I went on a hike when I was a twelve year old boyscout. Let me just say, I hated hiking. It never made sense to me. Why would a person leave their comfortable home, their comfortable couch, and their amazingly comfortable air conditioning or heater, and go walk up a mountain in the extreme heat or cold. Crazy. So, being the lazy, out of shape, spoiled person I was, I went on this hike very unhappy.
The hike started out alright. It wasn’t too steep and the steep parts that were there were going downhill. No, it didn’t click in my brain that when you hike down you usually have to hike back up. So as we went along I started to complain. My complaining intensified (You can ask any of the other scouts). I fell something like four or five times, and the last time I scraped my leg pretty bad which made it pretty painful. The only thing, in my mind, that could have made it worse was exactly what happened. My scoutmaster said something to the effect of, “Oh shoot. I thought this hike was shorter than this.” It turned out that our “five mile hike” was really about eight to ten miles with a steady incline on the way back.
Well, after about 30 minutes of keeping up with everyone else on the way back up I fell behind and my dad fell back with me. We hiked for about ten minutes and stopped, hiked for ten minutes and stopped, and so on. this went on for pretty much the whole time, me complaining the whole time. Finally I had had enough. I sat down on a rock and said, “I can’t make it. Call a rescue helicopter or whatever but I can’t go on.” You should have seen my dad’s face. He stuck his walking stick in the dirt and said in a “tough love” type of voice, “Get up and get over it. You can make it. All the stopping and complaining is just making it last longer.” I got up and sure enough, three switchbacks later I was sitting in my comfortable car on my way home.
Now, I realize that that was a long story but it has a point other than just to make fun of Elder Herrick’s past. The point is simple enough. This life can be hard. Just like the steepness of the mountainside, we have to fight uphill battles, sometimes on a daily basis. Sometimes we fall and scrape ourselves. Sometimes we get left behind by our friends and we feel like we’re all alone. Sometimes we mess up and have to face a longer road than expected. However, We are NOT alone.
Just like my father was there every step of the way, OUR Father is there with us always. Yes, the road is steep, rocky, and full of roots that want to trip us up, but we can make it. We can make it if we just get up. I’ve been there, both literally and figuratively. More important, there is a Man that has been there with us. He has been there every step of the way and he is willing to help us make that next step.
He said, “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
I testify that our Father and His Son Jesus Christ know the steepness and roughness of the hike that is our lives. they will not leave us behind but will be there to help us stand strong and finish the course. I testify that They are ready and willing to help us as long as we go to Them. May we ever be mindful of the reward that comes when we endure to the end and finish the hike strong. I promise, it will be better than a car ride home.