Blessed and Happy Are Those Who Keep the Commandments of God
By Elder Von G. Keetch
“Some time ago while visiting Australia, I traveled to a beautiful horseshoe bay renowned for its surfing. As I walked along the beach, I was enthralled by the magnificence of the large crashing waves breaking just outside the bay and the smaller waves rolling in closer to shore.
As I continued my stroll, I encountered a group of American surfers. They were obviously upset about something, talking loudly and gesturing toward the sea. When I asked them what was wrong, they pointed to just outside the bay where the big waves were breaking.
“Look out there,” one of them angrily told me. “Can you see the barrier?” Looking more closely now, I could indeed see a barrier stretching across the entire mouth of the bay, right where the large, enticing waves were breaking. The barrier appeared to be made of a heavy mesh and was supported by floats on top of the water. According to the surfers, it dropped all the way down to the ocean floor.
The American surfer continued, “We are here on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to surf these big waves. We can surf the smaller ones breaking within the bay itself, but the barrier makes it impossible for us to surf the big ones. We have no idea why the barrier is there. All we know is that it has totally spoiled our trip.”
As the American surfers became more animated, my attention was drawn to another nearby surfer—an older man and obviously a local. He seemed to be growing impatient as he listened to the ever-increasing complaints about the barrier.
Finally he rose and walked over to the group. Without saying anything, he pulled a pair of binoculars from his backpack and handed them to one of the surfers, pointing out toward the barrier. Each of the surfers looked through the binoculars. When my turn came, with the help of magnification, I could see something that I had not been able to see before: dorsal fins—large sharks feeding near the reef on the other side of the barrier.
The group quickly became subdued. The old surfer retrieved his binoculars and turned to walk away. As he did, he said words I will never forget: “Don’t be too critical of the barrier,” he said. “It’s the only thing that’s keeping you from being devoured.”
As we stood on that beautiful beach, our perspective had suddenly changed. A barrier that had seemed rigid and restrictive—that seemed to curtail the fun and excitement of riding the really big waves—had become something very different. With our new understanding of the danger that lurked just below the surface, the barrier now offered protection, safety, and peace.
As you and I walk the paths of life and pursue our dreams, God’s commands and standards—like the barrier—can sometimes be difficult to understand. They may appear rigid and unyielding, blocking a path that looks fun and exciting and that is being followed by so many others. As the Apostle Paul described, “We see through a glass, darkly,”1 with such a limited perspective that we often cannot comprehend the great dangers hidden just below the surface…
We especially manifest that faith and love in situations where we don’t fully understand the reason for God’s commands or the particular path He is telling us to take. It is relatively easy to follow a course inside the barrier once we know there are sharp-toothed predators swarming just outside of it. It is more difficult to keep our course within the barrier when all we can see are thrilling and tantalizing waves on the other side. And yet it is in those times—times when we choose to exercise our faith, put our trust in God, and show our love to Him—that we grow and gain the most."
Diligently Keep the Commandments
1. Deuteronomy 6:17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.
2. Alma 7:23 - And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; …
3. Alma 37:20 - Therefore I command you, … that ye be diligent in keeping the commandments of God as they are written.
4. D&C 11:20 - Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength.
5. Psalm 119:4-6 - Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
6. D&C 30:8 - Wherefore, give heed unto these things and be diligent in keeping my commandments, and you shall be blessed unto eternal life.
7. Ecclesiastes 12:13 - Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.