Friday, October 8, 2010

Ether - Chapter 2

The last chapter explained that the Brother of Jared was "highly favored of the Lord."  Yet this chapter tells us that he went four long years without remembering to "call upon the name of the Lord."  Now, each of us reads the scriptures through the "urim and thummim" of their own experience; and that is what I'm doing here.  I may not be right for my interpreters are not quite the same as the set given to Joseph Smith.  Still, I will venture to share my interpretation.

I am quite doubtful that the Brother of Jared failed to pray for for years.  I'll bet he said his prayers.  I'll bet they had family prayer.  I'll even wager that they blessed the food before meals.  What I suspect the Brother of Jared failed to do was ask a simple question in his prayers.  Before I reveal the question, let me explain what I think must have been going though this prophet's head.

The Brother of Jared and his people had traveled in the wilderness on what appears to be a precarious, arduous, lengthy journey already.  When they got to the beach and found it a nice place to rest, they rested.  I don't suppose they thought they had reached the Promised Land.  Rather, I suppose they had a pretty good idea they had not; which meant that crossing the enormous, frightening, uncertain sea must be the next objective.  That prospect became "the elephant in the room" for them.  The couldn't imagine surmounting such an enormous challenge, so the settled in and ignored it.

We've all done it.  Haven't we?  Haven't there been things in our lives that need attending to; but which we find so scary that we just try to ignore them?  Addiction was like that for me.  I knew it had to be dealt with sometime but the prospect of that frightening task was just too big to face.  Eventually, it became too big to ignore as well.  Like the Jaredites, I had to come to a point where I was willing to call upon the Lord and as the next question.  President Ezra Taft Benson called it a most important question when citing Paul on the road to Damascus when he asked, "Lord, what you Thou have me to do?"

I believe that is the cry the Brother of Jared failed to render to the Lord.  Why?  Because he was afraid of the answer.  If our prayers are spent directing God around the heavens and the universe they are far less effective than if they are spent asking Him what he'd have us do.  If we have elephants in the room of our lives and we fail to seek God's guidance regarding them, out of fear, we will miss out on the Promised Land just as surely as might the Jaredites have.

When I finally addressed my elephant, the Lord gave me scary instructions as well.  It took some courage and a great deal of trust, but the Lord provided a way for me to accomplish the tasks he set before me and the result was deliverance from addiction.  Always before that, I had asked Him to deliver me, but I had never asked what He'd have me do to reach that goal.  What would I have gained or learn had he just handed me my desire on a silver platter?  Nothing.

Now don't suppose that I take any credit unto myself.  God did the delivering.  But He did expect me to be willing to be delivered.  He expected me to go forth into this new life and stop languishing on the beach of fear.

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