In 2 Nephi, Chapter 4, Nephi sorrows because he is man, he is weak, and he is a sinner. Even this prophet of the Lord acknowledges the difficulties of living in a world where he is surrounded by temptations and admits that he himself commits iniquities. He realizes that, without God, he is nothing. If this is true of a man who has spoken with angels and performed seemingly impossible tasks, how much more true is it of us?
As I’m sure it has for many, this hymn has been intensely personal for me during times of trial and sadness. It expresses the feelings that, in my anguish, I can’t always seem to articulate on my own: temptations are stronger when I’m don’t feel His presence; without Him, life has not meaning; and, to put it plainly, I need Him.
The words become even more poignant to me when I realize that it is so true that I need Him every hour. Not just during the times of pain and weakness, but during times of happiness and triumph as well. In every moment of my life, I can find a reason to either thank or plead to the Lord. I can never be without Him.
It is because of Him that both Nephi and I have found purpose in life and reason not to be discouraged by our imperfections.
26 …why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
Without Him, we are lost. With Him, miracles are performed, strengths become weaknesses, and even the most lowly of us can find comfort in the greatest or seemingly meaningless trials. We need Him every hour. And He will always be there.