Do you have questions about how to accomplish the things God has asked you to do? Are you worried about becoming the person He needs you to be? Then you share many characteristics with the Brother of Jared from the Book of Mormon.
When Jared and his family were living near the Tower of Babel, communicating with God was a spiritual strength of the Brother of Jared. He prayed on behalf of his family and friends many times, which led to God telling him to lead those loved ones through the wilderness and to the Promised Land.
But when the Jaredites made it to the ocean, they stayed there for four years. At that point, God had to chasten the Brother of Jared big time because he had forgotten to pray. The Brother of Jared had let his strength become his weakness. Sometimes we do the same thing—we feel so confident and comfortable that we neglect the very things that helped us get to that point. We fall away from who we should be.
Luckily—no, blessedly—God tends to give us experiences that will shape us into the person He wants us to become. He did it with the Brother of Jared. How? By giving him a very important and complicated task—so complicated that the Brother of Jared had to ask God a lot of tough questions through prayer.
This concept is a helpful one to remember when life gets hard. The next time have a trial, ask yourself: “Which quality is God trying to help me develop?” Give it some thought, and then ask God Himself. Maybe He wants to strengthen a weakness you’ve asked for help with, or perhaps there’s an even better gift He wants you to gain.
The Brother of Jared’s experiences with prayer also teach us a lot about questions. After working for a long time on the barges, the Brother of Jared asked the Lord three things: how to steer, how to breathe, and how to see. Each of these questions got very different answers.
God knew that the Jaredites couldn’t do anything to help steer the barges. He basically told the Brother of Jared, “Don’t worry about that—I’ll take care of it.” When circumstances arise in our lives that we have no control over, sometimes we just have to ask God for help and have faith that He will work things out.
The breathing issue was a little different. God gave the Brother of Jared step-by-step instructions for how to fix this problem, and the Brother of Jared followed them. Sometimes we will need specific direction only God can give before we complete a task. If we ask for that direction, listen to God’s answer, and obey Him, we will be successful.
But the question of light? That one was hardest of all for the Brother of Jared because God’s answer was another question: “What do you want me to do to fix this?” Sometimes we get responses like this or even no responses at all to our questions. That may feel discouraging, but it shouldn’t. It means that God trusts our abilities to solve our own problems.
The Brother of Jared left a shining (in more ways than one) example for how to handle these situations. He thought, he worked, and brought his idea to God in prayer, telling God what he had learned and that he knew God could help him. His faith was strong and his preparation complete. Because of this, God touched the Brother of Jared’s sixteen stones, taught him new truths, and even let the Brother of Jared see Him.
We may not see the Lord’s body in our mortal lifetimes. But if we communicate with Him, work to overcome our weaknesses, and believe in him as the Brother of Jared did, we will see the Lord’s influence. He will touch our lives as surely as He touched those sixteen stones.
|What the Brother of Jared Did||What We Can Do|
|Repented of forgetting to pray (Ether 2:15)||Pray daily and repent of our sins|
|Went to work building the barges (2:16)||Work hard and keep the commandments|
|Brought questions to the Lord (2:19, 22)||Ask God questions when we have them|
|Reported to the Lord what he had learned (3:2)||Tell Heavenly Father what we are learning|
|Found and brought a solution to the Lord (3:1, 4)||Study our problems and help God solve them|
|Believed God could show him all things (3:26)||Have faith that God will answer our prayers|