Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Ether 3:4 -- On Preparation, Imagination, and Light

"And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea."
Ether 3:4

This story about the brother of Jared always amazes me.  He went before the Lord with two problems.  He made the barges the way God wanted him to, but there were no accommodations for air and light in them.  God solved the problem of air in the barges for the Brother of Jared, but the light problem he didn't solve.  Instead, he asked what the brother of Jared wanted him to do, and gave him a couple of hints about things that wouldn't work (Ether 2:23).  From there, this is what the brother of Jared came up with... and it is amazing, and creative, and I can't imagine how it works.  But it DID.  Can you imagine the amount of faith that takes?  I feel like we often get lost or frustrated at school or work, or just in life, if we don't automatically know how to do something. We want someone to just tell us.  We have very low tolerance for trial and error.  We hate failing, and we want to succeed immediately.  But, somewhat ironically, being left to figure something out on our own is often the very best way to learn it... a way that is solidly ingrained in us, that we will never forget.
God isn't going to do for us what we can do for ourselves.  Sometimes though, we underestimate ourselves and think that we can't do something, and that God is just being cruel leaving us to accomplish it on our own.  But, like the brother of Jared, we have to think, prepare, and ask... and often take a leap of faith.  The brother of Jared knew that God could light up those stones.  How did he know that?  Just pure faith.  He knew God could do miraculous things, and he got an idea about something where no appropriate technology existed, and he tried it.  God could have said go back to the drawing board, or given him more hints... but I think he was guided by the spirit as he thought and prepared, and so his first idea worked.  An idea that even today we think... wow, how is that possible?  But the brother of Jared had absolute confidence that God could do it. :)
Today, let's try to be patient when God asks us to figure things out.  Let's listen to the spirit, and let's think past our mental restrictions about technology and possibility.  Let's look at God the way we used to look up at our dads, back when we thought they were infallible and could do or fix anything for us.  Let's stop thinking that we can't overcome this or that, or that the world is stuck where it is, or that we might as well give up.  The possibilities are bigger than we imagine, and God knows all of it, every tiny part.  He *can* do anything, and he deserves our trust as he teaches us how to think, and imagine, and grow.  Let's trust that whatever he touches will shine forth in darkness, making all of our journeys more tolerable in the light.

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