• Tiffany Miller

BLOG: (Jan 31 - Feb 6) Moses 8 and Genesis 6-11, “Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord”

Author: Tiffany Miller

As a student of history, I’ve noticed similarities and patterns that occur over and over again. These same patterns are seen throughout the standard works, and every time period too. The natural man is the same across generations and cultures. Our goal is to learn and become like Him. We do that through mastering ourselves.

Noah and his family lived in some tough times. The people around them were very wicked and it couldn’t have been easy to stand against literally everyone else with no one but your family on your side. Us humans are social creatures and it’s always hard to stand against the majority. We in the latter-days are tasked with being peculiar people though. “Peculiar” is probably the nicest way Noah’s contemporaries would have thought of him, so it’s probably not how they described him when they spoke about him and his family behind their backs.

I’m kind of a people pleaser and more than kind of a conflict avoider. Stepping away from those tendencies of mine is stepping away from comfort, which is never easy. I try to imagine how Noah and his family must have felt to be completely alone in their faith and way of life, and it causes me a little bit of anxiety. How would I do if the Lord called on me to go and do likewise? Would I try to pull a Jonah and run the other way? Would I stand fierce like Moroni? Would I gather those around me to fast and pray for me while I spent time preparing like Esther? The thing is, we all have similar callings already - the Lord has already called us to His work. We’ve been called to preach His gospel and covenanted to do it. How are we reacting to that call and covenant that we renew each Sunday? Which historical figure can represent our actions?

We can learn so much about ourselves and our fellow humans through studying the stories of those that lived before as found in the scriptures and other historical texts. There have been some mighty wonderful and less wonderful people that have lived on this beautiful earth. We can learn from each one - things to do and things not to do. A benefit we have in the present day is that we can learn and study the consequences of their actions. We can’t always know the consequences of our actions because we don’t know the future, but we can make informed decisions because of our experiences, the experiences of others, and the promises of the Lord and His servants. A thorough study of the scriptures (even a cursory study of them) will lead us to observe The Pride Cycle.

It’s pretty rampant throughout the scriptures - and the history of mankind. The people in Noah’s day got stuck in a Downward Pride Spiral, spiraling through pride and wickedness and destruction and suffering never completing the cycle by cycling to the humility and repentance part and onward. I probably cycle through the whole thing several times a day (noton that big of a scale though). I can usually tell which phase of the cycle I’m in by my attitude and mood. For example, I woke up this morning much like other mornings, happy to greet the day and inspired to get going. My mood was happy and hopeful, even as I was tallying all the things I needed to do to help the day run as smoothly as possible for all the people involved. I would say I was living at the top of the cycle: righteousness and prosperity.

After taking the oldest two to and from orchestra and the youngest three to their microschool for the morning, I got my oldest set up with her math lesson for the day and she needed my help with a problem. I was able to help her and explain the principles behind the problem so that she could solve them herself and then she wanted my help for another problem, but I had to run out the door again for speech therapy with daughter number two and didn’t have time to help her. I knew she could do it and that she just was setting up mental blocks to prevent herself from seeing and understanding the problem accurately. Feeling the time crunch and being somewhat frustrated at her seeming unwillingness to try it on her own, I snapped at her. I entered the destruction and suffering stage of the cycle. I had effectively destroyed my happy and hopeful mood for the time being and was straight up grouchy. I was suffering, and I had taken it out on my daughter, inviting her to join me in my suffering. But I had to leave or I’d be late for speech therapy! I tried to back-pedal a little, feeling the whisperings of the Spirit for me to repent and try again. I expressed my confidence and faith in her ability to solve the problem and then ran out the door. The Spirit worked on me some more about how I needed to repent, and I called my daughter on my way to the speech appointment to apologize and once again go over how to solve the problem and offer some suggestions about how she might go about solving it if she got stuck. Through doing this, I cycled through the humility and repentance phase. Now I was back on top and my mood was once again calm and peaceful. And this was all before lunch. I returned home ready to be patient and long-suffering if need be.

[Random side note: Lest you think I’m too awesome of a mom😉, snapping at my children is probably the minorest of sins I commit throughout the day.]

Back to Noah’s story. He and his family were the only ones to survive the flood. They had to start over, and not too many generations later The Pride Cycle manifested itself once again. But the Lord had made a promise to never again destroy the inhabitants of the earth with a flood. He gave the rainbow as a token to remind us of this covenant. Similar tokens are used to remind us of the covenants we’ve made. The bread and water we partake of during sacrament meetings help us remember what we’ve promised and what the Lord has promised in return. His promises are sure, and we can trust in Him completely. He has promised to help us through all of our pride cycling, and the Spirit that can always be with us helps us get to the upswing part when we need it. We can be like Noah and “find grace in the eyes of the Lord; for Noah was a just man [...]; and he walked with God” (Moses 8:27) We too can walk with God throughout our day by listening to those whisperings and nudges from the Spirit to help us evaluate where we are and self-correct. That’s the cycle and process of self-mastery. It is a process, and He leads us “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” (2 N 28:30). We get lots of chances. We get the chance to try again and start over many times throughout the day. Each time He is merciful and forgiving as we strive to be just a little more like Him. This beautiful song by Mindy Gledhill reminds me of this process.

I'm Tiffany and I live in sunny Arizona (love me some sunshine!). I have 5 beautiful daughters. I know what you're thinking, that's A LOT of estrogen! and you'd be right, but we have some of the greatest times known to mankind through our adventures in learning (we homeschool), loving, playing, and growing together. In my spare time, I love to read (I own literally thousands of books) and hike in the beautiful mountains near my home.

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