The Winds That Blow

By Jenna L. Staley

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The Jaredites didn’t have a smooth-sailing voyage. But I realized fierce and steady winds were blowing them—and me—towards the goal all along.

Despite diligent efforts in my life and in my temple marriage, I now find myself a single mother raising three children in the gospel without a father and priesthood holder in our home. Sometimes the betrayal and hurt I feel are a tangible pain, as is the loneliness that often fills my heart. But a loving Heavenly Father has compensated for my emptiness and anguish with sweet assurances from the Holy Ghost. As I have pored over the scriptures searching for guidance, I have come to know my Savior, and He has blessed my mind with understanding and peace.

Recently I read Ether 6, where the Jaredite barges cross the sea to the promised land. Although I had read this account many times before, I noticed something this time that had never stood out to me, and I felt the Spirit whisper that it had application in my life.

I noticed that the Lord gave light to the Jaredites so “they might not cross the great waters in darkness” (Ether 6:3). I thought about the great waters I must cross and the lights Heavenly Father has given me that I may be spared darkness. Among them are access to Him through prayer, the Holy Ghost, the scriptures, priesthood blessings, my patriarchal blessing, and my testimony of the gospel.

I also noticed that the scriptures mention the preparation Jared and his family had to make before this great journey. I thought about how doing our part is essential before we can expect the Lord to do His. Then the record states that they “set forth … commending themselves unto the Lord their God”—an act of faith (Ether 6:4). They prepared themselves, they used the lights the Lord provided them, and then they set off on their journey, exercising faith.

The following verses, however, affected me the most: “The Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land” (Ether 6:5). As I read this, the word towards stood out to me. Although the Lord was carrying the Jaredites forth, I wondered whether they felt their progress or whether they were more aware of “a furious wind” and the “many times [they were] buried in the depths of the sea” (Ether 6:6). Were they able to feel the Lord’s guiding hand through the “mountain waves which broke upon them,” the “great and terrible tempests,” and “the fierceness of the wind”? (Ether 6:6). Verse 8 reads, “The wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land.” It wasn’t a smooth-sailing voyage for them, even though they were chosen of the Lord, even though they were filled with faith, even though the brother of Jared had seen the Lord face-to-face. But interestingly to me, the fierce and steady winds were blowing them towards their goal all along.

I was ashamed to think of the times I have focused on the storms instead of the momentum they bring. Without them, I’d just be floating aimlessly. I came to understand that while trials are a natural part of mortality, the Lord can use the winds and waves of adversity to guide us, like the Jaredites, towards our personal promised lands.

Illustrated by Steve Kropp

Show References

  • Jenna L. Staley is a member of the Show Low Fourth Ward, Show Low Arizona Stake.