Laman and Lemuel were angry when Nephi broke his bow (1 Nephi 16:18). Yet Laman and Lemuel were apparently not self-critical when their own bows had earlier “lost their springs,” nor is there any record of their trying to make new bows to feed their families (1 Nephi 16:21). One can almost hear them saying, “Let Nephi do it. This trip was his idea.”
Life’s broken bows can create resentment, as if we have given God a quota of irritants that He must not exceed. Hence, in our frustrations, some of us murmur over our own equivalents of broken bows.
These hyperventilating moments use up some of the oxygen provided by God’s lending us breath from moment to moment (Mosiah 2:21). Because God has said He will try our patience and our faith, how should we view such irritating trials? (Mosiah 23:21) Furthermore, if there were never any broken bows, how else would we be brought to perform certain spiritual calisthenics?
Broken bows litter the landscape of our lives, representing yesterday’s frustrations. These were real enough at the moment. Dotting the same landscape, however, are many more reminders of blessings than of discarded broken bows. May we have the eyes to see that which an outside auditor would surely see as he counts our blessings.
Neal A. Maxwell, Whom the Lord Loveth, The Journey of Discipleship, pp. 45-46