Parallels between activities in our lives and the gospel of Jesus Christ are rich teaching methods. Garth Miller, the associate dean for online in the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering and BYU-Idaho, used his experience white water rafting down the Salmon River when he was a young man to share insights into receiving personal revelation and inspiration. The topic was part of his BYU-Idaho Devotional address today.
He said there are several gospel parallels he could draw from his white water rafting experience, but he focused “primarily on the role of the guide and the importance of our following his instructions.”
He explained that he went down the river during a high water year. His guide made sure to prepare the people in each raft before they went through difficult rapids. He likened the river guide to the Holy Ghost as our spiritual guide and how the Holy Ghost can help guide us in our quest to receive revelation and inspiration.
“Each of us can learn or increase our ability to be guided by the Spirit if we follow some practical principles that will enhance our ability to recognize and receive revelation in our own lives,” he said.
Those principles, as taught by Elder Richard G. Scott, a late member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, include eliminating emotions like anger or defensiveness, being cautious with humor, keeping our speech careful and quiet and carefully recording impressions we receive from Heavenly Father.
Miller also used the words of Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who taught that receiving revelation is sometimes be like turning on a light in a room, but more often is like a sunrise, very gradual. In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Miller said he relates to the sunrise type of revelation where it may take days, weeks or longer to receive the revelation or inspiration about a particular thing.
“It's not that Heavenly Father doesn't love us,” he said, “it's not that he doesn't care about us or want us to have those answers, but he wants to allow us to grow and to remember from the things that we've learned and to apply the truths that we've already learned to go in the right direction, and then that confirmation will come. He will still answer our prayers but he will do it in his timing what he knows is best for us and not necessarily in our timing.”
Miller also shared the story of his son learning to ride a bike through a program called “I Can Bike” which teaches children with special needs how to ride a bike. His son Kimball has Down syndrome. The program helps the rider gain confidence on a bicycle with the help of cone-shaped training wheels and a runner next to the bike. Eventually, the training wheels are taken off the bike and the runner fades behind the rider.
“When it comes to receiving inspiration for our personal lives, I think many of us are like Kimball learning to ride a 2-wheel bike,” he said. “We may feel a bit wobbly and wish to have a support person giving us clear and immediate answers, but if we are persistent, our ability to be guided by the Spirit will increase. He will also help guide us through life’s white water rapids and even when we get thrown out of the raft, He will lead us safely to shore and help us get back in the raft so we can continue on our journey.”