Ether 6- Thoughts

I haven’t posted in ages,  but I just finished the Book of Mormon (whoot whoot!) and really wanted to write down my thoughts while reading Ether 6. It has been my favorite discovery while reading the BOM this time. Hopefully you can apply it to yourself as I have been able to do.

Let’s recap what’s happening before you read these verses…

The people of Jared are being led to a promised land. To get there,  they have to cross the ocean. They build “tight” boats that only have a small hole at the top with a stop so the water doesn’t come in, but that allows them get air when they need it. They’re light source are from rocks that have been touched by the Lord. There is so much more to say about that, but that’s not the focus so we’ll just skip that amazingness.

Okay so you’re in a boat crossing the ocean with one hole at the top and some rocks for light. Let’s just imagine what that would be like…

First of all, how do you use the bathroom?!! Every time I read this story I get so stressed about what the bathroom experience was for these people.

Also, what about food? I’m sure they had to store all of their food since they were in the middle of the ocean, which means they were probably eating the same bland thing everyday.

Can we just talk about what the women must have gone through. It’s possible there were pregnant women aboard the ship who had children while traveling… oh gosh. I can’t think to hard about that one or I want to cry.

Also, how often did they see daylight or completely stand up or take showers?? Maybe the boats are bigger then I’m imagining, but no matter what, being inside an enclosed boat that mostly stays underwater would be ROUGH!

And they did it for a……

YEAR!!!!!! A year!!!!!

I seriously can’t imagine how difficult it would be.

So… with all that in mind read these verses:

Ether 6:5-12

5 And it came to pass that 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.

6 And it came to pass that 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.

7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.
8 And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.
9 And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.
10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.
11 And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water.
12 And they did land upon the shore of the promised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them.

There is so much to look at in those verses, but let’s start with verse 9

9 And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.

We’ve already imagined the circumstances that these people were in… but despite their circumstances… and despite the the LONG time that they were enduring those circumstances, they continually praised God and were grateful. That right there is a HUGE lesson, being grateful no matter your situation, but there is a deeper lesson when you look closer at what exactly they were grateful for…

There are many things listed in the surrounding verses.

5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land

8 And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.

10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.

Now despite all the craziness that they experienced in their boats, God was continually pushing them towards the promised land- WITHOUT CEASING. And on top of that He was always protecting them. He protected them from danger, he allowed them to have light, and he pushed them forward continuously.

It’s clear to me that the reason God pushed them forward and protected them without ceasing was because the did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.” That is a direct correlation not only for them, but for me! When I recognize the Lord’s hand in my life continuously, He blesses me continuously.

However, I think this story gives deeper meaning to the word “blessing.” When I imagine being someone on these boats… eating who knows what, going to the bathroom who knows where, and sitting in the same spot for a stinking year… Blessed is not the word that comes to mind.

But that’s what kills me… that was their circumstances yet they still praised God… Why? Because they say the bigger picture. They were surrounded by discomforts, but they knew that what it took to make it to a better, promised land. They focused on the miracle that God Himself directed their course and pushed them forward instead of being held down by daily circumstances.

As I’ve compared this to my life I am so humbled. I’m gonna be honest… I live a VERY comfortable life, but when I have days filled with discomforts, I focus on them! I get frustrated with those discomforts and pray for God to take them away. By doing this, I’m missing the chance to draw closer to and depend on Christ. I’m missing the chance to pray for strength, endurance, and the ability to see the that God is the wind pushing me forward.

Verse 6 intensifies this idea…

6 And it came to pass that 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.

The wind that God created to push them forward, was exactly the thing causing storms and waves along their journey.

God pushing US forward, to become more like Him, is exactly what can cause trials and challenges in our lives!

I feel so in awe of this lesson.

Recently I visited my sister and her husband who have been dealing with some huge trials. As I talked to them and watched them, I felt such a reverence for their experience. I can’t imagine what they are going through, but from my outside perspective I can see how it is changing them. Their dependence on the Savior has become just that… a dependence! And it has given the gospel new life and meaning in their lives. When I walk into their home I can feel the reality of Jesus Christ as my Savior as well as theirs. I know they were not given this trial because they were being punished or something… BUT because God is pushing them forward. He sees what they are, but knows what they can become THROUGH Christ! God’s pushing them forward to that “becoming” is exactly what is causing trials in their lives and while I can see and feel the pain, the growth and spirituality I feel when I am near them is awe-inspiring.

This has caused me to think of the Savior. His life was FILLED with discomforts and challenges, yet He perfectly withstood them all and maintained the perfect perspective that God is over all. As we turn to Christ, He will help us bare the burdens that push us nearer to Heaven. He will improve us and give us hope and peace.

While my own experiences are sooooo far from trials, my faith is sure that the only way to make it through is by Christ. I know He lives. I know He is the author of peace and the only way we can find hope through our trials. I hope and pray to be like the people in Ether. I hope to see God pushing me forward even when life is filled with discomforts and trials. I also know that as I do this, the Lord will bless me with the abilities beyond my own and eventually to shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over [me].

As Linda S. Reeves said:

“I do not know why we have the many trials that we have, but it is my personal feeling that the reward is so great, so eternal and everlasting, so joyful and beyond our understanding that in that day of reward, we may feel to say to our merciful, loving Father, ‘Was that all that was required?’ I believe that if we could daily remember and recognize the depth of that love our Heavenly Father and our Savior have for us, we would be willing to do anything to be back in Their presence again, surrounded by Their love eternally. What will it matter, dear sisters, what we suffered here if, in the end, those trials are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation in the kingdom of God with our Father and Savior?”

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