Rules for Preservation, Safety and Peace…
Over the last week or so I have visited a number of national parks and monuments with Monica and our younger daughters. We have seen majestic rock formations, cliffs and canyons of southern Utah. We traveled in blizzards near snow covered peaks and over high mountain passes of Colorado. Preserved plateau grasslands, wildlife and rivers of Wyoming provided a welcome break from curvy roads and icy windshields. The rugged and muddy Badlands stood in contrast to Black Hill pinnacles and images of great leaders carved on Rushmore’s face in South Dakota. Viewing up close these natural wonders, works of the hands of God and His inspired children, carries rules for the preservation of monumental masterpieces and the frail people who would journey to visit.
Yes, everywhere there are rules to follow. Billboards of Smokey the Bear remind visitors that “Only you can prevent forest fires.” There are more subdued markers with clear warnings that stepping off the marked path can harm both the environment as well as the person wearing the boots. There are rules to be followed by anyone showing respect for themselves and the community around them. The rules we have are not simply restrictions upon our behavior limiting our agency, but liberating laws to preserve and protect the very freedom we seek in wilderness and civilization. Our safety depends on rules, the protective wings that would guard us from catastrophe both temporal and spiritual, which are the same.
Yes, everywhere there are rules to follow. Billboards of Smokey the Bear remind visitors that “Only you can prevent forest fires.”
We have been invited for our own good and safety to live the laws of God and man, but as Jesus lamented in His own lifetime, we often fail to heed the call to gather in the security of His love and comfort. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37).
The safety and peace that comes with using our agency to keep God’s laws truly delivers liberty and joy as we gather in communities of saints. By keeping His commandments we step into light and are able to see the paths leading to immediate and long-term happiness. As the Savior spoke unto His people following His atoning sacrifice and resurrection, “Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life. Behold, I have given unto you the commandments; therefore keep my commandments. And this is the law and the prophets, for they truly testified of me” (3 Nephi 15:9-10).
“Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.”Jesus Christ
As my family and I journeyed, hiked around, and viewed natural and man-made marvels we were cautious to abide by the rules for preservation. Signs gave warnings to stay on pathways and within hand rails to avoid slipping and injury, or even falling from spectacular cliffs. Rules of the road were followed to protect ourselves and other motorists from losing control on icy highways. Signs also were provided to protect the treasures, which we came to view, from erosion or damage that would impede future generations from the same enjoyment we were able to experience.
Despite laws and warnings there were people walking treacherously beyond safety rails, automobiles careening out of control at high speed, and still others disregarding the rules meant to preserve the precious environment that we all share in common. Clearly the laws of God and rules of society are set to preserve and protect man and nature. By following them we are safe today, enjoy beauty tomorrow, and live in happiness with each other and our Heavenly Father in the eternities.
Clearly the laws of God and rules of society are set to preserve and protect man and nature.
As we gather in law-abiding love the Savior’s outreached arms will provide safety and peace for maturing, just as a shepherd watches over his young lambs, or a mother hen gathers and protects her chicks. “Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I Am, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins; Who will gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer” (Doctrine and Covenants 29:1-2).
May we all keep the laws of God and man, seeing the spiritual and temporal as one, even as our loving Redeemer has designed it to be. May we gather in the peace and safety of His welcoming arms as brothers and sisters in Zion, children of our Heavenly Father, and preserve for tomorrow all that has been given in days past. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.