As I have struggled in my life and in my mission, I have had to ask myself: What do I believe? In my personal study this morning I came across a talk called, "Lord, I Believe" by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. This is what many of the people that I love need to hear. Many, if not all, of the people I am teaching need to hear this. Most importantly, I needed to hear this.
Holland starts off by telling the story in Mark 9:14-29. It is about a father who has an afflicted son who he desires to be healed. The account then goes as follows:
23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
Holland says about this, "This man’s initial conviction, by his own admission, is limited. But he has an urgent, emphatic desire in behalf of his only child. We are told that is good enough for a beginning. 'Even if ye can no more than desire to believe,' Alma declares, 'let this desire work in you, even until ye believe.' With no other hope remaining, this father asserts what faith he has and pleads with the Savior of the world, 'If thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.'"
Throughout the rest of this talk, Holland talks of three observations he has made:
1. The wishing for more faith
2. Being true to the faith we DO have
3. Asking for help
Wishing For More Faith
"I would say to all who wish for more faith, remember this man! In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited. In the growth we all have to experience in mortality, the spiritual equivalent of this boy’s affliction or this parent’s desperation is going to come to all of us. When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. It was of this very incident, this specific miracle, that Jesus said, 'If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.' The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know."
I'm not sure I have ever met anyone who would say that they have sufficient faith. In fact, we all probably feel like we have in adequate faith. We can learn from this story in the scriptures that even if we don't have sufficient faith, the Lord will make up for the rest. That is what his atonement is about. If only we cry out to him, "Help thou my unbelief!"
Being True to Our Faith
"When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have, leading as it were with your 'unbelief.' That is like trying to stuff a turkey through the beak! Let me be clear on this point: I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not! So let us all remember the clear message of this scriptural account: Be as candid about your questions as you need to be; life is full of them on one subject or another. But if you and your family want to be healed, don’t let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle."
I LOVE this quote! I have watched as people close to me in my life have questioned things. Its OK to question. It takes courage to question things. But let me tell you, it takes MORE courage to take things on faith. Holland goes on to say, "You have more faith than you think you do." I can testify that this is true. You have more faith than you think you do.
Ask For Help
"When doubt or difficulty come, do not be afraid to ask for help. If we want it as humbly and honestly as this father did, we can get it. The scriptures phrase such earnest desire as being of 'real intent,' pursued 'with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God.' I testify that in response to that kind of importuning, God will send help from both sides of the veil to strengthen our belief."
Pride is the universal sin. It is often our pride that gets in our way of going to others for help. I would ask, if you are reading this and you have doubts, go search for help. Do not think that you can overcome these things alone. If they are small doubts, go to the Lord in prayer. If they are bigger, go to your priesthood leaders--especially your bishop. If you aren't sure if it is big or small, go to your bishop anyways. He would love to hear from you and help you.
To end my blog, I would like to quote Elder Holland one last time, "Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe."
Take some time tonight, this week, or next week to acknowledge your questions and concerns. Write them down. Then, fan the flame of your faith. ALL things become possible to those that believe. Remember President Uchtdorf's quote, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith!".
Heavenly Father is aware of you. He is aware of the questions you have. Turn to him, and he won't let you down.