Faith is something we talk so much about. In fact, I would argue that is one of the most common words I hear used as we share the Gospel message. We’ll often share how our message “strengthens” faith or “provides” the faith necessary to endure all life’s experiences. Responses vary from complementing our faith to explaining they already have faith and, occasionally, to asking us to share more.
However, more recently I’ve realized that I hardly understand this highly discussed topic. Sure, I’ve heard “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, footnote b – GR assurance, basis, foundation) and “faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things” (Alma 32:21). True to the Faith says “Faith is a principle of action and power” (Faith). So, how does a hope in things which are unseen equate to a principle of “action and power”? And I’ll be honest, I don’t really have a complete answer. What I do have, though, is my testimony. I have watched faith at work, for me personally and those around me.
Faith isn’t a cheap, spoken trust in Deity and His power. It’s expressed through action, it’s based on a correct understanding of God’s character, and it’s kindled when we hear the testimony of others who have great faith. back now, as I think of all the times I heard people bear testimony of the power of faith in church, I realize that I didn’t get it. And even still, I can hardly grasp it.
Would I say I’m a man of great faith? Honestly, I’m unsure. I’m not sure I could face the trials of Job or remain calm in the fiery furnaces of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. I don’t know if I’d have the courage to stand with Ammon against the Lamanite robbers or declare the word of the Lord next to Samuel the Lamanite on the city wall.
This I do know: I know that I can put all my trust in God. It’s true, sometimes (seemingly often) putting my trust in God and doing His will result in something entirely different than what I expected or wanted. But that’s okay. God knows what I need. And for me, that’s what faith has come to mean to me: knowing that I don’t usually understand, yet still choosing to trust in God enough that I’m moved to action and I press forward.
I’ve seen the power faith has because when God asks us to knock that door or share a particular lesson, there are unseen miracles the Lord has prepared, hidden only by time and accessible only when I follow the direction He gives.
I hope that all makes sense. I sorta just cut a piece of my thoughts out and pasted it on the page.
This last week we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders. And the best part? Well, the night we stayed over at their place, they got a call from the Assistants that they needed us to be at the church to give them some snow shovels for the storm the next day. They called us at 10:25 p.m. So, Elder Sundet and I headed over to the church and didn’t end up getting home until midnight.
The next day, it snowed a whole ton! Before we headed home, we had a snowball fight with the Elders. Let’s just say that Tom Brady would have been jealous of my arm. I don’t want to boast too much, but I was basically the Snowball Champion of Ultimate Strength! I know, I know, I’m pretty humble brushes off shoulder, pats self on back.
Okay, so that wasn’t the entire exchange. Really, most of the exchange I spent with Elder Thomas. We had some incredible experiences, including finding some less actives and explaining to a man that he would see his wife again someday.
A note on that last one, we started talking to this 85-year old bodybuilder outside of a shop on Jamaica Avenue. He started getting emotional as he told us about how much he loved his wife and how much he missed her. We took a moment and told him he would see his wife again someday and he immediately broke down. He thanked us, shook our hugs, and headed inside. Really, there was the sweetest feeling there on Jamaica Ave.
You might remember the man who has a mental disability? Well, he continues to strengthen my testimony. He came to church on Sunday, obviously feeling distraught. In Gospel Principles, he broke down. He started sharing how much pain he was in. He watched his brother get murdered brutally, he lived through the death of everyone in his immediate family, besides one brother–really, the list could go on and on. We listened, we testified…..
Whoops, so we went to dinner and I thought I would be back to finish my email but #missionarywork: we taught a lesson on the street and we got back late. Love you all!!