Today I was supposed to work on updating our family “Putting Your Affairs in Order” binder. It is a practical thing to have a will, powers of attorney and important documents in order, but it was a bit harder to think about today than the last time I updated it 7 years ago.
I suppose none of us have any guarantees about how long we will live in this mortal state. Elder Maxwell called illness and death part of the “common lot of man.” When I think about it like that, the quality of my life matters more than the quantity – my relationships with God, the Savior Jesus Christ, family, friends, the knowledge I can acquire and the service I can render while I am here.
Lately, I have been trying to learn more about faith in Jesus Christ. I start my study wanting to better understand how faith in the Savior relates to healings. I ask myself if I have enough faith to be healed. I think I do. I have always had a firm faith in my Father in Heaven, in His Son, in the restored gospel and the reality of miracles. But in focusing my study on healing, I think I have made a common mistake. Any time we are afflicted, I think it is normal to ask the same questions: How can I get through this, but avoid the pain? Can I skip the hard part? Can this trial be taken from me? Can’t I learn the lesson another way (maybe my own way)? How fast can I get through this?
The pains are real and relief is wanted, but from what I have learned so far these are the wrong questions. My mentor and friend Sarah sent me a quote today I wanted to share.
“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, expecially when we endue it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God….and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.” Orson Whitney
And so my study on faith takes a turn away from healing for awhile. Now, I am wanting to know how I can increase my faith to match the severity of the trial. I don’t think my faith of today is enough. I think I need greater faith to get me through.
I mentioned my desire to increase my faith to my friend Esther and she shared with me some talks on faith. Are there better friends than this? One of the talks had a heavy impact and described gaining first-person faith, or faith that is deeply personal and not general. Believing in general that God commands the universe is not the same as believing that He watches over my day-to-day activities. Believing that miracles happened for people in the scriptures is not the same in believing that they can happen personally for me and for my family.
I share the feelings of the man in the scriptures who wanted Christ to heal their son and their family. He had faith but knew that there could be more. I feel the same way. “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)
I am praying for an increase in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am just beginning, but I move forward knowing that action is required on my part and also knowing somehow that pain and a spiritually profitable outcome go hand in hand. I hope that as my faith grows and matures, I can doubt not and fear not, but be believing.
If you’d like to read a full version of the talk I loved, see: (http://www.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/Devotionals/2007_10_02_Hammond.htm