Spencer W. Kimball, former president of the LDS (Mormon) Church, once told about a huge tidal wave that hit Hilo, Hawaii back in 1946. At times the water rose to over forty feet high. The destruction was devastating.
“…. Where one of our little chapels had stood, nothing remained but the foundation. More than a hundred people lost their lives; as many more were injured; thousands were left homeless…. One woman told how she received a telephone message from friends to get out and to leave – that a tidal wave was coming. She looked out to sea and saw the monstrous wave approaching, like a mountain. She and her husband picked up the baby and ran for their lives up the hill. However, two of their little girls were away from home playing near a clump of lauhala trees. They saw the wave coming, ran into the trees, and held tightly with their arms around the trunks. The first gigantic wave washed entirely over them, but they held their breath and clung with all their might until the water receded and their heads were again above water. When the wave receded, they quickly ran up the hill before the succeeding waves came. Together, the family watched from the safety of the hill as their home disappeared under the pounding of the waves.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Hold Fast to the Iron Rod,” Ensign, Nov 1978, 4)
The youth of today are daily attacked by Satan’s damaging forces. Wave after wave of temptations constantly crash against the walls of righteousness parents and leaders have helped to build in order to protect these precious children of God.
President Kimball continues:
“We, too, are faced with powerful, destructive forces unleashed by the adversary. Waves of sin, wickedness, immorality, degradation, tyranny, deceitfulness, conspiracy, and dishonesty threaten all of us. They come with great power and speed and will destroy us if we are not watchful.”
We must be ever vigilant in keeping sin at bay. It seems easier when the choices are small: not watching PG-13 movies when we’re not yet thirteen, keeping our speech and dress modest, obeying the Word of Wisdom, etc. If we are constant in making good choices, when we find ourselves hit with the big temptations we can be like the young girls who held tight to the trees, and find ourselves strong enough to hold tight to righteousness.
Satan knows enough not to lure us with the big things right away. He’ll start with something small, something to catch our attention. It could start with a friend daring us to take one little sip of alcohol. It might be the thought of dating a few days before our sixteenth birthday. Perhaps we’ve been invited to a party where a few kids might be doing drugs. We won’t participate, of course, but we have knowingly placed ourselves in proximity of temptation.
Friends are one of Satan’s greatest tools. He knows when the weaker friend is swayed he or she can become a big influence on the strong. Instead of holding tight to our friends (for they are just as human and therefore just as imperfect as we are), we must look to steadier trees upon which we can hold: our parents, church leaders, the priesthood, scriptures, prophets, prayer, and the Lord, just to name a few.
In an ever-changing world we will find those who do not believe as we do poking fun at our standards. Let them. These standards may seem out of date, but they will keep us much happier than we would be if we followed the way of the world.
President Kimball said:
“The Lord holds forth a glorious promise to those who love him and demonstrate this love by faithful, devoted service and the living of his eternal principles. When the winds of change blow fiercely and the waves sweep over us, we have a tree or rod of principle to which we can cling for safety. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ which has been restored to the earth in its fullness.”
Hold tight to things you are taught at church. Be assured that when life gets stormy, the gospel is what will keep you anchored.