During a youth conference in the Uintah Mountains, I convinced my dad to hike with me to the top of a mountain. While waiting for him, I sprawled out on a rock and fell asleep. However, the medication I was taking at the time warned against staying out in the sun for too long, so when I awoke, I had a pounding headache.
My dad and I headed out, but I knew there was a problem. With every step I took, my head pounded, and I began to feel lightheaded and dizzy. I got slower and slower and fell farther behind my dad. All I could think about was the pain I was in, and how I wasn’t going to be able to finish.
My dad guided me to a rock, where we sat down. When I explained what was wrong and that I wanted to turn around, he offered comfort. He said, “I would do anything to take the pain away from you. I wish I could feel it for you, just so you wouldn’t have to feel an ounce of it.” He reminded me of my desire to hike the mountain and offered to go slower so that we could finish.
Once again we began. This time I was in the front so I could take it at my own pace. Although the headache was still painful, I was no longer sick to my stomach and dizzy, and we proceeded to work our way up the rocks.
My dad had just given me an example of true love and of what Christ has done for all of us. Christ took our sins upon Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross so that we, through repentance, might not have to suffer and so that we may return to our Heavenly Father forever and be with our families. I’ve had many lessons on the Savior’s love, but until that moment I hadn’t ever truly made that connection. I not only realized how much my dad loved me but also how much my Savior and Heavenly Father must love me.
Later, when my dad passed away unexpectedly, once again I learned the importance of our Savior’s sacrifice. Christ died and was resurrected so that I, too, could be resurrected and live with my dad forever. In addition, the Holy Ghost can comfort anyone whenever needed. He not only can be our companion to help us make good choices as He leads and guides us to happiness, but He also comforts us when we are sick and feel too weak to go on. The peaceful spirit from the Holy Ghost is given to those who choose to live righteously and have that blessing in their lives. That gift is given to us by a loving Heavenly Father so that we might not have to feel the bitter pains of mortality by ourselves.
The comfort I received that January night when my dad passed away has not left me. I know that in life we are given trials so that we can be strengthened and made stronger, and through prayer we are given the extra strength needed to complete the task in front of us. This is where growth comes from, and we need growth to strengthen our testimonies and help us progress in our journey.