26 April 2010

Believing without Seeing...

...shouldn't be difficult, right? I mean, Heavenly Father and Jesus love us and want what's best for us: trusting Them and believing in outcomes we cannot see (but that They have told us were coming) should come easily and naturally for us. Then why don't they come easily sometimes--especially in situations where faith is critical for survival?

How did Alma and his people "submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord" when their circumstance didn't change? (Mosiah 24:15)

How was Nephi able to continue trying to obtain the brass plates when the first two attempts failed, his older brothers abused him, and he had no third attempt plan except to go forth "not knowing beforehand the things which [he] should do" (1 Nephi 4:6)?

How could the Nephites awaiting the sign of Christ's birth continue to believe when they were taunted by the unbelievers ("Behold the time is past, and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled; therefore your joy and your faith concerning this thing hath been vain," 3 Nephi 1:6) and the believers faced certain death if the sign did not come on the appointed day? Somehow they were able to "watch steadfastly" for the sign to be given "that they might know that their faith had not been vain" (3 Nephi 1:8)--even as their unbelieving brethren plotted destruction.

I marvel at the faith and trust of these and countless other men and women. I don't know how they were able to do what they did. They were/are just a child of God like I am. What did/do they know that *I* don't know? What did/do they understand that *I* don't understand? How were they able to access the enabling power of the Atonement in their hour of need--and believe that it would save them, regardless of the actual outcome?

As I ponder these questions and seek insight for my own personal struggles of faith, I wonder if I can follow their examples. Am I capable of believing without seeing, of trusting in promises given with no visible evidence that they will actually be fulfilled? Am I capable of trusting the Lord and believing that He will help me?
My mind knows more than my heart is willing to trust: I know facts, stories, and truths...but my heart knowledge (experiencing and feeling these truths for myself) is very limited and therefore I hesitate to allow myself to be vulnerable when I don't know what the outcome will be. In fact, my automatic defense against being vulnerable and risking being hurt is to emotionally shut down--to distance myself from potential hurt and from those (even Heavenly Father and Jesus) who might hurt me. Not a healthy way to handle things, certainly; I'm trying to 'rewire' my response to reach out to and depend upon the Lord instead of withdrawing from Him but don't feel that I'm making much progress, particularly in the midst of my current trials of my faith.

When have you faced trials of your faith? What did you do to overcome them? How were you able to trust the Lord, especially at times when it seemed 'foolish' to do so (like when the children of Israel stood at the edge of the Red Sea and didn't see how they could cross it)?

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