It came to pass in Ether 2 that the Jaredites prepared to make their 344 day journey across the seas to the promised land. When designing the boats by which they would travel, the brother of Jared was very careful to build them “tight like unto a dish” (Ether 2:17). He wanted to make sure that no water would leak in and cause them to sink… a pretty reasonable priority, right?
Upon completing the construction of his dish-barges, the brother of Jared came across another problem. He cried unto the Lord, explaining to Him how hard he had worked to make sure that no water got in. However, he had no way to let air in so that he and his people could breathe on this journey.
I delight in God’s use of common sense and simplicity in verse 20. He patiently suggests, “Make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air.” I lament that there is no verse 20.5 which shows the certain embarrassment and “duh” moment of the brother of Jared before he made the adjustments.
The Lord continued to walk him through His Ingenuity, saying, “And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood.” Though it may seem like a simple solution now, I pardon the brother of Jared and seek to understand how this balance of air and water occurs in our lives today.
Consider the water, a situation which could so easily cause detrimental hurdles to the Jaredites’ journey. It was very smart and commendable that they worked so hard to keep the water out. But now consider the air, which is necessary for their survival. So, the prevention of water and absorption of air became the difficult equation that determined whether or not they live.
Water is the unfortunate companion of air.
May I suggest the equivalent of air in our own lives to be good things that we need, but things that come with the risk of allowing a little water in? We certainly need our families, but we cannot remove ourselves from them just because there’s a chance we lash out at them. It is good to go on dates, but unnecessary to totally refrain from doing so just because of the risk that temptation will creep in. Now, there are measures we can take to ensure the air quality of these activities and maintain flood control. But my purpose is to relay the message that we need air.
In whatever situation of yours comes to mind, use the revelatory formula of letting a little air in, putting the stop back in, letting some more air in, and on and on. Remember the Lord’s warning, though, that if so much water comes upon you that it begins to flood, you’ve got to put a stop to it (pun intended). And while it may seem overwhelming to be in a barge floating on this endless amount of water, remember that God is guiding your vessel (verse 24). Though the direction may seem aimless and the waves powerful, there is always a wind in your sails blowing you towards the promised land.
“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” (Ether 6:8).