18 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, I have performed the work which thou hast commanded me, and I have made the barges according as thou hast directed me.
19 And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish.
Effective goal setting begins with a clear problem statement. The brother of Jared had fulfilled the commandment to build barges to carry his people across the ocean. During the course of building the barges, he (or the people who were helping him) began to think about the experience of actually living in those vessels for an extended period of time. Out of all of the concerns they might have had, he identified two critical issues: lack of light and lack of air. He also identified the possible consequences of these deficiencies. With no light, they wouldn’t be able to navigate. With no air, they wouldn’t survive.
Based on the Lord’s response in the following verses, he actually got the first one wrong. They didn’t need light to navigate. The Lord would ensure that they arrived at the promised land. They needed light because the barges would pass through intense storms. A light source would enable them to cope with the mostly passive experience of waiting while the barges were led to their destination.
Even so, the brother of Jared was successful in framing the question in a way that led to the answers he sought.
Today, as I plan for the coming months, I will follow the example of the brother of Jared. I will identify the significant challenges I may face and the possible consequences of those challenges. I will counsel with the Lord about how to overcome or mitigate the effects of each challenge.
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