Just another WordPress site

August 10, 2015

Reaching the Summit through Repentance

Filed under: hiking,Mount Timpanogos,repentance — admin @ 3:21 am

Anyone who has ever hiked up Mt. Timpanogos knows that it is a very long and miserable hike that is really hard and seems to never end.  This  around, we decided to hike up the Aspen Grove side,
which is even more steep and miserable.  This gave me a lot of time to think about the gospel and
different principles to try and keep my mind off the pain.  I imagined the path to the summit to be the
path of repentance—it is really long and really difficult.  Whether your repentance process be for
something as small as making scripture study a matter of daily habit, or repenting of a sexual sin or
alcohol/drug addiction, it will still take a long time to really make a solid change and to feel the full force of repentance.  It is also extremely painful to repent of any sin, just as hiking to the top of Mt. Timp is painful.
Many times on the path, the faster bunch and the slower bunch would separate.  I happened to be with the slower bunch, and often felt abandoned and alone when the group ahead moved on without us in the back.  However, we believe in the buddy system while hiking, which ensured that there was always someone with me.  The same happens when we repent—often times we feel alone and alienated, like no one knows our pain and no one is really there to help us through it.  This is not true—there is always someone with us, whether that be good supportive friends, the bishop, family, and ultimately, our loving heavenly father.

Through the entirety of the trail, our single and ultimate goal was to reach the summit by sunrise.  Even though the trail was miserable and we wanted to quit and give up and go back many times along the way, once we reached the summit just in time for the sunrise, it was all totally worth it.  The view was glorious, and the sunrise was breathtakingly remarkable.  When we repent, we always have a single goal in mind—to have scripture study be a normal daily habit, or have our sexual sin or drug addiction swept clean from our life.  The road is difficult, and it is easy to want to give up and go back to where you were in the beginning.  But once you have pulled through and made it to the end where that goal has been accomplished, life is beautiful and everything is worth it.

The most beautiful part of this analogy however, is of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The whole way up the trail, we often would stop and catch our breath, or just stop for a bit because we were tired and needed a break from the trail.  It was in these moments that we really noticed the beauty all around us.  The view behind us, seeing how far up we had made it, the beauty of the flowers and trees and waterfalls and meadows.  The rocky ridges and shallow ponds, snowy mountain valleys and the glow of the moon.  Wherever we were, there was always something beautiful to look at.  That, to me, is the perfect representation of the atonement.  The atonement is something readily available, something pre-organized and performed for our benefit.  Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that he provided us a Savior who performed this glorious sacrifice for us so we could feel the beauty of life amidst darkness. The atonement isn’t the goal, nor is it the journey, but it is the gift we are given to see beauty on the trail and make our goals become reality.  The beauty along the trail was always just enough to help us push forward and remember our ultimate goal.   As does the atonement always provide just enough hope and love to move forward with faith toward a better ending—the cleanliness of full repentance.

Written by: Derrick S. -Provo, Utah

May 7, 2015

Finding Strength to Carry On

Filed under: blessings,challenges,Heavenly Father,hiking,Prayer — admin @ 7:59 pm

I am realizing that summer is just around the corner as the youth (both the young men and the young women) are preparing for summer camp.  It sounds like they are all going to have a lot of fun.  These preparations remind me of scout camp two summers ago.

The scouts were working on their hiking merit badge.  For the merit badge they needed to hike 20 miles all in the same day.  We had big plans, a scenic hike in the beautiful, central Utah Mountains. We kept telling ourselves that this would be good mission preparation for all the miles the boys would walk on their missions’.

We started out early in the morning on the day of the hike, with intentions of getting a good part of the hike completed quickly.  But soon disasters began.  We had only walked for about 10 minutes before someone had tripped and fallen and was bleeding.  We “paused” our hike to practice our first-aid merit badge before continuing.  This should have been a warning of events to come.

We were challenged continually throughout the day, both physically and emotionally.  The steep hills and thick brush that we had to work our way through slowed our hike.  Soon we realized that we would not make the trip as quickly as we had planned.  That meant we were going to run out of food and water and possibly need to spend the night without any over-night gear.

Emotionally it was a challenge to wonder where the next watering hole would appear.  In the deserts of Utah these can be few and far between.  We filtered and drank water that I am sure should have killed us, or at least should have made us all very sick.  The constant barrage from the sun, burned us all quickly, and yet we had to keep hiking.  There was no relief from the heat.  We faced challenges that should have made us quit.  And yet we wanted to succeed, and knew we could.  We were also blessed tremendously.  We saw first-hand several miracles.  However to keep a long story short, I will only recount one of many.

As the day had progressed, we had become separated into several small groups.  Each group had not heard from the others for several hours.  This was disconcerting as darkness was drawing near and we were still miles from the end of the hike.  The trail we were following would split and rejoin itself and split again.  In the thick brush it would be easy to pass another group and not know it.  Several questions were constantly asked: what if someone was hurt and could not complete the hike?  Would we pass by them and not know it?  Would we need to return tomorrow to find them?  Could they survive the night in the desert without any gear, food or water?

Each group decided (independently of each other) to pray for the other groups: prayer for safety, health, and strength to carry-on, and most importantly to be reunited.  With blessings from our Heavenly Father, these prayers were answered.  As the sun set and darkness enveloped us, we were all reunited.  Everyone was safe and healthy.  The decision was made to continue with our hike as we were ill-prepared to spend the night.  We formed a line as we pushed our way through the thick brush.  We had two flash lights in the group, one for the front and one for the back of the line.  We hiked for at least 3 more hours in the dark before we emerged from the canyon at our destination.

As we told each other about the experiences we had while we were separated and anxiously hoping to be reunited, we began to see the blessings we had received and the miracles we had experienced. One young man told how he was too tired to go any farther, and somehow right at 8 pm he had gained strength to continue hiking.  Another group told of how they stopped hiking at exactly 8 pm and prayed for that same young man that he would have the strength to continue.

Another group told how they had no flash lights and would be unable to hike in the dark.  Just as the sun set they prayed one more time to be reunited with the others.  Right as they said “amen”, they heard voices in the distance coming toward them.  What a happy reunion in the dark!  These prayers and many others were answered on this miraculous day.

Having our prayers answered was only one of many amazing events of that day.  My testimony of the power of prayer was strengthened that day.  I know our Heavenly Father listens, and answers prayers!

I have one lingering desire from this experience and it is that the young men will remember the power of prayer.  I know there will be more difficult challenges ahead for them.  I know that if they will pray for each other they will be blessed.

Daniel Burr

Powered by WordPress