I invite you to take a few moments to ponder what the wind means to you.
I have always hated the wind. To me it is something that has been a burden, an annoyance, a barrier to happiness, something that affects my mood and activity. I’m talking of the kind of wind that breaks branches off trees, shingles off roofs, and crushes my very spirit. This is the wind that visits—regularly—where I live in southern Alberta. It has always represented a bad thing, a thing to drive me crazy.
Then, when the wind finally stops, instead of fully enjoying the stillness, I am uneasy and unsettled by the absolute and inevitable certainty of the wind returning again and again. Over time, it begins to dull my capability of enjoying the blessings of everyday life. Who ever knew wind could make this big of an impact on a life?
Jaredites Were Guided by God’s Wind
Wind, however, took on a new meaning when I read the story of the Jaredites crossing the waters to come to the promised land. The winds they experienced, compared to the wind I described, were surprisingly similar. Yet their perspective of wind was different, “the wind did never cease to blow toward the promised land while they were upon the waters” (Ether 6:8).
The wind did not stop for 344 days: that is a long time to be tossed around in a boat by the wind. To the brother of Jared and his family, though, such relentless wind is what saved them. It helped them become closer to God. It helped them be more grateful, humbler, and more Christlike, for they “did sing praises unto the Lord; … and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord” (Ether 6:9). They were prepared to endure all trials having faith that “no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them” (Ether 6:10).
God Will Guide Us Today
I cannot imagine what being tossed around by the wind on that ocean inside those barges was like, but I do know that facing the wind in Alberta is probably similar. Their faith also inspires me. As one of the “Ideas for Personal Scripture Study” in the November 16-22, 2020 Ether 6-11 Come, Follow Me lesson explains, “The Lord will lead me toward my promised land.”
For me, surviving a marriage that ended in divorce has been my barge on the windswept water. Each day I prayed and cried to my Heavenly Father for strength as the winds of trial and adversity tossed me around—but His light, like those stones in the Jaredite barges, was always shining and surrounding me with hope.
I was able to withstand the blows and jolts from the power of Satan. I had prepared myself like the brother of Jared. He had built vessels that were “tight like unto a dish” (Ether 6:7). I had built a strong foundation of truth by reading my scriptures, praying, giving service, attending my meetings, and worshipping in the temple.
The Jaredites had also filled the barges with all of the animals and provisions that they would need. With the Lord’s assistance, the brother of Jared had figured out a way to have light while in them. I was surrounded by family, friends, and teachers. They taught by their examples, and they patiently guided me “line upon line” to prove my faith in Christ (Doctrine and Covenants 98:12). I received daily spiritual nourishment that fed and strengthened me.
I was able to see “the light” from the temple (which I literally saw everyday) and feel of the peace that radiated from it. I knew that God was real and that He loved me. I had prepared myself for my life experiences like the Jaredites. When they reached the shore of the promised land, “they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land … and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them” (Ether 6:12). Their joy, I imagine, was magnificent because that is how I felt at the end of my journey to rebuild my life.
Face Challenges with Faith
I now understand that the wind is what moves us along: it is what teaches us gratitude, patience, long-suffering, and love. No matter what we do, the winds of life will blow us, toss us, challenge us, and at times confuse us. We cannot stop the wind, but we can—with our moral agency—choose to pray that the Lord will guide and protect us. If we work and prepare as the Jaredites did and put our faith and trust in God, what joy awaits us on the shores of the promised land that He will prepare for each one of us. What was once viewed as a burden can ultimately lead us to our greatest joy.
Just allow the Lord’s wind to blow.