Today we discussed truths and principles from Ether, ranging from the end of Ether 2 to most of Ether 3.
I started off by sharing two articles from the newspaper. One was a picture of a truck that had crashed into five cars and then a shop. A car had swerved into the path of the truck driver and as a result, the truck driver had tried to avoid a collision. Instead, a very serious one evolved. Summary: sometimes we are faced with problems we normally would not have created.
I showed them a second story from the newspaper, about gambling. Summary: sometimes we have problems that we personally have created due to no-one’s responsibility but our own, such as if we’ve become prey to a gambling habit.
What do we do with our problems? How do we choose to solve them? For example, each of these scenarious described in the newspaper were serious ones and hard ones to deal with – and need to be dealt with.
I wrote “3 Problems” on the board. The students watched me write that, then I turned and asked them to think of three problems they were currently facing. I told them not to share those problems out loud, because I really wanted them to be serious about this – and perhaps some of the problems were serious ones.
Then I asked them to help me list what an average teen might be facing. The kids called out things like drugs, peer pressure, needing to repent, physical relationship problems, etc. I agreed that these were all serious problems needing solutions.
I asked the class to look in Ether 2:18-19 to see what three problems the brother of Jared had and to see if they were serious ones or not. But before they did that, I reminded the students that it had been a wonderful moment for the brother of Jared and Jared to receive three “yes’s” to their previous petitions (i.e. not having their speech scrambled, not having the language of their friends scrambled, and receiving the promise of a chosen land).
Oftentimes the Lord will respond in the affirmative to our requests. But that does not mean we are done. In fact, usually the process is not done, the journey is not complete. Not yet, at least. That’s where our growth begins, as we work to bring about those confirmed blessings!
For example, now that the Jaredites had their promises, they also had some new challenges or problems to resolve to reach their promised blessings.
The students were to look at the end of chapter 2 to find what Jared and his brother’s dilemas were. The students of course found:
- No light in the boats Jared’s people had built (that kind of technology did not exist yet),
- No steering capabilities, and
- No air.
Pretty serious issues for a group of people ready to journey across the ocean in these boats! I don’t know about you, but I like to breath, to be able to see where I’m going, and to know that my journey is worth it by steering it in the correct direction. Supplies will only last so long!
So we began to explore how the Lord answered these issues:
- The Lord gave direction on how to deal with needing to breath.
- The Lord said he’d steer the ship.
I asked the class. “OK, look at this. The Lord solved two of the problems just like that. Without any effort on the part of these people. What if the Lord did that for all of our problems?” The kids called out that we wouldn’t be able to grow.
Then we looked at the brother of Jared’s rather short (or curt) third request for light:
Behold, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that we shall cross this great water in darkness?
Some might call that a little cocky, other’s might just call it brief. But regardless of what it was, the Lord then opened up a great opportunity for growth for this man by turning the question back to him.
What will ye that I should do that ye may have light?
The Lord reminds the brother of Jared of the technical difficulties of the journey and asks him once again what he will do.
The kids turned the page to find out. We talked about how this faithful man created his own solution (we don’t know whether this was his first attempt or one of many).
Next, we analyzed the contrast in humility when the brother of Jared asked the Lord again about the lighting issue. Compare Ether 3:2-5 to the last sentence of verse 22 of Ether 2. Quite a difference!
We’ll be finishing up this story tomorrow. But I bore testimony to the students today that as we approach the Lord with our own problems, we can follow this amazing man’s example, by praising the Lord for His goodness, by recognizing his own humility before the Lord, and being specific in his requests.
Final summation: When we pray to the Lord over all of our problems, we can actually solve them! And grow in the process.
And because we’ve been told it’s important for the kids to apply what they’re learning in class each day, I brought out a symbolic symbol of “journey” – pieces of railroad tracks.
I shared how just as the Transcontinental Railroad was laid down one track at a time, so, too, do we lay down our lives of faithfulness one prayerful moment by moment. Just as the brother of Jared received “yes’s” to his request because he “this long time ye have cried unto me” (Ether 1:43), we too will receive answers to our requests as we consistently seek the Lord every day (track by track) in prayer, faithfulness and obedience.
I asked the kids to take just a moment and find one verse from Ether 1, 2 or 3 that had touched them. They could select one piece of railroad track, lay it down as a symbol of their spiritual journey, and then share what has meant most to them from these particular scriptures. The kids were quite serious as they did so, and the class ended on such a nice note.
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