Moving Forward When the World Tries to Crush You
We often laugh about the idea that our parents or grandparents had to trudge uphill through five feet of snow everyday just to get to school and had to do so both ways! It may not be terribly far from the truth in some instances but for the most part, it is an exaggeration. The image of trudging and fighting your way through the resistant mounds of snow brings a meaningful image to my mind. I can easily imagine the burn in my legs and the pounding of my heart as well as frozen fingers, toes and face. Looking forward would feel overwhelming and discouraging. Having to do it there and back? No thanks.
Sometimes, life can feel overwhelming, as if the universe is intent on seeing us fail when hardship is stacked upon hardship. There are sometimes seasons of struggle when “Murphy’s Law” is seemingly in force. Don’t give up, however. Sometimes you only need to ride it out. Other times may require some planning, soul searching and serious faith.
In a recent popular family movie, one of the main characters is in the depths of bitterness. She sings about taking one step, and another step because it is all she can do. When the world seems to be trying to crush us, we can take one step at a time.
I have two friends in particular whose lives are…well, interesting. I have never seen opposition to the degree these individuals face except for in the example of Joseph Smith. One is a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who works hard to keep her life in line with God’s. The other person is a relatively new acquaintance of mine who joined the Church less than two years ago. Between them both, I have seen friends and family turn on them in the blink of an eye, accidents, brain injuries, abuse, all kinds of offenses, unjust relationship struggles, and more. I have been in awe of their continual struggles as well as how they have handled the opposition. I saw the focus on one step at a time, and with eyes on the blessings of the temple and eternity.
I too have sometimes felt crushed underneath responsibilities, daily duties with family, church callings, financial matters, car problems, relationship struggles, etc., but those tiny steps forward, which lead to hope beyond the here and now, will bring us peace and a greater strength.
Elder Jeffery R. Holland spoke about such hope amid trial. Long ago, as he packed up his little family in the car to move across the country, he and his precious cargo were left stranded twice in the very same spot with a smoking radiator. He shared, “Just two weeks ago, I drove by that exact spot. For just an instant I thought perhaps I saw on that side road an old car with a devoted young wife and two little children. Just ahead of them I imagined that I saw a young fellow walking toward Kanarraville, the weight of a young father’s fear evident in his pace.
In that imaginary instant, I couldn’t help calling out to him: “Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead.” Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.”1
If we turn to our Lord and Savior, we will be strengthened in our plight. He literally took upon Himself the weight of the world when He suffered every sin, every heartache, every harsh feeling of darkness possible. He knows how we feel, and He knows how to succor us. Jesus Christ, the greatest champion of the outcasts, of the downtrodden, of the hopeless and despairing gave everything that He might carry our burdens for us and trust in Him. So keep trudging through that snow uphill, both ways. There is hope and rest ahead through Him who paid the ultimate price.
1. “An High Priest of Good Things to Come,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, General Conference October 1999, Saturday Afternoon Session