UnBlog # 506
Childhood seems to demonstrate that rules stop us from enjoying life to the fullest. We want to eat cookies for every meal, and our mother tells us no. When we do it anyway, she probably punished us. Rules, it became very clear, are in the way of our happiness.
That thinking persists as teens and beyond until we become mature enough to see that these rules were actually saving us from unpleasant experiences and lasting consequences. As teens and sometimes adults, we try eating cookies for every meal, we realize it can’t be done without sacrificing our happiness, and mother knew it all along.
I remember a particular event when I was about ten. My parents would not buy soda pop because they said it was too sweet, and they wouldn’t buy potato chips very often because they were not healthy. When they brought home a bag, it was shared by many kids, and was gone very quickly. One day I was at my cousin’s house out in the country. We decided to walk to the local country store, which was several miles away, and buy potato chips and soda pop. We had a little money, and got permission to go. We walked and walked and walked, and finally arrived at heaven – a whole counter full of potato chips, and a cooler full of soda, and no parents to stop us. We each bought several bags of chips and a soda, and began walking home. I was hungry from the long walk and really plowed into the chips. I couldn’t believe how good they tasted. I ate them even faster. But, before we got back to his house, I got increasingly more nauseated, and ended up returning home with an empty stomach. My cousin did the same. It was literally a dozen years before I could eat another potato chip.
When a prompting comes to us from the Holy Spirit, it often seems to be trying to deny us some mortal form of happiness we were just reaching for. Like little children with a bag of potato chips, we don’t heed the prompting to not partake until we have experienced the bilious result of disobedience a few thousand times.
Then, we realize that promptings and commandments don’t limit our enjoyment of life, they protect us from unknown hazards – but far more importantly, they open new vistas of possibility where there were none before. Disobedience to God’s plan invariable destroys freedom, in this life and in the next. But, the greatest reason to school our hearts and hands to obedience is that there is an eternal world of glorious mortal blessings that can only be glimpsed by revelatory insight and obtained by obedience to the voice of Christ. Then, as the blessings begin to flow, and the heavens begin to open, and as our souls begin to expand, we understand why law is so liberating.
Obedience is the Aladdin’s lamp of mortality which by continually polishing we unleash the mighty genie of all mortal blessings, the least of which is peace and joy in this life. The greatest blessings are an assurance of our eternal reward, power in the priesthood, eternal families, miracles, visions, prophecy, knowledge, angelic visitations and the knowledge of God.
My home teacher was visiting us yesterday evening and told of living in the same stake as President Kimball for a while. He said in a Fast and Testimony meeting that President Kimball stood up and among other things, he quoted D&C 93:1. “It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am.” He then said “This scripture is fulfilled more often than you might ever imagine – many times daily.”
It really does happen.
© July 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.