I have an amazing little sister named Laura. She rides a mean road bike and can out-fun anyone I know. She has an energy and an enthusiasm for life that is simply contagious. Once when I was visiting her along with my parents, Laura and our Dad had an idea to go on a “little” bike ride. Their idea and mine of a “little” ride were definitely not the same, and being unaware of their plans to try to kill me I decided to go along.
As we began our journey I felt excited about the beautiful scenery and the prospect of seeing parts of the amazing Southern California landscape that I had never seen before. Little did I know that this trip would not consist of my gazing around at the nature surrounding me but rather, at my own two feet agonizingly trying to pull myself up hills in my less than prepared Nike running shoes.
My poor Father and Sister would have to stop at the top almost every hill and wait for me to catch up. They would patiently and kindly encourage me, abating my embarrassment just enough for me to continue.
Having a touch of ignorance on how to properly use gears to move up the mountain smoothly, and gaining a new knowledge of their importance I learned a few things I thought would make a great parable.
We learn in our youth some basic principles of discipleship that as we grow we often times replace with practices we feel are more useful or perhaps more important to our lives.
These basic principles I will call our “gears.” These gears through our journey in life can give us strength and determination during the uphill climbs and a smoother more enjoyable ride in the downhill respites. Without these gears we will not be strong enough to endure to the end and make it to our eternal destination.
Gear #1: Prayer
From the earliest memories of my childhood we prayed. My parents taught all of us to pray when we wake, pray when we eat, pray when we are going to sleep and to pray when in great need. I attribute the ability to endure the difficult times in my life because of constant prayer. I know how to talk to my Heavenly Father even over something so simple as my breakfast. I have also realized when in desperate need of peace and respite that prayer comes naturally. I thank my parents for that gift. If we determine to start now and make prayer a constant in our lives, then the storms of life won’t have the power to drag us down or take away our peace even in our darkest times. We will have help in our uphill climbs and peace when we are simply enjoying the view.
Gear #2: Studying the word of God
Finding direction in life is oftentimes a difficulty for most people. How do we determine God’s will in our lives? How do find purpose in the life that we live and the people with whom we associate? It is an absolute truth that following earnest prayer God can speak to us through His holy scriptures if we seek diligently. His words can literally leap off the page and into our hearts when we need it most. When we feel we can’t make it up the mountain anymore the scriptures can give us direction and strength to look up and push on.
Gear #3: Personal Revelation
This may be the toughest gear of all. Perhaps this gear is the one we desperately need when we are striving to climb the biggest hill with the toughest incline. We all receive revelation in different ways and at different times. No one person is alike, but everyone has the ability to commune with the Divine.
In our home we have several ridiculous wiring issues and most of the rooms either don’t have overhead lighting or the switches refuse to work. In my son’s room we have to walk across the entire dark room before his light can be turned on, (consequently he refuses to sleep in there due to this fact.) One night as I was walking through his dark room I was reminded that sometimes we must step into the dark; oftentimes not knowing which way to go, and ask for God’s guidance to illuminate our lives. We have to open our minds to His words and learn how to listen before the lights can be turned back on.
How does the Almighty speaks to you?
Every day we should be striving to learn the many ways in which He communes with us. Most likely we miss out on His guidance and remain in the dark on a regular basis. Learning how to receive personal revelation can leave the lights perpetually on and our climb to the top of the breathtaking view attainable.
After our “little” bike ride was finished and I crawled into a scalding hot shower to recuperate I surprisingly found myself grateful for the journey. I was thankful for family members who didn’t give up on me, who didn’t judge me harshly for my choices in gears or my lack of experience. I was reminded greatly of our Savior who out of love for us rides his bike directly in front of us and tell us to simply look up and follow Him. He will never leave us, nor forsake us. He won’t belittle or condemn us when we fall from time to time. He is the constant in our ride through life. If we rely on Him and the gears He has given us we will be given the strength to endure to the end and see His face again someday.