Comer: Likening scriptures — ‘The wind did never cease to blow’
One of my favorite reasons for studying the Book of Mormon, and scriptures in general, is the ability to liken them to my life. It’s always been compelling to me that the lessons from these records, written thousands of years ago, can be applied to us now and that we can learn from them.
The apostle Paul demonstrated the benefit of likening situations from the scriptures when he addressed the Corinthians about temptations (see 1 Corinthians 10). He mentioned the ancient Israelites and how they struggled with temptations despite having witnessed miracles.
Sometimes, as I’m studying, I’m struck suddenly and sharply with a lesson. I freeze and instantly know what I have read is extremely important. That is what happened last weekend as I was studying in the book of Ether in the Book of Mormon.
A people called the Jaredites were about to embark on a voyage across “the great waters” to what was called the promised land. One of the Jaredites, referred to only as the brother of Jared, had just gone to the top of a mountain and requested the Lord touch 16 stones so that they would give light, thus allowing the Jaredites to not have to make the long journey in the dark. Because of his faith, the Lord touched the stones, causing them to provide light.
In order to power the Jaredites on their barges toward the promised land, the Lord caused “a furious wind” to blow.
“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.
“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.” (Ether 6:5-6)
Because of the way the vessels were constructed, which was described as “being tight like unto a dish,” the Jaredites were unharmed by the water.
“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.” (Ether 6:8)
When I read that passage, I had to stop. I knew instantly how important it was. If you think of the wind like our daily trials, it can seem like they never end. Some trials last a short period of time, while other trials last longer, perhaps even our entire lives. Some seem relatively minor, while some are seemingly unbearable. But despite the variation of trials, we can be certain that the trials never cease. This can be massively frustrating. We wonder why these trials have to happen. Perhaps we ask ourselves the same question the disciples asked Jesus when he came upon a man who was blind from birth. “Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). We think that we must have done something to deserve these trials, but we can’t understand what.
In truth, just like the winds were necessary to propel the Jaredites to the promised land, the trials we face are necessary to push us toward eternal life. Our loving father in heaven in all his wisdom knows exactly what is required for us to achieve that goal. We just have to trust him.
Because the Jaredites knew where they were going and the necessity of the wind in driving them there, frightening as that wind must have been, they were able to maintain faith. They seemingly weren’t weighed down at all by how dangerous their voyage appeared to be.
“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.
“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.
“And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water.” (Ether 6:9-11)
When we understand that our trials serve a purpose, which is to push us toward eternal life, it changes our perspective on them entirely. Instead of feeling bitter and distressed, we feel grateful. I know I do. Obviously, I don’t go searching for trials, and I try my best to make choices that prevent certain trials, but I feel grateful that God loves me so much that he’s not satisfied with me staying where I am. He wants me to progress. This is how the Jaredites felt. Even though the winds never ceased to blow, they did not cease to praise the Lord. The result? They could not be broken by any monster of the sea or marred by any whale. And they had light continually, regardless of whether they were above or under the water. The Lord was with them throughout the entire 344-day duration of the trip.
Similarly, we don’t have to be broken by our own trials, no matter how difficult to endure they may be. And we can have the Lord with us throughout them continually, for however long the journey, until we reach the ultimate goal, the promised land — eternal life.
Contact Ryan Comer at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @rbcomer8388 and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/