This week I mixed it up a bit. I was feeling less motivated about scriptures so after reading on in Alma for the first few days this week and feeling a bit bogged down, I decided to move to another part of the scriptures. Switching up where I'm reading always seems to help me. I'll go back to Alma and it'll feel fresher a bit later.
So this week, I found some stuff in Ether 6 that really spoke to me.
The Jaredites are travelling across the ocean to the promised land. They've worked hard to build sturdy barges according to instructions from the Lord and have figured out how to have light inside their vessels (I love how the Lord doesn't tell them what to do about the problem of how to have light inside their vessels but asks them to come up with a solution and present it to Him. This is a pattern I need to follow more with my kids and as I bring problems to the Lord...).
In verse 5-6 it says, "The Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind. And... they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind."
It sounds like that fierce wind and the mountain waves were pretty crazy and scary. And lots of times "they were buried in the deep." (v. 7)
But they were safe because their vessels were built just right - they'd followed the Lord's directions just right. And when "they were emcompassed about by the many waters they did cry unto the Lord and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters." (v. 7).
The wind "did never cease to blow towards the promised land." (v. 8)
And through what sure sounds like some hard trials, "they did sing praises unto the Lord...and did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord." (v.9)
During many phases of our lives, the Lord is driving us with fierce winds and mountain waves and scary times towards the "promised land" He has in store for us. We can focus on how bumpy and uncomfortable and often frightening those strong winds are making our ride. Or we can focus on how blessed we are to be driven towards the beautiful and wonderful things the Lord has in store for us. We can murmur or we can sing praises. It's up to us.
And the hard stuff in our lives often isn't short. A lot of endurance and ongoing faith is often expected of us. The Jaredites endured this tossing on the sea for "three hundred and forty and four days." (v 11)
But how much more we appreciate things when we've had to go through hard stuff to get to them!
"When they had set their feet upon the shores of hte promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land and did humble themselves before the Lord because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them." (v.12).
We can look back and see how much help and love we experienced through trials or we can look back and see just the pain and suffering. It's up to us.