Biking for 12 hours was not exactly what Morris Christensen, student activities advisor at BYU-Idaho, had in mind for himself one evening while living in Alaska. However, the lesson he learned from it was one he will never forget.
In his BYU-Idaho devotional address, Christensen told the story of his bike ride with his wife Heidi through Denali National Park. It was originally supposed to be a five-hour ride, but due to physical exhaustion, it took 12. Christensen doubted whether they were going to make their 85-mile goal that night.
Voices in his head told him to “lay down,” but he knew this wasn’t an option. He was determined to press forward and they both did.
The Christensen’s adopted a motto for difficult and challenging times that would come.
“When things get tough, when things aren’t going your way, stand tall and hold fast! Don’t give up,” he said.
Endurance seems to be something on the students’ minds right now, Christensen said in an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio.
He taught the students about holding fast to three spiritual things--- the word of God, our covenants and the Savior.
Outdoor activities that require us to cling on, such as climbing or sailing, are what Christensen imagines when we are counseled in The Book of Mormon to cling on to the iron rod. It is essential to hold fast to the word of God, he said.
He then reminded students of the covenants we make at baptism and how important it is for us to hold fast to those promises and the covenants we make in the temple. There is power in holding fast to our covenants.
In the devotional talk, he quoted Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “What is the source of such moral and spiritual power, and how do we obtain it? The source is God. Our access to that power is through our covenants with Him.”
Lastly, we are to hold fast to the Savior.
In the adventure world when there is risk involved, we do things with a partner, he explained. The same is with our spiritual lives, we must have the Savior as our companion.
“[Jesus Christ] will belay us, He will rescue us, He will come for us when we call out to Him and He will go before us, Christensen said. “However, He will not do these things for us if we choose not to turn to Him, if we choose not to attach ourselves to Him and if we choose not to follow Him.”
The many experiences Christensen has had in the outdoors has taught him to move forward, stand tall, pick up your head, put one foot in front of the other and hold fast.