Tuesday, March 22, 2016

As a Whale in the Sea

A painting by Robert T. Barrett depicting the brother of Jared lying on his side and shielding himself from the light illuminating from the stones and the Lord’s finger.
Brother of Jared seeing the hand of the Lord
 This week I am reading in the book of Ether in the Book of Mormon.  As I read into the second chapter something stood out to me.  This man called "the brother of Jared" is praying so much to the Lord about all that they should do during this uncertain time of change during the time of the tower of Babel.  This brother has built boats as he was commanded so that they can cross the ocean; however the boats are completely sealed and they have no light inside.  When this man prays, the Lord asks what he (the man) thinks should be done.

Then I came across this verse:

For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea.
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.
Ether 2:24-25 

 My mind and heart were struck when I realized how much this is like life.  Life is often like the ocean, some days are calm and beautiful and others are raging and dangerous.  Yet, the Lord has promised us that He will "bring [us] up again out of the depths."  He has also said that He has "prepared [us] against these things.  I felt the Spirit teach me that I have been prepared, and that if I have faith and turn to the Lord, I can make it through the trials of life.

Elder Wirthlin quote President Faust:

President James E. Faust explained that “into every life there come the painful, despairing days of adversity and buffeting. There seems to be a full measure of anguish, sorrow, and often heartbreak for everyone, including those who earnestly seek to do right and be faithful.”  And then the suggestion that the adversity we experience allows our souls to become like clay in the hands of the Master. “Trials and adversity,” President Faust taught, “can be preparatory to becoming born anew.”
-Finding a Safe Harbor

 He also teaches that a butterfly gains its strength to fly as it struggles to free itself from its chrysalis.  He teaches us that these trials we pass through help us in obtaining our divine potential.  So in thinking about this analogy to the brother of Jared and his family being in these boats that are tossed about on the see, we may be tossed about in the sea of life.  We may be buried in the depths like a whale.  Yet, as we trust in the Lord, He will bring us out on top.  He will help us have the means to conquer the storms of life.

I know that this is true as I have felt it through out many of my own trials in life.  That isn't to everything is smooth sailing for me, just that I know that God is watching over me and helping me a long.  He is guiding my life just as he guided the ships of the brother of Jared.  As I continue to turn to the Lord, I too will find the "land of promise" and live with God again.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Hearts Turning

When I was a child I saw and listened to my grandmother tell stories about my ancestors and their lives.  She would share relatives she had discovered in her searching.  I love learning about these long ago family members and realizing that they lived, struggled, and endured.  What has given me courage through my own struggles is to remember them and how they were able to press forward through their trials and find peace and joy.

Grandma often told me stories about my Grandpa and his mission in England.

I was reading in 3 Nephi 25 and came across one of my favorite verses, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."  (verses 5 and 6)  This can also be found in Malachi 4:5-6.  Christ shared these words with the Nephites since they didn't have the teachings of Malachi.

Why was it so important for the Lord to share these prophecies with the Nephites?  Because the power that comes to all of us when we are sealed to our families from generation to generation is so important in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  When I was little, people doing family history was something it seemed only the grandparents were doing.  How amazing to see that the hearts of the children are turning more and more to their fathers as the age of family history searchers become younger and younger.
A father, mother, and three children from Argentina gather around a laptop sitting on a table as they work on family history together.

We don't have to go to a family history library, or even travel the world to find our ancestors.  There is so much we can find right at our fingertips, through the computer.  I am so thankful for Family Search where I can look up and find more of my ancestors.  The more I know about them, the more they feel like friends that are waiting for us on the other side of the veil.
An image of a girl standing by people in historical clothing, combined with the words “Discover Them, Discover You.”

As I find the names of my family that are now passed, I can do a vicarious work for them in the temple so that they may have those ordinances which are necessary for their salvation.  When we get to Heaven I hope to see all my family there with me; not one empty chair.  I am thankful for all my family.  There is great peace and power that flows from the temple.  Here is a song that captures a lot of how I feel about the temple:


Each temple is a bit of Heaven here on earth where we can feel God's love for us and leave the cares of the world behind for a moment in time.  We can gain an eternal perspective that can strengthen us through our trials.  As we leave the temple we take a bit of that power with us to go forward with the tasks of life.

I know the temple is the "House of the Lord" because the Spirit touched my heart and I know it is a holy place.

 The front spire of the Rexburg Idaho Temple, with the angel Moroni on top.