Sunday, December 21, 2008

Singing Praises

My girls and I have a goal to finish reading the Book of Mormon together by the end of the year. In our Sunday School class at church we spend a year studying one of four books. This year it is The Book of Mormon. Last year it was the New Testament. Before that it was the Old Testament. Next year we study our church's history and revelations given in more modern times recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants. This goes in a rotation. As a family we try to read along.

So last week in our reading towards the end of the Book of Mormon we read one of my favorite stories. It was a wonderful experience to read this story with my girls and be able to apply it to our lives with them. 

The story tells of a man named Jared and his brother who lived at the time of the tower of Babel. These are righteous men and Jared's brother is a man a great faith. He prays and the Lord makes it so that he and his brother can understand each other still. The Lord then leads them away on a journey to a choice land.

I think it is interesting how many times people in scriptures must make long journeys. These journeys become analogies for our lives and the journey we make through mortality to our own "promised land" in the life beyond.

When these brothers and their families come to the great waters to cross, they are instructed to make boats and are helped in knowing how to make them. The Lord provides all their needs to safely make this journey and even gives them a bit of light in the form of divinely illuminated stones to take with them in these vessels designed to travel both above and under the water. 

But my favorite part of the story is told in the few verses that tell of this people's journey. The story reads as follows:

Ether Chapter 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.
  5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.
  6 And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.
  7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.
  8 And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.
  9 And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.
  10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.
  11 And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water.
  12 And they did land upon the shore of the promised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them.

I explained to my little girls that we must be like these people as we journey through hard times here in life. It must have been hard for them rocking in the storms of the sea and being tossed about by the furious winds. But it was those very winds that were taking them to their promised land. The winds were crucial to their arrival at that distant shore. 

Many of our trials in life, are like those winds that are given to help push us closer to our Savior. Sometimes these trials bury us deep in sorrow and feel as if they will completely suffocate us in grief or sadness. But if we will cry unto the Lord in faith in these times, the Lord will bring us up for air by and by. 

I LOVE in this account that these travelers weathered their storm by singing praises to the Lord all day long and all through the night. I want to be like these faith filled travelers. I strive to find the joy and happiness to sing such praises. I want my girls to realize the blessings in our trials and know from whence such merciful blessings come.

I am finding my singing voice once more. I think Christmas has helped me in that respect. There is so much joy in the birth of the Savior. I am happy to be able to sing the carols that celebrate His birth. I wonder at how I will feel giving birth to a son of my own in the coming months. I know that these are but a few of the many tender mercies the Lord has blessed me with in this storm. I look forward to that day when I will be able to kneel at the feet of my Savior and bath His feet in tears of gratitude for all the incredible gifts He has given to me.

May we all enjoy singing the praises to the Savior in this most joyous season of His birth.