Monday, April 17, 2017

I Prepare You

This week in our Book of Mormon class we covered the history of the prophet Ether and his posterity back to the confounding of the languages at the Tower of Babel.  The beginning of the story contained in the Book of Ether focuses on two brothers: Jared and the Brother of Jared - who through modern revelation we know as Mahonri Moriancumer.  The two brothers were the leaders, physical and spiritual respectively, for their kin. 

After the confounding of the languages the Lord led the Jaredites to the Promised Land, much like the family of Lehi.  And also like the Lehites the people of Jared had to cross a great body of water in order to reach their land of inheritance.  To accomplish this they build barges that were 'exceedingly tight'.  But the trip across the vast waters, and the barges they would travel in, presented some interesting problems such as lack of air, darkness, and no way to steer. 

In going to the Lord, Mahonri received guidance on how to solve one of the problems, and the answer to not worry about another.  Mahonri would have to use his abilities, along with faith in Christ, to accomplish the third.  But the Lord's answer to this Brother of Jared I find to be a great parallel to our lives.  In Ether 2:25 the Lord tells the Brother of Jared that:
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.
The Lord knew of the physical trials and hardships that were awaiting the Jaredites upon the waters.  He knew of the cold waters, the fierce waves, and the terrible tempests that would pummel the ship throughout the 344 day voyage.  Much in a similar way, we as children of God are on a perilous voyage through mortality and the Lord knows fully well of the dangers that we are surrounded by.  And the Lord, in his infinite love, tries to prepare us and guide us so as we can cross these mortal waters safely and reach our Promised Land.  Much like the Jaredites couldn't skip the sea-crossing experience to reach the Promised Land, we can't skip mortality if we want to become more like our Heavenly Father.  Amid the storms of life we must remember that the Lord will prepare us against these things, and we must heed his guidance.  If we do we have the Lord's promise that if we are faithful "[The Lord] will bring [us] up again out of the depths of the sea".

Monday, April 10, 2017

Making Time or Finding Time

This week in our Book of Mormon class we covered some very sacred moments recorded in scripture.  We've spent a great deal of time in our reading of the Book of Mormon hearing prophesies about the coming of Christ, but now we've reached the moment we've been waiting for: Christ's ministry to the descendants of Lehi in the America's. 

Many moments in this narrative are unique and powerful, but one of the greatest subtle teaching from Christ emphasizes the importance of finding time to do good and making time to do good.  The scriptures that highlight this principle come from 3 Nephi 17:4-9 which reads:

But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them.
And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them.
And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you.
Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.
For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.
And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him.
Following his miraculous resurrection, Christ was doubtless very busy.  He had Apostles in the land of Palestine to continue to teach, the children of Lehi to visit, and unrecorded visits to the lost tribes of Israel to accomplish.  I'm certain that Christ knows fully well what having a busy schedule is like.  But here we see that amidst all that Christ has to do, he pauses when he notices the longing in their eyes.  They wanted to spend time with Him, the one they all knew of; but only now truly came to know.

Seeing their need Christ healed their sick, but in the following verses also blessed their children and administered the sacrament to them.  Christ took a great deal of time with the people.  He didn't rush them, but let them come to him individually if they needed healing.  He gave freely of his time as an example for us.  But Christ showed us that sometimes we have other things we need to do, but on the scales of importance can be outweighed by the need to do good for those around us.  Christ made time to do good, he didn't go about his life hoping that he would find time to do good.  If we don't make the time to do heavenly things, then surely earthly things will fill all of our time.