The third woman in the Women of the Book of Mormon series is Abish, one of my favorite people in the Book of Mormon. Abish is the faithful woman that lived alone, spiritually, with non-believers. I personally identified a lot with her growing up, as I grew up in a rural community in Ohio where the only other Mormons in my school were my siblings.
We meet Abish in the 19th chapter of the Book of Alma in the Book of Mormon. Here, Ammon, a Nephite, has shared the knowledge of God with the Laminate king and he, the queen and their servants all fall to the Earth as if dead. Only one person is left standing, the queen’s servant, Abish (Alma 19: 16).
The Lord knew these events would unfold, and thus prepared Abish to help protect Ammon. She had been told the truth by her father (Alma 19: 16). He had a vision and saw the truth of God and they believed in secret. She, a servant to the queen, was able to testify to the people of what had happened (Alma 19: 17). She was the one to raise the queen, who in turn raised the king who preached the Gospel of Jesus to his people (Alma 19: 28-31).
Thus, having been converted to the Lord, and never having made it known, therefore, when she saw that all the servants of Lamoni had fallen to the earth, and also her mistress, the queen, and the king, and Ammon layprostrate upon the earth, she knew that it was the power of God; and supposing that this opportunity, by making known unto the people what had happened among them, that by beholding this scene it would cause them to believe in the power of God, therefore she ran forth from house to house, making it known unto the people…
And it came to pass that she went and took the queen by the hand, that perhaps she might raise her from the ground; and as soon as she touched her hand she arose and stood upon her feet… – Alma 19: 17, 29
Abish was planted by the Lord as a seed that bore fruit as king Lamoni was converted. There needed to be a Lamanite that did not fall to be a witness of what happened until the queen and king arose, someone to gather the people so that they could see the miracle. In the mean time, Abish was likely an example of Christianity, preparing the way for the queen and king to accept Jesus Christ, by the spirit in which she lived her life.
This is very much like we are, at school or work or with our non-Christian friends. We set the example so that when the time is right, the Lord may testify to them through the Holy Spirit by way of the example others have set for them. They may not know that the Christians they met were worshipers of Christ or to what church they belonged to, yet that spiritual witness of Christ would still prepare the way. We know it does not always work out that way, and even Abish “when she saw the contention which was among the multitude she was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto tears” (Alma 19: 28). While there is joy in seeing the salvation of others, there too is sadness in seeing contention and the rejection of the Lord.
We are all witnesses of Christ at all times. Even when we are in a situation where we are the only witness and may not even be able to talk about the Savior, we are still shining our light as Christians. Once the time is ripe, we can run “from house to house” witnessing, and by virtue of our works others will have seen Christ’s grace in us. Abish teaches us the joy of seeing others saved, and the pain felt when they do not understand God’s workings. She goes through, in just a few verses, every emotion felt by us as we share the gospel. Joy, fear, sadness, and joy again for those that do chose to be saved.
Image: Unknown, drawing from 16th century, Public Domain.