So this email may be another lesson on "enduring to the end" but I promise that there is something in here for you... Even if you just read part of it!
Elyssa Lynn...My dear sweet sister and Meggan Marie my true friend,
Today my weekly e-mail is for you. I have no idea what you are going through right now or if either of you are even having a hard time at the current moment but here you go. I felt today in my studies that this was for you. Sorry it is a few eternities long... I'm just following the spirit here!
I would like to speak about trials. My trials are different than yours but perhaps they are similar enough that you may also find solace in what I have learned from this account.
My thoughts today will be coming from Ether ch. 1,2, & 6 (feel free to follow along)
In Ether 1 the languages are confounded at the Tower of Babel and Jared and his family are able to have their language restored because they pray in faith. God sees their faith and has prepared a "land of promise" for them.
-they decide that they will obey and be faithful to the Lord so that they may reach the "land of promise"
What is your "land of promise"? What hidden treasures has God prepared for you? Sometimes we can have smaller lands of promise or small inheritances along the way but what is your vision? what do you want? What is your final goal? That and many more marvelous things make up the land of promise that God has prepared for you. Okay? Here we go!
- God sees their faith and obedience and tells them to prepare many things and then says something so wonderful "go ahead... And There will I meet thee, and I will go before thee into a land which is choice above all other lands of the earth." God will meet us there. He will go before us and prepare our way so that we won't be lost. I love that! "Go forth Elyssa and Meggan, I'll meet you there". God really will meet us where we are and guide us along... We may not be able to see him, he may be in a cloud but He is always there.
2:2- FUN FACT: did you know that Ether had a fish tank that he took with him on the boats... Yepp! Check it out!
2:5- The lord takes them to a place where people had never been before....EVER! I'm sure that was scary and unknown and it was hard for them, right? It has been hard for me to do that here in Mesa. But God gives all of us directions to travel by.
2:6-7- He commands them to build barges and cross many waters... What? They had to build more boats and cross more waters before they before they reached the promised land? YES! Why would God do this... Because He was testing them and preparing them and trying their faith.... And most importantly... "the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but He would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people." He had so much more in store for them... If they would only press forward through the smaller waves and across the smaller waters they would be prepared for the biggest challenge, the ocean, and be able to reach the promised land. That is true for you... You will go through many smaller trials and hardships but they will prepare you for all that God has planned for you in your life.
2:13-15- they finally reach the shore of the ocean and wait there for 4 YEARS... Yepp they have come all this way just to wait for 4 YEARS. Do you ever feel like you have come this far to wait... Well the brother of Jared did too! And then in his waiting he forgot to pray to the Lord and got a little lazy so the Lord chastened him for 3 hours about not praying and then tells him to "Go to work"... Moral of the story: even when God makes you wait, don't forget to pray. Don't get lax on those things that seem so simple because they are absolutely necessary to be able to reach our promised land. Get going and work and Hod will take care of everything else in His timing.
- So they have 2 problems as they prepare to cross the great ocean
1. No air
2. No light
- God solves the first problem and tells him how to get air and shows the brother of Jared how to solve problems. I love how e Lord sets an example for him to follow and then says "now you fix the next problem"...by saying "What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?" God asks the brother of Jared what HE would do in this case... He lets us take control and choose for ourselves. As a loving father he also gives Him guidelines and helps him not get too far down the wrong pat by telling him what won't work. He says "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." I probably would have gone with windows or fire as my first choice and Hod knew that Jared would too so He warned him before hand that hose things wouldn't work. How loving! I feel like mom and dad have done that with us... They'll say "you can choose this from that... But remember the consequences if you choose that... It might not be the best idea" I love my parents!
- then, the most loving scripture about whales I have ever read.
"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."
I feel like a whale in the midst of the sea sometimes... Tossed about by the waves and finding no escape... But God tells us here that He will bring us out of the deep waters. He is the one who sends for the the winds and the waves (winds and waves=trials) right? He gives us these trials for a purpose. He set us in deep waters for a divine purpose which purpose sometimes we know not.
- and then we learn why he gives us winds and mountain waves.
"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."
He gives us waves to prepare us for things to come...we cannot cross the great deep unless he prepares us. We need the light (light=scriptures and words of living prophets) to prepare us for the waves that may be scary. Then once we leave the shore the waves prepare us for the later trials that will come even after we reach the promised land. Hopefully that makes sense... As I was reading I just had this overwhelming feeling that I cannot reach my promised land without the preparation that my trials will give me. I simply cannot get there without them. (D&C 58:6)
This reminds me of Dad's TSP quote yesterday:
"What will it matter…what we suffered here if, in the end, those trials are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation in the kingdom of God with our Father and Savior?” — Linda S. Reeves
D&C 127:2 perhaps you were meant to swim in deep water my dear. Read this scripture and tell me your thoughts. I promise that blessings follow the trials. Sometimes it seems that they will never come but they will. I'm sure of it.
--I'll skip ahead to get to the best part--
6:4- "and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God." They set themselves forth into the sea without a way to steer trusting that God would deliver them. They gave everything. They commended their lives to God and got both feet into the barge and closed the door. They didn't hold a rope tied to the shore so they could return in case things got scary. NO SIREE. Thus set forth and knew that God had prepared them and would deliver them.
6:5,8- sure enough it wasn't an easy journey. There were "furious winds" that did never cease to blow and they were tossed upon the sea...but one very winds were the only things that pushed them where they needed to go. Without the wind they would be like driftwood in an eternity of water going nowhere.
That is not Gods plan for us. There is a purpose. There is a plan. There is a way.
Why were the winds so furious... Perhaps because the Lord wanted to get them to the promised land as quickly as possible. The slower the winds the longer the trip. That is why the winds never cease. Do you feel like the winds are never ceasing to blow in your life? Well that means that God wants to bless you. He is just pushing you as quickly as he can to more blessings and to a refuge from the storms. He wants you to reach your promised land.
6:6,7,10- in verse 6 things seem pretty scary and grim but the Lord will always bring them up out of the depths upon the top of the waters. Nothing could hurt them... Not a monster or a whale or a wave... Nothing...not above or beneath the water. Take courage my loves... Nothing can hurt you as you follow God's commandments for you! NOTHING! We have light with us always in our ships (light = scriptures and modern revelation through prophets and such). Use it. It will never fail you! NEVER!
- three hundred and forty-four days-- 344 ...... days! WOW!
Will our hardest but most qualifying trials last 344 days... YES, sometimes they will last an entire lifetime. I know that for a fact. Some things may not change or be taken away. That is for a purpose. How we handle our trials will be the very thing that determines our faithfulness to God. Hold on tight and fear not. Our trials will seem as a small moment at the end of our lives when we have given all we could give to the Lord.
D&C 58:27-29, 31 a suggestion for where to start after reading this... If you actually made it this far ;)
Solve your problems using your own knowledge by the spirit, ask God to help you with your solutions (like with the brother of Jared finding a solution for havi no light in the boats and asking God to touch the stones) and go about doing good. Work. do many good things of your own free will. ( a few months ago I started reading the D&C because I just wanted to and thought it would be cool ... Not because God commanded me to... But it was a good thing and it ended up answering my prayers today... Just because I decided of my own free will to do something good.)
Will you do that?
V. 33 some doubt and see no Immediate answers so they believe that God's promises are not fulfilled... But they always are.
And as my final thought: D&C 58:2-4
You can't even see with your mortal eyes the glorious and wonderful things that God has prepared for you if you are faithful.
You have no clue... They are so great that...You. Can't. Even. See. Them.
The time is not yet for those blessings but is nigh at hand...So press forward my friends. Keep going. After the trials come the blessings and I know that is true! They will come. Will you be faithful enough to be there when God is ready to give them to you?
God is real.
He is quick to forgive.
He is merciful.
He is quick to love.
He loves YOU!
I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.
And as for the pics:
When sister Duiai does my hair...
& dance parties with Lilly