There is a story in the Book of Mormon about a man named Jared and his brother and their families and friends. Everyone else around them was quite wicked, so the Lord commands them to leave and travel for a long time. Then they get to the sea and the Lord tells them to build boats...well barges. They were like really big, hollow, wooden footballs, basically. They had no way to steer, they just trusted the Lord to get them to the land He promised to take them to.
The Lord also commanded them to take lots of food, water and animals on these boats. Can you imagine? You are stuck in a totally enclosed wooden room, tossed all around by the waves? I'm sure I would throw up. Like I pretty much guarantee it. And all those animals, I bet they did too. At least for sure they pooped. I know what it is like to be in an enclosed space with a poopy toddler, I can imagine a ton of poopy cows, birds and people. Gross. So gross.
Most of the time, they couldn't go get a breath of fresh air. They couldn't go for a walk to their neighbor's house. They couldn't go to the grocery store. There was no local library to give them a reprieve from cabin fever. Talk about feeling trapped.
And yet, get this, they were happy! They were constantly praising the Lord, so grateful that He was taking care of them. That He loved them, saved them from the wicked people, gave them a way to escape and was taking them to an amazing land. They thanked Him for the little things.
"And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord." -Ether 6:9
For some reason it really hit me today, just how incredible these people were. I could be like that. I could. But I complain about the stupidest things. "Man, I really wish I could have a milkshake without gaining weight," and "I am so tired of picking up all these toys that so many people have been so kind to give us," and "I wish I didn't have to do the dishes yet again today, even though that means I have been blessed with food to eat, dishes to wash, running water, my own sink, a healthy body that can stand and wash them." Oh yeah, I could totally be like the people of Jared's time.
We read this story today as a family and I was shocked with the realization of how uneasy that journey must have been. It lasted for a whole YEAR, did I mention that? A year! And how good and gracious they were to God.
I think I have a lot more praising to do, and a lot less complaining. So I'm praying for help with that tonight.
Click HERE if you want to read the full chapter. Maybe it will hit you like it hit me. God is good...all the time.