When life is really hard and we feel like we’re drowning, God will help us if we cry out to him.
Waves were crashing around me—monstrous waves. I couldn’t breathe. I was drowning. Panicking. Flailing.
I was on my bed, anguishing about the storms in my life, when Ether 2:24–25 first became real to me:
“For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea . . .
“And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?”
The last sentence tossed me a life preserver—God was asking what he could do to help me. Immediately, I fell to my knees and asked him to prepare a light for me. I really needed it.
I’ve long forgotten the exact storms that troubled me at that time, but I never have dared forget the comfort provided by this scripture. When things got bad, my drowning soul called out for a little help—a chance to breathe—and I received it.
Last year was my year of Job. Though comparing my life to Job’s is admittedly extreme, the comparison sums up how I felt. Trials were crashing around me daily. I didn’t think I could survive; I was drowning under the waters of loneliness, self-doubt, and anxiety.
At one point, I came to the realization that I needed to move to a new apartment, but I didn’t have the time or the courage—or the money. I was trapped in a bad situation with no escape. In this dark moment, I remembered the sacred question God asks the brother of Jared in Ether 2:24: “Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depth of the sea?” I knew God wanted me to ask him for help. I pleaded for God to prepare me for my trials.
Following my prayer, God sent a loving light to me. I was awarded a $1,000 scholarship that I had not applied for. This money meant that I could afford to move to a different apartment. Yes, I still lacked time and courage, but I could handle those trials now that I was confident God was by my side.
Money isn’t the grand lighthouse of all figurative maritime disasters, but in my case, it was the tender mercy that saved me—a light to get me through my year of Job. God prepared me for the stormy waves.
In October 2011, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave an address titled “You Matter to Him.” He said, “At times we may even feel insignificant, invisible, alone, or forgotten. But always remember—you matter to Him!” That is what Ether 2:24–25 means to me. I matter to God. He is aware of me. He is there for me.
—Alyssa Nielsen, Mormon Insights
feature image by tim marshall
Find more insights
Read or watch Elder David A. Bednar’s talk “The Tender Mercies of the Lord” to learn more about recognizing tender mercies.
Read Ether 3 to learn what the brother of Jared asked for and what he received as a result of his faithfulness.