Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that a lot of my thoughts are centered around or end up leading to the topics of uncertainty and the need and power of faith. Maybe they’re just topics that I feel like I know a lot about. Or maybe God is just finding a clever way to teach myself things. Well, this is another one of those topics. This is also going to be a rather lengthy post, so bear with me. I can promise you it’s worth the time to read.
Last night Elder Holbrook and I had the opportunity to attend an institute class covering the Doctrine and Covenants. For those that may be be unfamiliar with what that is, the Doctrine and Covenants is modern-day revelation, most of which came through the prophet Joseph Smith. It is scripture, and it is the word of God.
During this institute class, we specifically went over verses in the 101st section. To give you a little insight, here’s the introduction to this section,
Revelation given to Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, 16 December 1833. At this time the Saints who had gathered in Missouri were suffering great persecution. Mobs had driven them from their homes in Jackson County; and some of the Saints had tried to establish themselves in Van Buren County, but persecution followed them. The main body of the Saints was at that time in Clay County, Missouri. Threats of death against individuals of the Church were many. The people had lost household furniture, clothing, livestock, and other personal property; and many of their crops had been destroyed.
The obvious point that’s trying to be made here is that life for the Mormons was not fun. The persecution was heavy. Their property was being stolen or destroyed. Mobs drove them from their homes and often sought to kill or otherwise harm them, regardless of gender or age. It was a time of great uncertainty for the Saints of Missouri.
We live in a time where uncertainty is pretty much the norm. In this particular post, however, I’d rather focus on the more subtle uncertainties. The things that make us worry, make us anxious, make us restless or untrustworthy towards people or ideas. We all have these experiences, and we’ll continue to have them the rest of our lives.
So what did the Lord counsel the Saints in Missouri to do? In the sixteenth verse of that section it reads,
Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.
It is advice that He has already given in Psalms 46:10. Simply, the Lord tells them to settle down, relax, and trust in Him. Trust that He knows what they’re going through. Trust that He knows their doubts, their fears, their anxieties, their sufferings, etc. Trust that He’s aware and is allowing it for a purpose.
Of course, this seems easier said than done, and it is. It’s not easy to simply sit back and just have faith that everything will work out. That our problems will be met with solutions. That our worries will be silenced. That our doubts will find peace. Just like anything in life, it takes time and practice. We learn through experience. We exercise faith just like we exercise our bodies. Our spiritual muscles, so to speak, need to be stretched and torn a little bit, but by doing so they will become stronger and able to endure even more the next time.
Our teacher drew a little equation: Heat + Time + Pressure = Jewel. He even doodled little pictures to go along with the words which were rather humorous. Anyway, the point: you can’t take away any of those things. You can’t take away the heat, or the time, or the pressure. All three are required. If we expect our end result to work out, whether it’s the situation or ourselves or both, we must be willing to abide by all the factors in the equation.
This is my testimony: that God is aware and understands. We may not know much, but thankfully He does. During the times when it seems everything will fall apart, when nothing seems real, when we’re not sure what to do or what to believe… be still… and know that God is there and can do all things.
Countless times in my life I have felt abandoned and unsure of what I believe… or if I should believe anything. My faith in God and Jesus Christ and my testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been tested many times. And many times I found myself with no answers to my questions, no way to solve my doubts and fears. Does God really exist? Is Jesus Christ really my Savior? Is this church I’m involved in even true? Was Joseph Smith a prophet or just a crazy guy? Is the Book of Mormon true or just a hoax? Is the Bible even true?
Many times I would find answers, and many times I was left with nothing. It was those times, when left to wonder, that I had to exercise my faith, be still, and trust that God was there. I received comfort, and I know that it was the peaceful assurance of the Holy Ghost. I still didn’t have all my answers, but it was okay.
I testify that God is there. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I know that it was translated by Joseph Smith through the gift and power of God. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Jesus Christ’s church restored again to the earth. And all these things I am blessed to know because of the Lord’s counsel: “Be still and know that I am God.”