Details“And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost” (1 Nephi 8:23). Yet “he [also] saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to [that] rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree,” meaning the tree of life (1 Nephi 8:30).
The whole idea behind this scene has been so strong to me - that we never reach to rod alone – someone, a parent, teacher, missionary, family member or leader - grasps our hand and places it on the rod (come to think of it, maybe multiple times) as we learn and grow in the gospel. The path itself - at least for me and many people I know - is our life, and is rarely flat and level. Some of us are tempted to hold on from the other side and try and balance on that uneven edge between what we know we should do and the excitement that comes from living life on the edge. But even with staying on the path and following the rod we will have challenges enough that will bring us to our knees often... but the journey will strengthen us as we meet each obstacle and gain strength from the rod. And while travelling on the rod - even though we haven't mastered the climb ourselves - part of our responsibility is to look around for those who are trying to find their way back. We each have to find our way on our own to a certain extent, and then the Lord sends someone now and then to help us with their encouragement to get to the rod. Someone that person can see better from their vantage point, perhaps, and can warn of the upcoming pitfalls and crevices, etc. that will deter us from getting to the rod.