When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tight like a dish

We had a really good talk in sacrament meeting today, given by the bishop's wife.  She reminded me of one of my favorite Book of Mormon stories.

It can be found in the book of Ether and is the story of the Jaredites:
Ether 2:17 And they were built after a manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish.

How does the Lord communicate something important to his children?  I think He uses repetition to get the point across.  Now, if there was one thing the Lord wanted to get across to us in this scripture, it is that the barges were built to be "tight like unto a dish".  He repeats that a total of four times in just this one verse.  If we go just a little further in Ether, we begin to see why they were built that way.

Ether 2:24- 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.

Ether 6:5-9-
     And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, toward the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.

     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.

     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.

     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.

The Jaredites were literally buried into the sea.  What would have happened to them if their boats would not have been "tight like unto a dish".  What if there was a crack in the seam of the lumber?  What if there were holes?  How about windows?  Those boats could not have any weakness for the water to get inside.

There is an old poem that I love:
"All the water in the world
however hard it tries,
can never sink the smallest ship
unless it gets inside.
All the evil in the world,
the blackest kind of sin,
can never hurt you one least bit,
unless you let it in".

As long as the Jaredites did not let the water into their barges, they would be safe and make it to the promised land.  Heavenly Father gave them instructions and they followed His counsel and teachings.  The Lord did not stop the wind and the waves from crashing over them and driving their little boats into the deep.  He had them make those boats "tight like unto a dish", so that they could withstand the wind and the waves.
How tight is your boat?  Is it "tight like unto a dish"?  All of us are asked to go through the winds and waves of trials and tribulations.  If our boats aren't tight, or our testimonies aren't strong, we will never be able to withstand the buffetings of Satan in our lives.  We will never make it to the shore of our Father's house.
A friend of mine has a brother-in-law who had chest pains for several weeks before he would finally go to the doctor.  When they tested him, the medical staff at the hospital was amazed that he was alive and gave him only hours to live.  He had waited too long to go and get medical help.  He had a heart attack and it had done damage to three-fourths of his heart.  Actually, most of his heart was dead and there was no way for it to be fixed.
The doctors did their best, the family was called together, they prayed and fasted.  The only hope for him was a transplant.  This good brother progressively got better and stronger until he was able to leave the hospital and went to my friend's home to live with his sister.  He was not able to live alone, but he did not have to live in the hospital.  His sister took care of him.
He was able to get up and move around, contrary to everything that the doctors had told him he would be able to do.  He started looking at the things that were most important in his life.  He made decisions that changed the course of his life.  He started attending the temple several times a week, he put his affairs in order, he made amends to family members.
He was able to change what he did with his life and finish up what the Lord had needed him to do.  He made his testimony "tight like unto a dish".  Two weeks ago, coming out of the Temple, he suffered a massive heart attack and died.  But because of the changes that he had made, and the extra blessing of having that time, he had strengthened his testimony and prepared himself to move on in his journey.

D&C 88:63 " Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you, seek me diligently and ye shall find me".

Heavenly Father has not left us alone in our journey here.  He has given us prophets and leaders to guide our way.  He has given us the scriptures to light our path. We need more than ever to draw near to our Heavenly Father.  As we seek Him more diligently, we will find Him.  We will see that the Lord never abandons us.  We will find the strength to survive the winds and rains and trials of life.  Your testimonies will truly be, "tight like unto a dish". 

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