(The mountain waves from Interstellar.)
Life hurts. It’s confusing. Even when we’re aware of God and his general plan for us, it can be a struggle coming to grips with the gritty day-by-day emotional and spiritual obstacle course. Our trials often seem to have no end, or no end that we can see.
But I believe that when it comes down to it, when we arrive at the end, when we finally face our Heavenly Father, we’ll be grateful for every ounce of pain that ever marred us. Why? Because we’ll realize that the only way to that glorious end was through those terrible storms.
The Jaredites, in going forth on the great waters to the promised land, “commend[ed] themselves unto the Lord their God.” As they set sail, the Lord sent a “furious wind,” a storm that “tossed [them] upon the waves of the sea,” that “buried [them] in the depths of the sea” in the midst of “great and terrible tempests.” That storm, in fact, “did never cease,” for the entire 344 days they were on the water.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? In both our personal lives and the great melodrama our nation is in the midst of now, the anxiety and agitation feel like they will never end.
But in the conclusion of this passage in Ether we gain a wonderful insight: just as the wind never ceased, neither did it cease “to blow towards the promised land,” and despite the crashing “mountain waves which broke upon them,” they were protected by being buried so deep in the water. And when “they did cry unto the Lord…he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters” (Ether 6:4-8).
What a profound lesson! The storms of life carried them forward, acted as a constant force pushing them on toward the great blessing at the end of their journey. For most of the time, they probably had absolutely no idea how far they were in their voyage, or how long it would be until they reached their destination. But they went anyway, and arrived at their salvation, entered into their promised land.
Like the storm that drove the Jaredites, trials are often the vehicles for unexpected blessings, for insights, for soul-growing moments we could not have received otherwise. Only through the Fall can we truly arise.
“Is there no other way?” we ask the Lord.
“There is no other way,” He replies.