Learning to walk

Learning to Walk: Lessons on Potential

Tonight our son, Kreed, took his first steps. He’s been pretty close for some time now. He’s a professional furniture surfer and enjoys grabbing our legs and following us as we walk. His balance has always been pretty good and he’s pretty tough when it comes to taking tumbles.

What was particularly fun to watch was after he’d taken a few steps, the excitement he got when he realized what he was doing and that he was capable of doing it.

Rewind to earlier today: I was beginning to look at Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith manual that we’ll be studying in priesthood and relief society in 2014. Chapter One is on our Father in Heaven. Among other points, President Smith taught,

“I feel most assuredly that our Father in heaven is far more interested in a soul—one of his children—than it is possible for an earthly father to be in one of his children. His love for us is greater than can be the love of an earthly parent for his offspring”

Connecting the two experiences, my thoughts have turned to what it must be like for our Father in Heaven when one of us as His children, start to get it. We’ve been crawling around for so long, and we start to stretch our legs. We start to stand up straight, and we start to take steps toward Him.

And as we do that, we come to the realization that something new and exciting is before us. There’s a world of possibilities unlocking before our eyes. And with each step, our Father watches on, ever encouraging and extending His grace and support.

Understanding that, a few applications come to mind:

  • Never be discouraged. Weakness and struggle is part of the growing up process.
  • Don’t be afraid of failure. As children of God, we have the potential to do what God asks us to do, it just might take us time to grow into that which we’re promised.
  • The Lord will provide opportunities and experiences that will help us grow but it’s ultimately up to us to take the steps.

Not Particular Concerning Them

President Lorenzo Snow taught,

“I had not been in this Church [very long] when it was clearly shown to me what a man could reach through a continued obedience to the Gospel of the Son of God. That knowledge has been as a star continually before me, and has caused me to be particular in trying to do that which was right and acceptable to God. … It seems, after all the education that we had in things pertaining to the celestial worlds, that there are some Latter-day Saints who are so well satisfied with simply knowing that the work is true that when you come to talk to them of our great future they seem surprised, and think it has nothing to do particularly with them.”

Lorenzo Snow
Teachings of the Presidents of the Church
Chapter 5: The Grand Destiny of the Faithful

As Man Now Is . . .

From Preston Nibley’s Presidents of the Church, we read,

While visiting at the home of Elder H.G. Sherwood, Lorenzo relates that the conversation turned to religious matters. “Elder Sherwood was endavoring to explain the parable of the Savior when speaking of the husbandman who hired servants and sent them forth at different hours of the day to labor in his vineyard.” While Lorenzo listened closely to the explanation, “the Spirit of the Lord rested mightily upon me –the eyes of my understanding were opened, and I saw as clear as the sun at noon-day, with wonder and astonishment, the pathway of God and man. I formed the following couplet which expresses the revelation as it was shown to me: ‘As man is, God once was, As God now is, man may become.’ “

Later in the Improvement Era, Lorenzo Snow published the full poem:

Hast thou not been unwisely bold,
Man’s destiny to thus unfold?
To raise, promote such high desire,
Such vast ambition thus inspire?

Still ’tis no phantom that we trace
Man’s ultimatum in life’s race;
This royal path has long been trod
By righteous men, each now a God:

As Abra’m, Isaac, Jacob, too,
First babes, then men—to gods they grew.
As man now is, our God once was;
As now God is, so man may be,—
Which doth unfold man’s destiny.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The boy, like to his father grown,
Has but attained unto his own;
To grow to sire from state of son,
Is not ’gainst Nature’s course to run.

A son of God, like God to be,
Would not be robbing Deity;
And he who has this hope within,
Will purify himself from sin.

(Lorenzo Snow, “Man’s Destiny,” Improvement Era, June 1919, pp. 660–61.)