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"For behold, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yea even in a dream, and said unto him: Blessed art thou, Lehi, because of the things which thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee, behold, they seek to take away thy life. And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness. And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord. . . and it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious, things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness....
And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that I, Nephi, and my brethren, should again return unto the land of Jerusalem, and bring down Ishmael and his family into the wilderness...And it came to pass that the we went up unto the house of Ishmael, and we did gain favor in the sight of Ishmael, insomuch that we did speak unto him the words of the Lord. And it came to pass that the Lord did soften the heart of Ishmael, and also his household, insomuch that they took their journey with us down into the wilderness to the tent of our father...
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, took one of the daughters of Ishmael to wife, and also, my brethren took of the daughters of Ishmael to wife...And it came to pass that we did again take our journey in the wilderness...And we did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness, and our women did bear children in the wilderness. And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings. And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness...yea, even eight years...and notwithstanding we had suffered many afflictions and much difficulty, yea, even so much that we cannot write them all, we were exceedingly rejoiced when we came to the seashore..." 1 Nephi 2:1-4, 7:2-5, 15:7, 17:1-4, 6
This painting celebrates the sacrifice and heroism of the daughters of Ishmael, who, in their devoted discipleship, left riches and comforts behind during a perilous, eight-year desert journey to a Land of Promise. The rich detail of her costuming is a visual reminder of the worldly wealth and privilege she willingly abandoned in her native land. Her face reflects a small degree of wistful uncertainty, but the light which shines in and around her expresses the peace and strength bestowed on all who faithfully step into the unknown to carry out the Lord's will.
Symbolism in I Will Go Before Your Face
Like the young woman in this painting, each of us must endure grief and other challenges constituting a personal desolation of pain and suffering. The word "desert" derives from the Latin "forsake" and in the expansive wildernesses of such personal challenges it is easy to feel forgotten and alone. Nevertheless, the scriptures are replete with comfort and reassurance for such ordeals. Paul's words, written no doubt in the extremity of his own sufferings, reach out across the ages to point out minds and hearts to the God of all who suffer: "Neither death, nor life...nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
Through the words of Isaiah the Savior compassionately reassures us that though "a woman [might] forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb...yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel. Behold I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me...and all flesh shall know that I, the Lord, am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob" (1 Nephi 21:15-16, 26).
The light in this painting illuminates both the wilderness setting and the young woman. It is intended to represent the hope and Heaven-sent mercies continually surrounding those who struggle, but hold on in faith. The Lord assures all who enter dark and dreary wastes of difficulty: "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you" (John 14:18); and "I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you to bear you up" (D&C 84:88). This is the promise of the Great Redeemer, who descended below all things that He might succor His people (see Alma 7:11-12).
The wilderness experience from which this image derives taught the people total reliance upon the word of the Lord, bearing up without complaint under severe challenges and being tutored in the discovery of wisdom and great treasures of knowledge at the hand of their merciful God. They learned the eternal truth that God "changeth not...and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles" (Mormon 9:19). Indeed, it was during their afflictions that Lehi and Nephi received the vision of the tree of life, discovered the purpose of their journey, found their way--through an 8-year journey in the wilderness--by means of "compass" that worked only according to their faith and heed and diligence, saw their family increase in strength as well as numbers, received additional scriptures, surmounted every obstacle, and crossed not only an ocean and a desert, but the wilderness of their weakness and the great deep of their fear. They learned by their own experience day by day that "the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance" (1 Nephi 1:20).
By Al R. Young only high-end custom frames We have framed our own artworks for more than 30 years, and during that time we have provided a variety of framing services to patrons upon request. For many reasons—including constant changes in the availability of moulding styles—we cannot offer off-the-shelf framing options or response times typically associated with such a service. Of necessity, all of our framing projects are aproached, priced, and billed as constuling projects... Read more »
the story in this painting the creation of this paintingOriginal artworks produced by the Artists of Al Young Studios are part of themed collections because the Studios is organized after the pattern of the Renaissance workshops of the old masters. The Artists take the long view of their work as being a lifetime journey toward mastery of artistic expression through selected techniques, reaching as far back as the 16th century. Artists work as peers in an intensely creative community in which each artist pursues his or her own work as part of the group's philosophy... Read more »
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