When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.“How Firm a Foundation,” Hymns, #85
When it came time for Jared, his brother, and their families to board the huge barges they had built, it was a tremendous leap of faith. They had no way to steer, and because of the design of the barges, they wouldn’t even be able to see what was going on outside much of the time. The Lord had provided a miraculous source of light—two shining stones within each boat—which would remind them of His power to save them. Nevertheless, for 344 days, they were completely in His hands.
“They were many times buried in the depths of the sea,” Moroni tells us, “because of the mountain waves which broke upon them.” What did they do in these circumstances? They turned to God: “When they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters” (Ether 6:6-7).
King David experienced a similar sense of helplessness as he prayed for deliverance from an overwhelming set of challenges:
Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.
I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me….
Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.Psalm 69:1-2, 14
Joseph Smith used the same metaphor to describe the persecution he had experienced throughout his life:
And as for the perils which I am called to pass through, they seem but a small thing to me, as the envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life…. Deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a second nature to me.Doctrine and Covenants 127:2
President George Q. Cannon affirmed that however overwhelming our circumstances may be, we have not been abandoned by God:
No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, [God] will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character [to do so]. … He will [always] stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them.George Q. Cannon, “Remarks,” Deseret Evening News, Mar. 7, 1891, 4, quoted by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in “Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among You,” General Conference, April 2016 and in “‘He Hath Filled the Hungry with Good Things,'” General Conference, October 1997
Today, I will remember and emulate the faith and the prayers of the Jaredites. As I navigate the challenges of life, I will turn my heart to God. I will also strive for the emotional resilience of Joseph Smith, by remembering that God is with me in every circumstance, however difficult.