I was reading about the long stormy time that the brother of Jared and his people spent crossing the sea and all the difficult conditions they endured for so long. I found myself wondering if I could endure 344 days of stormy sea crossing.
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. (Ether 6:5-11)
When I read about the brother of Jared praising and thanking the Lord continually and how they sang praises to the Lord, I wondered how they kept that up for so long. Wouldn’t they get tired of it? And with all that stormy weather, it was a really rough ride, so how could they keep up the gratitude and praise for so long?
Eventually I realized that the thanks and the praise and singing was actually their best weapon for keeping their spirits up during all the storm.
When you think about it, there was much they could have worried about.
--Why is this storm lasting so long?
--What if our barge never come to the top of the water again?
--What if those whales and sharks run into the barges and break them open?
--What if we never find land?
--What if the lights suddenly go out?
--What if the food and water runs out?
--What if we get swamped by a wave when the hatch is open?
There are lots of things they could worry about, and yet they were at the mercy of the wind and waves and the direction the wind would take them. They didn’t have control over their direction at all. All they could do was simply cope by means of the preparations they had previously made. (How do you and I deal with a loss of control?)
The brother of Jared knew he could do nothing about their surroundings except pray. So rather than give in to the natural doubts and fears and worries that would arise, he chose to take responsibility for his own attitude. He couldn’t control the weather, but he could control his attitude and response to it. By his continual prayers and thanks and praises to God and singing he made his own weather for himself and his people.
We also get a hint through Moroni’s abridgement of how the brother of Jared chose to look at the dangers they faced. With each difficulty recorded there is also attached some sort of mitigating factor that helped.
Sure, there were mountain waves that broke upon them (and they had to see those waves to know they were mountain-sized), but no water hurt them.
Sure, they were buried in the sea (and they had to open the hatch and have water come in to realize that), but their vessels were tight like a dish and like the ark of Noah, so they didn’t leak.
Sure, the wind blew the entire time and raised great and terrible tempests, but it always blew in the same direction, which had to be toward the promised land, otherwise the Lord would not have had them go to sea where they did.
Sure, there were sea monsters and whales gallivanting all over and battering into their barges on occasion, but no damage was done.
Sure, the barges were dark, but the Lord had prepared shining stones for them to have light all the time. (And we can also realize that their stones didn’t need fuel and didn’t need to be tended and fed like a fire. They weren’t dangerous to touch, and they didn’t make smoke in their little enclosed barges.)
Hmm. I’m thinking I should take that as a example for writing in my journal. If I record a difficulty I’m having, I should also look for a blessing the Lord is giving me to help me with it.
Today let’s make our own weather in response to the difficulties we have to go through but can’t control. Let’s combat worries and fears with prayer, praise, thanks, and song and see if that makes a difference.