Although getting sick for the first two weeks of 2018 was not part of my plan or goals, despite this I have been making some progress on my New Years Resolutions. Today, I finished my first book of the year, The Book of Mormon. As I was reading it today, one passage, in particular, stood out.
Towards the end of the book, there is an insert from a record of a group older than the main storyline. This small group traveled across the ocean in barges after wandering away from the post Tower of Babel confusion. In it, God asks them what ideas they have to solve one of the problems of traveling by barge (which is a bit reminiscent of our family motto about not whining but working to solve problems), saying:
"And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?" Ether 2:25
I find it interesting that their journey towards new opportunities, which was viewed by them (both at the time and later) as a blessing, came with incredible discomforts. In the middle of all of this though they were singing praises and gave thanks, even though they were on the water for 340 days of this:
"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." Ether 6:5
But perhaps most instructive is the fact that the wind that tossed them all about was the same wind that was blowing them were they wanted to go.
How often is that the case in our lives? How often is it that the most difficult aspects of life and living are those with the most potential energy to propel us towards a promised land? How often do we give thanks for these winds that blow and cause so much situational or positional discomfort?
Perhaps part of the secret is to prepare against them and think ahead – to get ready both physically and mentally. Another secret, it would seem, is to accept weakness, develop humility, and discover grace, as it is succinctly described just a few pages later:
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." Ether 12:27
The winds of life are going to blow, one way or another. But through all of this, coming to "know the greatness of God" is coming to know that if we let Him, through grace, "he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain" (2 Nephi 2:2). All we have to do is exercise (or even just desire) more faith, hope, and charity, which is not always easy and definitely never natural.
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