The summit of Mount Timpanogos is 11,749 feet, second highest peak in the Wasatch Mountain Front. I consider the hike from the Timpooneke Trail head to be one of the best hikes in Utah. Reaching the summit will require 4 1/2 hours. The summit is 7.5 miles one-way with an elevation gain of 4580′ on a well-maintained trail. That is a round trip of 15 miles and elevation change of more than 9000 feet. To me that is incredible.
A few years ago, I made the climb. It was my second attempt. The first time, we left at 9PM at night and our goal was to summit the mountain by sunrise. The night hike was a challenge all of its own. Virtual blackness combined with the elevation gain in the wee hours of the morning through which we hiked was more than I could accomplish. For those of you familiar with the climb, I almost made it to the saddle. I know that was nearly the top, but my strength and endurance were gone.
I made a conscious decision to delay my goal and my climbing party supported my decision. They descended the mountain without reaching the summit either in order to guide me back home. Fortunately, my goal was realized a year later. I still appreciate the experience and ecstasy one feels when achieving that goal. I don’t know if I have another climb of that magnitude in me, but I relish the achievement.
Today I am grateful I can relive the incredible journey time and again through others’ eyes and experiences. YouTube gives us dozens of opportunities to summit the peak and experience the ecstasy of a successful climb. And even if I am never able to summit the mountain again, I can relive the experience vicariously through the success of others who celebrate and share this incredible opportunity. To me that is wonderful. I can relive climbing the second tallest peak on the Wasatch Front without having to expend the effort and strength and endurance I probably no longer have.
We are the average of the individuals with whom we spend the most time. That is a noteworthy realization for me, because I frequent the association of so many great people daily. I am surrounded by some incredible people in the form of an amazing family and friends that have literally changed my life, but I also have the good fortune of digitally rubbing shoulders with prophets and apostles and many others of similar capacity. And so do you.
The Church website is filled with dozens of talks from incredible people. Some are often in the lime light, others are not, but they all have in common great messages of hope in the Savior Jesus Christ and our intimate association with him as our personal Redeemer. I love the concept of the Savior Jesus Christ redeeming us from a debt we cannot pay.
Elder Boyd K. Packer uses a metaphor as he talks about a young man who fails to pay his debt but is saved from the grasp of justice through the mediation of a friend. In this analogy, we are the debtor pleading for mercy. The creditor demands justice. There they were: One meting out justice, the other pleading for mercy. Neither could prevail except at the expense of the other.
“If you do not forgive the debt there will be no mercy,” the debtor pleaded.
“If I do, there will be no justice,” was the creditor’s reply.
Both laws, it seemed, could not be served. They are two eternal ideals that appear to contradict one another. Is there no way for justice to be fully served and mercy also?
There is a way! The law of justice can be fully satisfied and mercy can be fully extended—but it takes someone else. The Savior Jesus Christ is our Mediator with the Father and our Redeemer from death of the body and the spirit. He is our Savior. Because of him, we have hope.
Jesus paid our debt in full.
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. Alma 7:11
Like my colleagues who stayed by me and helped me until I had summited the climb up Mount Timpanogos, my father and mother support and inspire me to press forward. When the going gets rough, I can rely on their help, love, and assistance to enable me to reach my destination.
But it is the Savior who is by our side every step of the way. He doesn’t postpone his assistance, waiting at the top for us to finally reach him. He provides help daily—encouragement, direction, blessings, and a perfect example—so we achieve our potentials and not journey alone. The enabling power of the atonement gives you and me the strength to change our circumstances and the hope to endure to the end. He is the Living Water on our journey. His is the sustenance and life enabling power to help us reach our potential. His empathy and mercy reach out to save us.
My wife hikes the trail to the Timp Caves multiple times a week. By contrast that is 3 mile round trip and a climb of roughly 1000 feet. We see marvelous nature, spectacular vistas, and enjoy exercise and social interaction with one another.
Though this hike is much less strenuous than summiting the mountain, it still takes significant effort, time, and water along the way. Yet every time I do it, I am reminded of the journey to the mountain peak.
Similarly, as we cast our daily burdens on the Savior, we are reminded that he alone bears our burdens to salvation in the kingdom of God. His grace is sufficient. And learning of him and his mission gives us hope in the future, strength to carry on, and power to overcome the formidable challenges of life.
Life is like a journey: bends in the trail, up-and-downs, and significant obstacles. Gratefully, we are able to notice the beautiful vistas along the way as we climb, and the spectacular view from the top is worth all the effort. I gratefully acknowledge what brought me to where I am today.
Jesus Christ is the Light and Life of our lives.
28 ¶ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.