1 Nephi 3:5
5. And now, behold thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing that I have required of them; but behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord.
We are often asked to do “a hard thing.” For example, compare the following two scriptures, one at the beginning of Jeremiah’s story, the other near the end.
Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nation (Jeremiah 1:9-10).
Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah … that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sank in the mire (Jeremiah 38:6).
It is an important concept, and one we tend to overlook: the promises of Jeremiah chapter 1 do not preclude the events of Jeremiah chapter 38—not in Jeremiah’s life nor in anyone else’s. Indeed, if one refuses to participate in the events of 38, one forfeits the fulfillment of the promises of chapter 1. That sounds dreary, but after all, this is a lonely, dreary world. In the end, of course, there is always a promised hope! The hope is found in the first covenant that the Lord made with Adam: “In the day you eat of the fruit you will surely die.”
In this life, one has to fulfill the assignment received in the premortal Council in Heaven. But that is not all. One must also slosh around in the muck of this world for a finite number of years; be a leaning post for others who have grown weary of sloshing; or hold some in his arms until they regain their strength; and refrain from harshly judging others because they are made dirty by the same muck that he is in. Then, after a while, someone will let a rope down to him and he can go back home again.
But if we refuse to do that, if we expend our time and energy in this world building some kind of pedestal so we can climb up and sit on its cushy softness, and mock those whose feet are dirty from being in the place where the Lord planted them, then we get to remain on our self-constructed throne for ever. There will be no rope, and no going back to our celestial home.