It had been a long day at work, and I was in no mood to go visiting teaching. I printed off the message from the Church’s website before turning off my computer, planning to skim the text during the red traffic lights on the way to the home of the sister I was to visit. I glanced through the message carelessly as I picked it up off the printer, but the first scripture made me stop and sit back down at my desk: “I will also be your light in the wilderness; … wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led” (1 Nephi 17:13).
The Spirit whispered that although the afternoon’s visiting teaching appointment was for the benefit of the sister I was to visit, this message was meant for me. Though my life was nothing to complain about, I was a young single adult living far away from home, trying to get established in a new career and doing my best to serve actively in a challenging calling. I knew there was a promised land out there somewhere in my future, but at the present, it often felt as if I were trudging through a wilderness with no end in sight. It was easy to feel discouraged.
That afternoon when I visited the sister with whom I had the appointment, she and I shared our testimonies of the Savior with each other, and my hope was renewed. I was not left to find my way through the darkness alone. The Savior was the light through this unique “wilderness” period of my life. I had felt His guiding influence as I made important life decisions. Just as the Lord prepared Nephi’s family for their journey by providing them with the Liahona and the brass plates, I had been prepared by the faith and power that come through regular scripture study and temple attendance. Even though at times I yearned for my promised land, I realized that there were many benefits to spending time in the wilderness being led by the Lord. I was learning how to go to Heavenly Father with my concerns and recognize answers to prayers. I was learning to have patience in His timing. I was learning that He would provide manna to sustain me when I felt emotionally and spiritually famished (see Mosiah 7:19). In short, I was becoming better prepared for my arrival in the promised land.
I often think back to what I learned from that visiting teaching appointment, especially during times when the wilderness seems especially barren and lonely. I look forward to the day when I can stand in my promised land and look back at the many miles I have traveled—not on my own but with the help of the Savior’s guiding light.