Obedience: Guidelines given

A Salt Lake elementary school was having an assembly in the school's multi-purpose room. The adult who was conducting the assembly told the children to close their eyes and not to open them until they were told to. After several seconds some exciting sounds were heard from the stage, so the roomful of children opened their eyes and began enjoying the planned entertainment.

About five minutes later, a second grade teacher looked down the rows of children in her class to see Eron sitting with his eyes still closed tightly. His face was scrunched in an effort to keep his eyes closed amidst the laughter and audible delight of the other children. The teacher slipped down the row of second graders to Eron, whispered in his ear, "Eron, you can open your eyes now."Obediently, he opened his eyes and joined the fun. This dear little boy's desire to be obedient was stronger than his curiosity and any pressure there may have been around him. Is our desire to be obedient and our commitment to do so that firm?

When we make the connection between Heavenly Father's love for us and the commandments He has given, we follow Him gratefully and willingly. I heard about a young woman who recently joined the Church. As she was learning about the gospel, she became so excited when she discovered that we have been given guidelines to follow that will lead us back to our Heavenly Father. It was clear to her that those guidelines, or commandments, have been given to us because Heavenly Father loves us. She understood that His very purpose is to bless us, and that every commandment He has given is specifically designed to bring us joy and to help us return to Him. The process is perfect. He loves us, we love Him, we obey Him, and He blesses us with the feelings of His love! (See 1 John 4:19, John 14:15, John 15:10.)

Heavenly Father did not just give us commandments from a distance and then leave us on our own, but He is personally a part of our lives and will give us strength to obey and guide us with personal direction in our lives.

My friend Julie and I were going camping. We had plans to arrive at Red Fish Lake by 5 p.m. and cook our dinner over an open camp fire. We arrived at the lake on schedule, but there were no vacant campsites in the campground. We drove up the highway to the next lake and again found only a "Full Campground" sign to greet us. It took us hours to drive to every lake and every campground in the Stanley Basin valley, and with no success.

The night was dark, and we were tired and hungry, when close to midnight we turned off the main highway onto one more bumpy dirt road. Several miles later a picnic table appeared before us, and we knew we had found the only available campsite in all of Idaho!

In the darkness, we quickly set up camp and got ready to go to sleep. We both tried to ignore the uncomfortable feelings we had about the quiet and the darkness and the fact that there were no other campers around.

Together we offered a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to bless us with peace or confirm the feelings we had that we should not be there. We felt sure that we should leave, and did so as quickly as we could pack up our camp. We drove back to the main highway and into a town we had passed many hours before. We followed the road to the inviting "Vacancy" sign on the local motel and had a peaceful night's sleep.

The next morning we drove back to Red Fish Lake and found a perfect campsite for the rest of our stay. We still have no idea why it was important for us not to stay in that campsite for the night. But, we do know that Heavenly Father was aware of us and guided us.

Heavenly Father will guide us in every aspect of our lives. We need His direction in our lives. We do not have to do life alone. All good things in our lives are magnified when we accept and obey the direction and guidance He lovingly gives to us.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught a sure truth: "Therefore, we will not always understand the role of God's hand, but we know enough of His heart and mind to be submissive. (General conference, October 1995.)

When it is our will to do His will we will be at peace. And we will know Him – "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." (1 John 2:3.)