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Devotional: Why mountains?

In Tuesday’s campus Devotional, director of BYU Broadcasting Michael Dunn taught students the importance of maintaining courage and faith throughout life’s mountains and molehills.

Dunn took his audience on a “hike” through his Devotional and shared three principles he’d learned while hiking and mountain climbing.

1. Children of God are drawn to challenges.

Dunn said children of God are meant to be dynamic, not static. Growth only comes when we are constantly in motion, changing and learning from inherent stumbles. If travel were limited to flat roads and smooth sailing, there is a potential to impede progression and foster laziness.

Mountains are good for our souls, and this is by divine design.

“It is only in testing our limits that we find out how limitless we are” said Dunn. “It is only then – when we push ourselves beyond our conceived capacity – that we discover within ourselves the courage, fortitude and faith to continue the journey.”

2. Obstacles will always fall upon the path.

As we face inevitable challenges and proverbial mountains, we will likely encounter at least one obstacle that seems harder than the rest. This obstacle tests our resilience and often makes us wonder if the journey is worth it.

Dunn offered words of encouragement to those in the middle of tackling their obstacle. He said that the covenant hill is not only uphill, but often strewn with these hurdles and hitches. This has nothing to do with the capability of the climber.

“Our perception of what we think we can and cannot do is different from the reality of what we can and cannot do,” Dunn said.

3. Faith is stronger than fear.

Dunn told the story of him and his wife climbing Mount Teton in Wyoming. Though he has a crippling fear of heights, he decided the mountain was worth the climb.

It wasn’t the mountains and their beauty that frightened Dunn, but the technical rock protrusion that they would encounter on their climb.

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The “Wall Street Step Across” is a 3-foot-wide climb onto a 15-foot ledge. As the climber walks along the ledge, it slowly but drastically tilts outwards while narrowing down to a width of a few feet across at the abrupt end of the ledge. The climber is unable to see where he is stepping; he can only see the depth of the cliff.

Dunn became increasingly nervous the closer to the ledge the travels brought them. Losing sleep and his appetite, he wasn’t sure he would be capable of the leap.

“It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it;” Dunn said, “It was that I simply didn’t have the courage to conquer this fear. In that moment, and after a deep calming breath, I somehow bubbled up enough courage to make a very simple decision. I decided that, instead of churning over and over again what disaster might befall me, I would instead focus on the basics and on my guide’s example.”

After he had reached the other side, amid his relief, Dunn felt a tug around his waist. He realized that, throughout his leap, he had been attached to a rope secured to his harness, with the climbing guide holding on tightly. While he had been the one to take the step without knowing he had help, the help had been there.

“He gave me enough slack in my rope to let me do it on my own,” Dunn said.

The Lord offers the climbers of life’s mountains similar and more secure protections through their own pitfalls and obstacles. The help that He offers can help bring the strength to know that throughout the trials of life, faith is stronger than fear.

“Your mountain is indeed waiting and ready to tackle,” Dunn said. “And as you take it on, you will find that inner- and yet-to-be discovered strength by combining the formidable tandem of courage and faith, combined with God’s promise of protecting and enabling blessing.”

Dunn closed with a reminder to those in attendance to periodically look toward Y Mountain and let it serve as a reminder that when they wonder, “Why mountains?” they will remember that mountains are there to bless them, rather than to befuddle them.

Next Devotional: Brigitte Madrian, BYU Marriott School of Business

Brigitte Madrian, dean of the Marriott School of Business, will deliver the next BYU Devotional on Tuesday, October 8, at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center.

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