Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Not Today

Not Today

Growing up in country Australia, I always enjoyed the outdoors. From playing with my friends, to taking the dog for a walk, or climbing through the mountains and rainforests. I love spending time outdoors. There is always so much to explore and see. There are also a lot of lessons that can be learned. One particular lesson I learnt was from a choice of whether to go swimming on a hot summers day or follow what my mother taught me.


When I was about 10 years old, I remember the experience I had on a hot, sunny Sunday afternoon. We had just gotten home from a morning at church, and after having some lunch, Dad asked me to walk out and turn the sprinkler on so the plants and lawn wouldn't dry out in the harsh Australian climate. Seemed relatively easy, so I headed out, moved the hose and turned the tap on.

As I headed back inside, I heard my mate next door calling me over to talk with him at the fence. I headed down and he explained to me that his parents were taking him down to the creek for a swim, and I was invited to come along. For a hot day like this, that sounded like a pretty great idea. So I ran inside to ask Mum if I could go along. What happened next, changed the way I valued the Sabbath day; and lessons like this have shaped me to who I am today.

As I asked if I was allowed to go swimming, I instantly realized what day it was. Sunday. Now, this meant no playing with friends or going out, because it was family time. My heart sunk as I waited for a lecture on why we need to keep the Sabbath Day Holy. But to my surprise however, she smiled lovingly at me and asked me a question; "What did you learn in primary today?". While I tried to remember what I had actually learnt that morning, Mum said something even more unexpected. She said "You can go swimming if you want, it's your choice. But remember what day it is." That's all she said as she turned to go take a nap.

At first I thought, Great, I can go for a swim! But as I walked back down to the fence to join my friend, I remembered what we had learnt in primary. My teacher was explaining the forth commandment, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." She had explained that keeping the Sabbath day holy included resting from work, school and recreational activities or sport. I wasn't sure if swimming was included in this. So I stopped and said a quick prayer, asking if it was the right thing for me to go swimming. No answer came immediately, so being only 10, I took that as a yes.

Image from familyshare.com

As I reached the fence and called to my friend, I heard my mothers voice more loudly and clearly in my head which said again; "Remember what day it is..." At that moment I realized that the right answer wasn't just to assume I could do what I wanted, but to follow what I knew to be right. Now nothing seemed to happen that was extra special that afternoon as I sat inside and did some quite activities, but looking back on this experience, I have learnt a powerful and very valuable lesson about how our Father in Heaven answers our prayers.

Why would God send an angel to tell us not to swim on a Sunday, when our angel mother could just tell us? God is our loving Heavenly Father, and He wants us to be happy. He has given us commandments so that we can be happy, and so that one day we can return to live with Him. We can always know the truth, simply by praying to Him and sincerely asking, intending to act on the answer we receive. God will always answer a prayer from His Child, not always how or when we expect, but He does answer.

I know God lives, and I have seen the many blessings come as I have taken life's trials and questions to Him in prayer. He is always there to help and talk. He gives us commandments so we can be safe and happy, not to impose restrictions to make us miserable. I know that answers to our prayers can often come in many forms and methods. As we strive to recognize and show gratitude for these answers, He will help us feel His love, and will one day take us back to live with Him and those we love for eternity. May we all get the answers we desire as we exercise faith in Him, and help others come to this knowledge.

-Elder Cullen