I was reading these verses recently about the journey of the Jaredites to the promised land:
5 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded them that they should go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been. And it came to pass that the Lord did go before them, and did talk with them as he stood in a cloud, and gave directions whither they should travel.I think it is interesting that the record says that the Jaredites crossed many waters, but had to keep going. The Lord wouldn’t let them stop there. If I were among the Jaredites, I probably would have wondered why we couldn’t settle after the first major crossing.
6 And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord.
7 And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people. (Ether 2:5-7)
I find that there is a certain spiritual tendency to think that once we’ve changed our lives a little bit that that is our final destination. But the Lord doesn’t want us to stop there; He wants us to make it all the way back to live with Him. He prods us to keep going, keep growing, keep changing. When we join the church, we sign up for an adventure of positive transformation toward celestial glory and nothing less than that should satisfy us… at least not for long.
I know in my life when I’ve changed for the better, it takes me a while to become used to it. At the beginning when it is so new, I’m pretty exultant and feel excited and fulfilled. And it is hard to think of what new changes still need to happen. But when I become comfortable and used to those changes, then divine discontent hits and it is time to think about what else about me needs to change.
Here are some phrases I really like in these verses that indicate different types of revelation that help us change:
- the Lord did go before them… This reminds me of the example Christ set for us, as revealed in the scriptures. He’s been through it all before. He knows what it is like. He knows how to help us through it.
- and [the Lord] did talk with them as he stood in a cloud… This reminds me of what a privilege it is to communicate with the Lord through prayer. I’ve gotten better at this over the last month and I really like being able to share my feelings about things with the Lord.
- and [the Lord] gave directions whither they should travel… This reminds me that when I am feeling directionless and confused, I can get direction from the Lord and be renewed in my sense of purpose.
- [they were]directed continually by the hand of the Lord… This reminds me that not only can we get direction from the Lord, but He can intervene directly in our circumstances which show us He’s working with us. It is like an invisible hand has put things in motion, causing all things to work together for our good. (Just as I was writing about this, I got a little sample of it myself and I was able to recognize it! It made me feel loved.)