Jerusalem, or to have walked and walked and walked for days and days, or to be sleeping on the sandy ground in the hot desert with itchy bugs. And they complained.
And the weren’t the only ones who were uncertain. Nephi was Lehi and Sariah’s youngest son, and he also didn’t feel so good about suddenly moving into tents in the desert. And Nephi asked God what they were doing in that desert, and if they would be staying there for a long time. And you know how God answered Lehi’s prayer very quickly? Well, he answered Nephi’s too! Just like that. “Nephi,” God said, “It makes my heart glad when you talk with me.” God told Nephi “You are in the desert now, but you won’t be here long. I’m going to send you somewhere else. Somewhere beautiful. I’m preparing the land, and I’m preparing you. And you will live there. And your family and your children will live there. And you will be happy and blessed for as long as you love deeply and have faith.”
And Nephi believed God, and trusted that even though he was living in a tent on the sand with itchy bugs now, God had a plan. Something better was coming. There would be a home, and a family, too. And with the family there would be love, and joy, and sorrow, and pain, and forgiveness, and beauty, and God would be there, too, just like he was there with them already in the tent, on the sand, with the bugs.