Yesterday morning we had a comical experience in getting our two boys ready for Church. My four-year-old got dressed first; he found pants for himself and then I helped him get his shirt and sweater on. Later my seven-year-old got his shirt on but then told me he couldn’t find pants. I searched everywhere in his drawer and in his brother’s closet and found about 10 pairs of pants that could work for Church, all in the size of my four-year-old. I looked in the clean laundry, the dirty laundry, and everywhere else I could think of. I finally gave up and just put one of the size five (i.e. way too small) pants on him. My wife eventually saw this and vetoed, and after searching in vain herself, finally put jeans on him that at least fit. And we went to Church. Then in Sacrament Meeting my wife started to laugh and pointed out to me where at least one pair of my seven-year-old’s pants were: on his younger brother. The younger one could have picked any of about 10 pairs of pants that would have been his size, and instead he picked the one pair (too big for him) that his brother needed. And that morning we had been searching all over when the pair of pants we were looking for were right in front of our eyes—on our younger son.
As I’ve thought about this comical parenting experience, I’m reminded of the scriptures that teach us to simply look and not overcomplicate things. In teaching his son Helaman about the Liahona, Alma told how Lehi’s party failed sometimes to look and heed their divine compass. He then counseled, “O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever” (Alma 37:46). Sometimes it is the easy things that we have the hardest time heeding or seeing the necessity of. Nephi, the grandson of this Helaman, taught about Moses who lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness: “And as many as should look upon that serpent should live, even so as many as should look upon the Son of God with faith, having a contrite spirit, might live, even unto that life which is eternal” (Helaman 8:15). The first Nephi had taught about the same event to his brothers: “He sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished” (1 Nephi 17:41). This was a common story to draw upon, for Amulek mentioned it as well to the Zoramites: “A type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live” (Alma 33:19). All the Israelites had to do was look upon the serpent, but because of the “simpleness” of it, some refused to look. Perhaps like Naaman they were searching instead for “some great thing” to do rather than perform an act so simple (2 Kings 5:13). Jacob wrote about those at Jerusalem who overcomplicated the law of Moses and were blinded, “which blindness came by looking beyond the mark.” God took “away his plainness from them” because they would not look at the true mark, even their Savior (Jacob 4:14). The invitation of the scriptures is for us to look at the Lord and spiritually live, to not search beyond the simple gospel path He has provided. He “hast the words of eternal life”—we need go nowhere else (John 6:68).