After living on the seashore for four years, the first generation of Jaredites prepared to cross the “great deep” (Ether 2:25). As they prepared to enter and launch eight enclosed barges, they must have felt extraordinary trepidation. God had said that they would be “as a whale in the midst of the sea.” He told them that “mountain waves” would submerge them, but that He would bring them “up again out of the depths of the sea” (Ether 2:24).
In the front and back of each barge, a shining stone provided light and reminded them that God was with them (Ether 6:2-3). Still, as they loaded the vessels with food and supplies for a long and difficult journey, they must have had numerous questions: How will we know that we are moving forward? How will we stay together? How will we survive the coming storms?
Moroni doesn’t dwell on those fears in his description of their departure. He simply says that “they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God” (Ether 6:4).
The word “commend” can mean to praise or to endorse, but in this context, it means to entrust. These people had been blessed to not have their language confounded at the Tower of Babel (Ether 1:34-37). They had subsequently traveled a great distance, “being directed continually by the hand of the Lord” (Ether 2:6). They had learned to trust Him, so they were prepared to place their confidence in God and in His promises to them.
Elder L. Todd Budge explained:
The Jaredites did not get into the barges because they knew exactly how things would work on their journey. They got aboard because they had learned to trust in the Lord’s power, goodness, and mercy, and they were therefore willing to surrender themselves and any doubts or fears they may have had to the Lord.“Consistent and Resilient Trust,” General Conference, October 2019
Today, I will face uncertainty as these Jaredites did, by commending myself to the Lord. I will not shy away from following the guidance I receive from Him, even if I don’t know where it will lead. I will trust that He will guide and protect me, as He has guided and protected me in the past.