Photographs courtesy of Grace Huang
I applied for a classical piano competition a few months ago. I knew it would likely be on a Sunday, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. I started practicing three months before the competition, and it took a lot of time and effort to get ready.
A month before the competition, a seminary lesson on the Ten Commandments made me think about whether or not competing on a Sunday was a good idea. I wanted to push away the thought, because I’d already paid the application fee of TWD$1,400 (about US$50)—not to mention that I’d spent so much time practicing. I asked my seminary teacher if going to a piano competition would be breaking the Sabbath. He told me that was between God and me. But he bore his testimony that keeping the Sabbath day holy would be a blessing. I thought about it, and I really didn’t want to have to forfeit the competition.
Each day, I read a general conference article. I had just finished one talk and was about to put down the articles, but the next article caught my eye: “Stand in Holy Places” by President Thomas S. Monson (Ensign, Nov. 2011, 82). When I began reading it, I hadn’t been thinking at all about my piano competition, nor was I expecting an answer from the talk. But as I read, it was as if Heavenly Father were chastising me. President Monson’s words hit me hard:
“The Ten Commandments are just that—commandments. They are not suggestions. They are every bit as requisite today as they were when God gave them to the children of Israel” (83).
Then as I continued, I found:
“His constancy is something on which we can rely, an anchor to which we can hold fast and be safe, lest we be swept away into uncharted waters.
“… There is nothing which can bring more joy into our lives or more peace to our souls than the Spirit which can come to us as we follow the Savior and keep the commandments” (83).
I knew then what my Heavenly Father expected of me. I said a prayer and told Him that if it were necessary, I would forfeit the competition, even if I didn’t get a refund. I prayed that I wouldn’t have to forfeit if it were possible, that there might be a way for me to still compete, but that I would keep the Sabbath day holy no matter what.
At the end of the day, I told my piano teacher I couldn’t compete on a Sunday. She was surprisingly understanding. She said the competitions were divided by area and that I could try to transfer to an area that competed on a different day. I made a call the next day and successfully transferred to compete in Tainan, Taiwan, where the competition was held on Saturday.
I am so grateful that I made the decision to obey my Heavenly Father’s commandments. God not only wanted me to keep the Sabbath day holy, but He cared that the piano competition mattered a lot to me. Because I was willing to obey, my testimony of God’s love for me and of the blessings that come from obeying His commandments has been strengthened. I know that when we do our best to do what He asks, God will provide the rest.
More Than Just Suggestions
“Although the world has changed, the laws of God remain constant. They have not changed; they will not change. The Ten Commandments are just that—commandments. They are not suggestions. They are every bit as requisite today as they were when God gave them to the children of Israel. …
“Our code of conduct is definitive; it is not negotiable.”
President Thomas S. Monson, “Stand in Holy Places,” Ensign, Nov. 2011, 83.
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