Uncertainty riddles life. In fact, what will happen tomorrow is generally unknown. Thankfully, God speaks to us, His children. He's spoken through Prophets like Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph Smith, Gordon B. Hinckley, and others. And He also speaks to us personally, if we're seeking Him and listening for His guidance. At times, however, He guides us to a point and then leaves us to make our own decisions.
God did this with an ancient Prophet known as "the Brother of Jared" in the Book of Mormon. Jared and his brother lived at the time of the tower of Babel. (Ether 1:33). When God confounded the language of the people at the tower, Jared asked his brother to pray to God so that He would not confound their language, the language of their families, and the language of their friends. (Ether 1:34-37). God listened and did not confound their language. (Id.) Jared then asked his brother to pray and to ask God if He would guide them to a chosen land. (Ether 1:38). God listened and promised to lead them to a choice land where He would make them a great nation. (Ether 1:39-43).
The Lord appeared to the them in a cloud and guided Jared, his brother, their families, and their friends through the wilderness until they came to the ocean. (Ether 2:5-7, 13). After four years, the Lord spoke to the Brother of Jared in a cloud and commanded him to build barges in which they would cross the ocean. (Ether 2:14-17). The Brother of Jared obeyed, and He and those with him built boats as they were taught to do by the Lord. (Ether 2:16-17). The boats were airtight and capable of being submersed in the water. But there were two problems with them: There was no air inside the barges, (Ether 2:19) and there was no light either. (Ether 2:22).
The Brother of Jared went to the Lord for guidance. The Lord heard his prayers and directed the Brother of Jared to make two holes in each boat which could be stopped to keep water out. (Ether 2:19-21). When they needed air, they could unstop the holes, but if water started coming in, they could close the hole. (Id.). But God did not tell the Brother of Jared what to do about the darkness in the boats. Instead, He asked the Brother of Jared to tell Him what He should do to give them light. (Ether 2:23-25).
The Brother of Jared was left alone to resolve his own problem. At length and after what must have been a time of stretching, he made sixteen glass stones and brought them before the Lord. (Ether 3:1). He then asked the Lord to touch the stones so they would shine in the darkness. (Ether 3:2-5). And God listened, stretched forth His finger, touched the stones, and made them glow. (Ether 3:6).
Then something even more marvelous happened. The Brother of Jared saw the Lord's finger touching the stone. (Id.). He fell in fear thinking the Lord would smite him. (Ether 3:6-9). And then the Lord revealed Himself to the Brother of Jared and said:
Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.
And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image?
Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.
Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh. (Ether 3:14-16).
There was a reason why the Lord made the Brother of Jared come up with his own solution. Perhaps the Brother of Jared wouldn't have been able to see the Lord unless he went through that time of stretching.
Right now, my family and I are going through our own time of stretching. We've been guided in the wilderness as the Lord has directed us to come to law school. He has helped us through the entire experience. And now we're at our own ocean to cross. That is, we need to find somewhere to work.
We've been struggling with this process for months, but no job opportunities have resulted in actual jobs. Yet with each application, it's as if we're holding a stone before the Lord, asking Him to touch it.
As of yet, He hasn't touched any of them.
Nevertheless, He will touch one. And I'm certain that this struggle also has a purpose. There is something we are to learn. Whether it's increased patience, faith, or trust in the Lord or whether it's actually receiving a personal visit from the Lord, we don't know.
But when the Lord extends His finger and touches one of our job applications, we will see His finger, just as we have seen Him guiding us from BYU to Baylor and now back to Utah, as we continue to travel through the wilderness en route to the promised land.