This week’s spiritual thought is aimed towards those that are either having trouble seeing the hand of the Lord in their lives, feel like they haven’t received a satisfactory answer on whether or not this Church is true, or both.
Let me begin by mentioning someone else that was struggling to find God and wanted a more sure knowledge: Joseph Smith. Even as a young boy, he thirsted for a witness and answers to the questions and desires that burned within his soul. Much of the world has now heard of the answer he received in a grove of trees outside his farm in upstate New York.
His answer came in part because he was willing to act upon his faith and prayed to Heavenly Father for what he sought. President Nally, acting president over the Provo Missionary Training Center, once said that “the Lord cannot steer a parked car.” Revelation, given according to the will of God, is invited through righteous desire being coupled with actively taking steps of faith.
For those of you that feel as though you cannot act upon your faith because it seems as though God has forgotten or forsaken you, let me bear witness to you that that has not and will not happen. Our Heavenly Father is a loving father who wants all to return to live with Him again.
If you are having a hard time seeing the hand of God in your life, I suggest the you begin keeping journal. At the end of each day’s entry, write down three good things that happened to you that day. As the weeks go by, you will begin to see just how blessed you really are. And don’t think that blessings has to be huge, extraordinary miracles. I have often written down “making it home safely” or “having a great dinner” at the end of each day. On especially trying days, I have even considered writing “the day being over.” But I promise that if you look close enough, there will always be three things to write down.
Perhaps you are having a hard time hearing your answer to your questions. Try waiting a little longer after asking. When we ask for an answer, we need to listen for it. Sometime we are so ready to go to bed or break our fast that we don’t wait to hear the answer. After you pray, wait and listen for a moment. Ponder in your heart the question and think about the possible answers. It may not come then, but more often than not, that is when you will receive your answer.
Maybe your answer will not come then. This is why I titled this thought “Finding Your ‘Stone’.” It is in reference to one of my favorite stories out of the Book of Mormon. In Ether 3, the brother of Jared fashioned sixteen stones thinking that if God were but to just touch them, they would begin to shine and give light to the people as they crossed the great deep. It says in verse 6 that: “…the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord;…”
As Elder Holland pointed out to us during a talk at the MTC, it never says that he saw the finger of the Lord at the beginning of the event. But rather, he saw it later. The brother of Jared acted in faith by placing the stones down and praying for divine assistance. No doubt, first stone being lit must have been an incredible faith building and awe-inspiring experience. Elder Holland mentioned that as the stones continued to become lit, one by one, the brother of Jared progressed from simple faith to strong faith and then finally pure knowledge. It was at the point when the existence of the Lord became pure knowledge that the Lord could no longer hide his finger from the brother of Jared because he knew.
I would like to take this a step further by suggesting that there are many “stones” in the Gospel. There is the “going to church” stone, the “word of wisdom” stone, the “partaking of the sacrament” stone…and so on. We need to be as the brother of Jared by acting in faith and continually placing the “stones” in front of us. I promise that as you continue to line these stones up by faithfully following each of God’s commandments and then pray, believing that the answer will come to you, you will gain that knowledge. You will see them light up and your faith will grow. I am not sure which “stone” will be the one when you begin to see the Lord’s hand and begin to know that He is there, but if you press forward and diligently live His commandments, greater knowledge will come. I know it will.
For now, as you begin your quest, lean upon my testimony. I know that this Church is true. I would not have left so much behind to come on a mission unless I honestly believed in two things: what I am preaching and that the Gospel can bless lives. I know it is true with all of my heart. God is there. He is watching over you. He wants you to grow a little more before He calls you home. Let’s make him proud.
I say these things in the name of my beloved Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.
Faith and Honor,