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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Mountains to Climb"

In April 2012 General Conference, President Henry B. Eyring gave a talk called "Mountains to Climb".  It is phenomenal, and if you want to read it, you can find it here.  For those of you who don't know, General Conference is a huge LDS meeting that is held twice a year, in April and October.  It goes for six hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday of one weekend.  The Prophet, the Twelve Apostles, and other leaders of the LDS church speak.  

This conference was at the end of my freshman year of college.  During the following summer, I decided to study the talks from General Conference to see what I could learn from them to help me have the Spirit more.  Towards the middle of the summer, I started studying this talk.  I would listen to at least once a day, and by the end of the week, I felt like I knew it pretty well.  In the talk, President Eyring talks about a time when he prayed for mountains to climb.  He says,

"Within a day or two my prayer was answered. The hardest trial of my life surprised and humbled me. It provided me a twofold lesson. First, I had clear proof that God heard and answered my prayer of faith. But second, I began a tutorial that still goes on to learn about why I felt with such confidence that night that a great blessing could come from adversity to more than compensate for any cost."

Later on in his talk, he says that it was unwise for him to ask for trials when he wasn't quite ready for them.  As I thought about this, I decided to pray for strength, that when my "mountains" came, I would be ready.  When I started to pray, I felt like something was wrong.  I thought about it for a while, and then tried again.  I realized that my prayer was what was wrong, and that I needed to pray for something else.  God wanted me to pray for mountains.  

This was terrifying for me!  I had just read the words of an Apostle of God saying that he shouldn't have prayed for mountains at such a young age, and now I felt prompted to ask for my own.  So, I kept praying.  The longer I prayed, the more I felt peace about it.  So I said a prayer asking for mountains to climb.  I felt excitement and peace as I did so. 

Expecting to have my trials show up as quickly as President Eyring's had, I was surprised when nothing huge happened for a whole week, and then a month.  Hard things that I had already been struggling with kept happening, but nothing new pounced on my life.  I kept praying that I would be able to learn what God needed me to learn, though.  

Yesterday I was watching my little sisters as they were sledding.  At one point, I turned around to check for strange cars (since my parents live in the middle of no-where, that happens sometimes) and I paused when I saw the mountains behind my parent's house.  I remembered my prayer from over a year ago, and thought about what my mountains have been.  In the past year alone, I have had some of the most beautiful experiences, and some of the hardest experiences of my life.  The past three years have been a whirlwind of terribly hard times and wonderful, unforgettable moments.  

One of the biggest thing I have learned is that "mountains" aren't bad.  They are hard, and they push us to our breaking point.  But if we let them, they can bring us closer to God.  And if we come closer to God, our breaking point becomes a mere stepping stone as our capacity to endure increases.  The biggest thing that I have learned is that we don't ever have to be alone.  God is just a prayer away.