A few years ago my husband and I took a long evening walk on a trail near our mountain cabin. As we turned back in the dim light, we noticed something rather dark on the trail a distance in front of us, but we couldn’t quite make out what it was. However, when an entire family of skunks ran past going the other way — without taking any notice of us — we knew it must be an animal they wanted to avoid.
We were on the only trail that led to the safety of our cabin, and we inched along it, following the dark, swaying shape we quickly realized was a bear. Luckily, we were downwind from it and the bear wasn’t aware of our presence. We figured as long as we could keep it in sight, it would eventually pass the cabin and we could get inside.
Then, just before a river bridge, the bear left the trail, and we could no longer see it. We’d been anxiously frightened before, but now our hearts really began to thump. In that shadowy twilight, we yearned to be home. Making as much noise as we could, we approached the bridge then peered down off the path. That’s how we came to look a very large grizzly right in the eye.
Happily, the bear that stood between us and our earthly home was more interested in foraging for its usual food than in chasing us. After passing it, I took off running. My husband walked backward the rest of the way just to keep his eye on the danger.
As I remember this experience, I also think about all the things that can stand between us and our safe, heavenly home. It could be a lack of faith. Perhaps a temporal challenge that seems just too hard to overcome. Maybe it’s indifference to keeping the Lord’s commandments. We all have our own struggles.
But we don’t have to let any of them stop our progression. When we realize they are obstacles, we can look them in the eye and remember the Savior descended below them all so He could lead us safely home. There isn’t anything He doesn’t understand. There isn’t anyone He won’t help. There isn’t any heart He can’t enter. He can clear our path to safety and peace. All we have to do is ask.