A number of years ago a young man who is an excellent skier went with friends to the wilds of the Yukon to experience the ultimate in deep-powder skiing. A helicopter took them high into the mountains, far away from safety, ski patrols, and hospitals. They were virtually hundreds of miles from anywhere with nothing but 8,000 feet of vertical drop before them. Their guide was a 70-year-old man, small and seemingly fragile. He told them to stay directly behind him and he would get them down safely, but if they veered off to the right or left, chances were they would fall into a crevice or onto the sharp rocks at the bottom of unseen cliffs.
Suddenly my friend realized that his life was in the hands of this old gentleman whom he hardly knew and who certainly didn’t look like a man who could ski long miles through heavy powder to safety. The young man felt his stomach knot up. But suddenly the old man dropped over the edge, and one by one his friends followed. There was no other way down, and he quickly forced his muscles to move him over the edge and onto the path of the guide now moving quickly away from him.
The descent was awesome. His doubts about the guide were dispelled as he followed a path that led him past sheer cliffs he would not have seen until it was too late. As he noticed these death traps out of the corners of his eyes, he clung even more desperately to the path his guide was making some distance in front of him.
His confidence in the old gentleman was complete when he suddenly stopped them from crossing a seemingly wide-open snowfield. It looked like some of the finest powder he had ever seen, but his first impulse to reject his guide’s words was replaced by the realization that his guide had brought him this far in safety and now was no time to stop trusting him. So he followed as they labored through heavy snow to climb up and around the snowfield, finally arriving below it. Stopping, they turned and looked behind them. What they saw made him take a deep breath. The snowfield wasn’t a snowfield at all, but a crevice several hundred feet deep with a snow bridge two or three feet thick. Had they attempted to cross it they would have surely broken through and plummeted to their deaths on the jagged rocks and ice below.
By the time they had reached the bottom, my friend was humbled by the ability of his “fragile” guide. Through years of preparation, the guide had gained a knowledge that went much deeper than the eye could see. His life was dedicated to keeping people like my friend from serious harm. Over the next few days they would ski some of the most beautiful country in the world, dangerous country with disaster hidden in its deep snow. But their guide was ever vigilant in protecting them, and they were able to relax and really enjoy the marvelous, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Following the prophet is not much different. Although somewhat older than most of us, his experience, knowledge, and, most importantly, his ability to be directed by the Lord, will lead us safely to our destinations. But we must trust him and follow him very carefully. It is only when we decide that we have a better way that we endanger our spiritual lives. Believe in him, and remember, God chose him. He is the prophet and God will direct and advise him. A safer course cannot be found.
Follow the prophet.