Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - Ether 1

I do love the story of Jared, his brother and their people!

It is interesting to note that the Lord didn't just hand over all the answers. He didn't just snap his fingers and POOF they awoke in the promised land. To obtain the blessings the Lord did provide, it took work on their part.

First,both Jared and the brother of Jared worked at being men highly favored of the Lord. We can assume that meant they were aware of the gospel and was obedient to the commandments. WE can assume that Jared followed and trusted his priesthood leaders.  We can also assume that prayer was a part of their daily lives, since Jared knew the his brother would be able to inquire of the Lord and get an answer. The brother of Jared put in work to become that way.  Jared put in work to believe.

Next, when the brother of Jared wanted something, he didn't put for a half-hearted effort to mutter a prayer under his breath during his commute to work or something. No, he 'did cry unto the Lord.' He put forth great effort and emotion into every word.  Jared and the brother of Jared were willing to do and go where ever the Lord inspired and directed them to go.

Then, they didn't go the Lord just one time. Every time they had a new inquiry, the brother of Jared went back to the Lord and cried unto him with great faith. So much so that the Lord had compassion on him every time he prayed.

The answer the brother of Jared received was in the form of more work. Go and gather a bunch of animals and seeds and get all your family together. Then go all the way out of town to the valley up north.

The obtaining of blessings require effort on our part.  Faith without works is dead.

My most favorite part of the chapter is in verse 42. After the Lord gives the brother of Jared his list of to-dos, the Lord says, "And there will I meet thee, and I will go before thee...and I will bless thee and they seed..."

The Lord expects us to do our part. We need to work for our blessings. But, when we receive them, He doesn't just drop them down from heaven. No, He brings them to us. He meets us at the place where our obedience extends beyond our faith, and He leads the way.

How does that look in our day?

See, I'm really good at extrapolating doctrine and truths from what I read. Ir may seem easy for me to see the hand of the Lord and the purpose in all things. But, it's quite a bit harder when to apply them into my personal, everyday life.  sigh....

Lately, I have been feeling tired and lack the energy I need to take care of my many responsibilities and activities.  There are days that the expectations and responsibilities that are large and important-  are the ingredients for the Perfect Storm of ME feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. I just want to shut my blinds, eat some chocolate and make it all go away.

Nothing terrible is happening. But, it's the Gulliver's Travels effect. I feel like I am tied down by a million little strings of expectations, obligations, needs and responsibilities. And sometimes I just get tired.  You know... strings like lack of health... lack of motivation... teaching... children's choices... VT.... the suffering of others... laundry... gardens... family history... seminary study... personal study.... exercise... healthy food.... self control...

I have a lot of work to do in my life. But, the one thing I have been missing lately is putting the sincere effort to cry unto my Lord for mercy, strength and guidance. I've always struggled with prayer.  I'm just not good at it!  sigh... I know that if I can do this, He will have compassion on me and answer my plea. But, I need to put in the effort to do that.

I also know that the Lord will not take away all my burdens, but He will most likely ask more of me- more effort and time BUT in a different direction that I am headed now, and in doing some different things that I am doing now. The answer won't be to stop working because I'm tired. It's to work differently.

I'd like to think I will do whatever He asks. Even if it's hard, or doesn't make sense.

Remember... it's when my obedience surpasses my faith that He meets me. And I hope He does. I hope, when I pray, He'll say, Well, Wendy, I want you to read scriptures more, or focus on your visiting teaching route more or whatever He would have me do. Then I hope He'll say And when you're done with that, there I will meet thee, and I will go before thee...and there will I bless thee.

It all starts with me and the amount of effort and work I put into it.

Reading and learning from the scriptures is all well and good- but unless I apply what I learn in my life- then it really does me no good.   I better get to work.

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