22 And he cried again unto the Lord saying: O Lord, behold I have done even as thou hast commanded me; and I have prepared the vessels for my people, and behold there is no light in them. Behold, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that we shall cross this great water in darkness?
23 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? For behold, ye cannot have windows, for they will be dashed in pieces; neither shall ye take fire with you, for ye shall not go by the light of fire.
24 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; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth.
25 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?
(Book of Mormon | Ether 2:22 - 25)
I love these verses. The brother of Jared already knows that there is a potential design flaw in the boats, i.e. they have no light in them. However, those concerns did not stop him from building the boat as he was commanded. He left open the possibility that the Lord would in fact have them cross the ocean in darkness. Obviously, he didn’t want to, but regardless of what he wanted, he was going to do what the Lord wanted. That’s faith. The kind of faith that moves mountains, or prepares a person to draw closer to the Lord.
I also like the Lord’s part of this exchange. He knew what was needed. He knew it before He told the brother of Jared to build the boats. However, He is teaching the brother of Jared line upon line, precept upon precept. He is only giving the brother of Jared the info that he will need right then. This allows the brother of Jared to grow in faith as he accomplishes the tasks that the Lord has assigned him. Even at the end of these verses, the Lord doesn’t give the brother of Jared the answer. He asks a question, which causes the brother of Jared to ponder the matter in his mind to find the correct answer.
Most people would’ve looked at the design of the boat and before even starting on the construction, would’ve complained about the lack of light. They would’ve required a solution to that problem before they spent the time and energy to build it.
In contrast, the brother of Jared did what he was commanded and trusted that the Lord would provide if he followed the Lord’s instructions completely. How often are we unwilling to follow the promptings of the Spirit because it just doesn’t make sense?
There have been times in my life when I didn’t understand the promptings of the Lord. I was consulting for a small company once. I was filling the role of a financial controller for them. I found some things that they were doing that were illegal in regards to their taxes. They weren’t doing it maliciously, but what they were doing was definitely wrong. I explained to them what they were doing, why it was wrong, and the liabilities they were exposed to by doing what they were doing.
They initially followed my counsel on the matter. However, doing so took money out of the pockets of their managers, who didn’t like it. Long story short, they decided that they couldn’t take the money away from their managers, and I wouldn’t sign a tax form that I knew to be in error. I was let go.
In a panic, I started looking for another job so I could pay my mortgage, etc. Within a day, I had interviewed for another consulting position and was asked if I could start the following Monday. This is all good.
My new assignment was in a different state. The following Monday I was on a plane heading for New Mexico. My new client was a resort and casino. They catered to every legal vice you could think of.
It seemed odd that the Lord would bring me there. The first weekend I spent there I was on my knees Sunday morning asking the Lord if I could go home. I told Him that I was willing to exercise my faith and walk away from this job. You see, I was trying to exercise my faith. However, I was asking to do it on my terms.
I went to church that day at a very small branch. They were glad to see me as I brought their attendance into double figures, i.e. there was nine people there until I showed up. Anyway, the Branch President was having a little “come to Jesus” discussion talk with them for sacrament. The branch had dropped the ball on a welfare assignment the day before, and the Branch President wasn’t thrilled.
He spent about forty five minutes telling them that they had a sacred obligation to work. He quoted General Authority after General Authority discussing our work ethic, our responsibility to provide for our families, how we would be held accountable if we didn’t. Mid way through his sermon I quietly told the Lord, “I got the message. You want me here. Please help me to understand why.”
Subsequently, I had several very spiritual experiences. I was able to give out two copies of the Book of Mormon to people I worked with. I was able to share messages of the gospel in a place where the church was very small. It was a great experience and increased my testimony greatly.
What experiences have you had like this? A time where you did what you felt you were prompted to do, even though at the time it seemed wrong? What blessings followed?