At times, I can’t help but feel nostalgic for the days when life seemed so very simple. When my primary friends were the most important thing in the world. When I thought airplanes could fly because they were sprinkled with Tinker Bell’s fairy dust. When the Sorbetero man could make my day, no matter how badly it went. When I looked at life simply as a child.
If only I could bottle that sense of wonder, meekness and unending enthusiasm for the little but significant things, I’d carry it in my pocket all the time and take a drink every time I took something much too seriously. Although it’s not possible to bottle it up literally, the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to understand its truth and embrace the call to keep a childlike heart, especially in the dark times of our lives.
BATTLING THE DARKNESS
Sometimes we can get so caught up in the complexities of mortal life—school, work, relationships, status, wealth and otherworldly endeavors that our childlike lenses become blurred and hazy. Darkness is an unavoidable part of life today, more than ever before. The Apostle Paul taught us in Timothy that “in the last days perilous times shall come.” We are living in these “last days” and the signs of “perilous times” are more and more evident.
President Henry B. Eyring taught, “The peril comes from the forces of wickedness. Those forces are increasing. And so it will become harder, not easier, to keep the covenants we must make to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Wickedness is the darkness that fogs over our spiritual lenses and leads us into the trappings of temptations and sin. We can battle through the darkness with a simple formula: the bright light of the gospel plus a childlike heart.
BRIGHT LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL
The only source of brightness we can find amidst these dark times is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must understand that in order to get this light, one must build “upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God,…. your foundation; which is a sure foundation … whereon if men build they cannot fall.” (Helaman 5:12)
Building foundations upon our Savior Jesus Christ means that we have to put effort into overcoming the roots of darkness in our lives. This can come from our own nature, as described by King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon, “For the natural man is an enemy to God.” However, he also taught us beautifully how we can overcome our own nature and find the strength that we must have to return to our heavenly home safely.
KEEPING A CHILDLIKE HEART
“For the natural man is an enemy to God,… and will be, forever and ever, unless he…. becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mosiah 3:19)
We may think of keeping a childlike heart as a sign of weakness. Most of us want to embody strength; particularly today, and the world presents this as the “ideal” way to face great peril. In contrast, the gospel teaches that becoming childlike shows willingness to change; to keep the bright light of the gospel in our lives. Sister Jean A. Stevens has said, “If we have a heart to learn and a willingness to follow the example of children, their divine attributes can hold a key to unlocking our own spiritual growth.”