Two weeks ago our family went hiking through the jungle—the REAL jungle. There were vines and roots and trees and branches and plants and HUGE spiders and hidden SNAKES and slippery cliffs.
Our capable friend brought his machete to help us cut back the overgrown trails and his snake tool and dog in case we saw a poisonous Habu.
As we stepped carefully through the undergrowth our hearts pounded with adventure and our eyes feasted on the raw beauty of the deep foliage around us.
The end result—after miles of hiking—was an experience we will NEVER forget and a view that was INDESCRIBABLE.
While our jungle adventure was successful, I can’t even begin to imagine attempting the same tedious route without a guide, a machete, a faithful dog, and some ropes to help us down the steeper parts of the trail. These small items were invaluable in providing us a “straight” path to the beautiful views we saw.
My everyday life often feels like a jungle trail! It is full of tasks to complete, unexpected phone calls, sudden changes, piles of laundry, floors to mop, and children who need me at the drop of a hat! Somedays I can’t move even an inch forward for the tangled vines I am hiking through!
Yet this morning, a phrase in the scriptures caught my eye: “a straight path to eternal bliss.”
A straight path? Eternal bliss? Where do I sign up?!?
These words, written by Alma in the Book of Mormon, made me stop and ponder the chapter.
Alma is teaching his son Helaman about the Liahona, a compass-like tool which led Lehi and his family in the wilderness.
Alma 37:40: “It did work for them according in their faith in God,” which would help the spindles to “point the way they should go.” Verse 42 further explains that when they forgot to exercise their faith and diligence they “did not travel a direct course.”
I’ve had many days when I haven’t been on a direct course. I fumble from task to task, never completing anything, feeling growing frustration as the hours wane, and finally dropping into bed without any sense of accomplishment or success.
However, some days I DO feel like I have a productive and successful day—with my children, my husband, and my assignments.
So, how do I ensure that most, if not all, days are a direct course to happiness?
Alma teaches that it’s the “small means” (v. 41) that work the miracle of showing us the way. Reading our scriptures, starting with prayer, taking time in the morning to connect with God, following the still, small voice; and being willing to serve and listen and care along the way.
Miraculously, these small and simple acts open the jungles and show us the glorious way.
Wow. I can do small. I can do simple. I can do easy. If these daily actions make my path straight, then count me in!
Verse 44 further explains that heeding the Word of Christ will “point to you a straight course to eternal bliss.”
A STRAIGHT course sounds GREAT to me!
I hate making mistakes, losing time, backtracking, etc. when I know there is a direct way to happiness!
As followers of Christ, we have the blessing and opportunity everyday to travel “straight” to eternal bliss. What a life-changing promise!
I’m certainly not ignorant of life’s challenges, or of the unavoidable pitfalls of living that we all encounter. But I do believe that the commandments and covenants we honor through the Gospel of Jesus Christ help us live a happier and more fulfilling life than if we were trying to walk our paths alone.
And the best news of all is that everyday—even every moment—starts anew. If we find ourselves off the beaten trail without a machete, or struggling down a slippery slope without a rope, we can pause, reconnect with God, listen, get back on the best path and move on.
Is life easy? It can be, when we take the time for small efforts and therefore walk straight paths to eternal bliss.Oh, and the view at the end will be worth it!