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April 18, 2020 – Hold to the rod

As we progress down the covenant path with our hand firmly affixed on the iron rod, we hear and see those “mocking and pointing their fingers” from the great and spacious building (1 Nephi 8:27). We may not consciously intend to do so, but sometimes we pause and shift our gaze to see what all the commotion is. Some of us may even let go of the iron rod and move closer for a better view. Others may fall away entirely “because of those that were scoffing at them.

Elder Jack N. Gerard, “Now Is the Time”, General Conference, October 2018

When I hit the stairs to go up into my office or bedroom, I hold firmly to the railing, or rod affixed to the railing. Now, I do this because I have slipped and fallen a few times because of my pride. The railing has saved me more than I care to admit. Without it, I would tumble down the stairs.

I do this everytime I climb those stairs now. During the day, when I can see the end, and sometimes in the dark, when I can’t see.

But… sometimes I think still that I don’t need help climbing the stairs. Why do I think like that? Not holding on has resulted in me stumbling, sometimes falling. So, why would I do that?

I think like this for two reasons (although now my thinking has adjusted) . One, my prior experience, before I became limited, has taught me that I can easily do this. I don’t need help, I used to think. Why? It’s just one foot in front of the other. Anyone that can walk can climb stairs. But we don’t always know what we have until it is gone.

And, two, why should I rely on a seemingly insignificant railing to hold on to? How is that going to help me? It isn’t worth anything.

But my thinking took a bit to catch up with my reality….because of pride. My safety is extremely valuable. To me. To my family and loved ones. To my friends. Even to my acquaintances. So, if I need to use a tool to guide me to the end, then I will.

So now, for safety, I hold on anyway, and tightly I might add.

As I was climbing in the dark one night, holding firmly to the railing for safety, I thought immediately of Lehi’s dream of the iron rod. I’ve thought of this a couple times actually, climbing and not being able to see where I was planting my feet.

Just as the railing helps me climb when I can’t see, our Father has given us a railing, “a rod of iron”, to grasp onto as we climb in this world, many times not being able to see directly in front of us, and certainly not the destination.

Sometimes, we can take this tool, this liahona, for granted. I have and still do, but not as often now. Because of pride, we think we don’t need assistance. Sometimes, we may even think of how reading words in the Book of Mormon can help. It’s even easier to take it for granted when we CAN see where we are putting our feet. What happens when we can’t see?

We are all spiritually limited. Spiritually imbalanced, if you will….even disabled. We all need a railing, an iron rod, to hold onto as we climb. Otherwise, we’ll stumble and even tumble back down. So, with each step we take, let’s hold on to the rod. Don’t let go. It may be easy to see most often, it may be so dark that we can’t see where each foot is going. And there will probably be others making fun of us for holding on. Let’s do it anyway.


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