Above me lines and patterns of light emerged on the sky's dark palette. I marveled.
This display of nature reminded me of the patterns that God has placed in each of his creations.
The sun, the moon, the seasons, the weather, the plants - all of God's creations were created by a pattern of design that not only determines its beauty and shape, but also sets its purpose and time. I thought how these patterns give us reassurance. We know that each day the sun will rise as a ball of fire in the east. And each month the moon will rise big and round and glorious. We know the birds will migrate each fall and again in the spring. God has instilled in each of his creations a pattern to live by- a pattern to ensure their existence on this planet.
But what about man? What pattern did he instill in us to ensure our survival? To help us endure our journey here?
Unlike God's other creations, man was given a higher degree of intelligence to choose his mortality- his morality -his own path. Unlike the migratory Robin who innately sings songs of gratitude, God has given man the agency to learn for himself of eternal joy.
Last night, in our class we read the stories of Jacob and Sheram, and Jacob's son Enos, and the people of 4th Nephi. We read and discussed how they took a pattern of life that God has given all men and put it to the test and found the joy and peace that comes through faith and repentance - God's pattern of life. We talked about how their lives exemplified a pattern of enduring to the end.
What is God's pattern for man? And why didn't God instill in us a programmed life - like he did the Goose, who as I write is flying overhead honking and squawking on his way? to where?
Man- like all of nature- can follow a path that will lead us to eternal life. For man however, it involves conscious choice. The ability to discern between good and evil. It involves faith not only in nature but first in the supreme creator Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism and following the Holy Ghost.
As we studied the lives of Jacob and his son Enos we found adjectives that described what they did to discover the peace the gospel brings. When Sheram challenged Jacob's testimony, Jacob recounted his "many revelations," his ministering angels, the many things that he had witnessed, and how the voice of Lord had instructed and comforted him. Because of all these things, Jacob could not be shaken. We considered Enos and his mighty prayer that released him from his guilt, and how the people of 4th Nephi were able to live in harmony for 200 years before time and pride erased the living memories of their experiences with the Savior Jesus Christ.
What I found interesting is that these men were given experiences that impressed upon their minds and their souls the eternal nature and love of the Savior Jesus Christ. The desires of their heart were to know of a truth that would guide them to peace. Their lives were not without danger, trial or discomfort. Peace does not mean you will not have trial. True peace comes when while in the midst of trial you have the power of faith in a true and living Savior who will wind your sails and calm your soul.
God has sent us many heralds of peace. Each day is a miracle of his love. Each day reminds us that he has given all of his creations a pattern to live by. This pattern is sure; it is eternal; it is beautiful.
I believe that it is why - when I see the night sky display its artistic brush or experience the sunrise or hear the bird song - I am reminded that God's love for all his creations is sure and steady. But for man... we must choose.
And I am grateful for the lives of men like Jacob and Enos and the disciples of Christ who witnessed the resurrected Christ and showed by their lives that enduring to the end is a real possibility. It is not only a possibility it is what God wants for us. It is his pattern for our lives. It is what he promises in 2 Nephi 31:20:
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. 2 Nephi 31:20Even though we don't have a programmed migratory path we do have the law and the light of Christ for which we are promised eternal life if we will but endure. But for us we must look, we must endure, and then shall we know eternal life.
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.
3 Nephi 15:-1-9