Skip to main content

hanging on

I should like to spend the few minutes I stand before you today to salute a group of people who have developed what I believe to be a Christlike characteristic, and that is the ability to “hang on.” At this very moment, there is a man, a good member of the Church, who hovers between life and death in a nearby hospital. In the last few weeks he has withstood crisis after crisis; and yet to the amazement of all, he still hangs on. I know not whether the Lord will ordain that he should ultimately live or die at this time, but I do know there is something noble about his tenacious fight for life and the desire to hang on. In the lives of each of us come these trials—trials of all kinds which shake us to the very core and cause us to explore to the very depths our ability to hang on.
I think of the person who, in the quiet of night, could not be persuaded to compromise virtue and decides instead to hang on, though the temptation is great.
I think of those who have withstood the test of many years, some of whom are confined and bedridden and who, in spite of the infirmities that age brings, will not give up. I see etched in the faces of these wonderful older people something of our pioneer heritage—lives so filled with determination and faith, lives so filled with the overcoming of adversity and trial that by their nature they simply can’t let go.
It reminds me of two trees that were close to my home when I was growing up. The one was a Russian olive and grew right in our yard. It was watered every time the lawn was watered, and in that kind of protected environment it grew to be a beautiful tree. Yet one night a tremendous wind came up. Trees all over town were blown down, and with them went our Russian olive. We had watered it so well that the roots did not have to reach down into the soil; and because they were so close to the surface, the tree toppled over.
The second tree withstood the gale. It was a tremendous cottonwood, which still stands in the lane just half a block from where I was born. This tree was in the fullness of its growth when I was a child. It has always stood by itself, completely exposed to the elements, with nothing but a ditch running by, which most of the time is dry. It is gnarled and tough, and its roots have had to sink deep in order to drink of the water of life; but because its roots were forced downward, it lives. I was out home the other day and noticed that most of the trees around this cottonwood are gone. But in all of its power and majesty, it still hangs on.
I see in many people this same kind of beauty. Adversity and trial have driven the roots of faith and testimony deep in order to tap the reservoir of spiritual strength that comes from such experiences. By nature they know how to stand and fight and hang on.
Elder Loren C. Dunn, April 1974 General Conference


Popular posts from this blog

The God of the 4th Watch (S. Michael Wilcox)

The scriptures are our Father in Heaven’s letters; only He knows more than I did as a father what you and I would need.  There are times in our lives when we need to open the letter and communicate with our Father in Heaven, and understand what He is like and His concern for us.  I would like to share this morning, with you, four letters from my Father in Heaven that have been very important to me—that I hope will be indicative of the power that the scriptures can be for us as we face different trials and challenges of our lives.  The first letter is called "The Fourth Watch." That letter comes from the sixth chapter of Mark.  The Savior has fed the five thousand that day, and in the late afternoon, early evening, He is sending his apostles down into the ship. He will dismiss the multitude. He wishes to pray that evening, and then He will meet the apostles a little later on the shore and they are to pick Him up.  In late afternoon, early evening, the apostles get on the sh

The Exquisite Gift of the Son (Matthew S. Holland)

  For anyone today with pains so intense or so unique that you feel no one else could fully appreciate them, you may have a point. There may be no family member, friend, or priesthood leader—however sensitive and well-meaning each may be—who knows exactly what you are feeling or has the precise words to help you heal. But know this: there is One who understands perfectly what you are experiencing, who is “mightier than all the earth,” 17   and who is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that [you] ask or think.” 18   The process will unfold in His way and on His schedule, but Christ stands ready   always   to heal every ounce and aspect of your agony. As you allow Him to do so, you will discover that your suffering was not in vain. Speaking of many of the Bible’s greatest heroes and their griefs, the Apostle Paul said that “God … provided some better things for them through their sufferings, for without sufferings they could not be made perfect.” 19  You see, the very nature of

Bread or Stones: Understanding the God We Pray to (W. Michael Wilcox)

Amazing talk about the nature of God, answers to prayer, adversity, etc.: Bread or Stones: Understanding the God We Pray to Devotional Talk Given at  Brigham Young University-Hawaii  March 31, 2009 S. Michael Wilcox  Religion Instructor & Author CES Institute of Religion A number of years ago when my daughter was about your age, she was just out of high school, she went to one semester at BYU and then she got an opportunity to go to the Soviet Union (former Soviet Union) and teach English in Russia. Now this was before e-mail and cell phones, and communications between the United States and the Soviet Union were not going to be really good. She was eighteen; we were a little bit worried that there might be moments or times when she would need to talk with a parent, and not be able to because of communication difficulties.  So I decided that I would write her a series