“If you are on the right path, it will always be uphill.”

art by Yongsung Kim

A young man was stationed to an infantry battalion in Hawaii and his commander, Thomas U. Greer, took his battalion on a week-long, grueling exercise up the volcanic rock in the Kahuku Mountains.

The last day of the training exercise came, and the soldiers were all excited to get back home and go to the beach. But the young man’s company was asked to do one final task: establish defensive positions by creating foxholes—holes in the ground to protect themselves from enemy fire.

With the volcanic rock surrounding them and insufficient tools, their company decided to do “simulated foxholes,” marking out where they put foxholes instead of digging them.

Col. Greer was disgusted by their efforts and told them they would stay all day making foxholes until they looked like the ones in the manual.

Col. Greer’s name was cursed many times that day. But he knew someone none of them knew yet—this was their last training exercise and they would soon be sent to Vietnam.

They reached the defensive perimeter in Vietnam and the order went out to establish defensive positions. While other battalions made shallow holes and went to bed, this young man’s company dug deep.

That night, they were attacked and all of the young man’s company was safe. Col. Greer’s name was spoken of again—this time in reverence.

Isaiah 52:7 reads, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation.”

Good tidings, peace, salvation. All wonderful things!! But those beautiful mountains are hard to climb.

Like Col. Greer’s message (and Abinadi’s message for that matter—Mosiah 12:20-21), just because the instruction is good, doesn’t mean it will be easy or popular.

Those good tidings take great sacrifice,

Our peace takes repentance,

Salvation takes work.

We need to dig deep, like those soldiers,

And climb the mountain.

As President Eyring said, “If you are on the right path, it will always be uphill.”

But the views are worth it.

Truly, our God reigneth.

And that is the best news.

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