Monday, August 29, 2016

Promoting Faith

Yesterday I taught a lesson in Relief Society that is still lingering inside my heart. I suppose it is in part because of the turmoil that exists in today’s world. It seems like every time we turn on the news, there are more catastrophes to worry over: earthquakes, tornadoes, huge fires, and hurricanes— or acts of violence and greed. The current political battle hangs over our heads like a looming storm cloud. 

All around us locally there are several challenging trials taking place—health concerns, heart-breaking tragedies, and financial disasters. The weather has not been helpful to farmers in the area, nor with this year’s attempt at raising a garden. So far we’ve faced three bizarre frosts that have effectively eliminated tomatoes, peppers, squash etc. True, growing a garden in Bear Lake is like trying to drink out of a fire hose—we often get blasted in the process. ;) Still, we have to try. 

It also seems like lately we’re surrounded by critics who pass judgment over everything. We try to reason through the emotional barrage, saying things like, “Oh, well, they don’t really understand the situation.”  It still makes us feel poorly about ourselves. In short, the adversary is having a heyday filling our hearts with fear, doubt, and negativity.

It is time to rise above all of that and to remember who we truly are. We are sons and daughters of a loving Father in heaven who sent us down here to learn, grow, and achieve. He knew it would be a difficult journey—and He has provided tools to help us along the way. One of those tools is faith.

Faith is a key to having hope. And when we have hope, we are more charitable toward others, breaking the current trend. According to the scriptures, faith is not having certain knowledge of things (see Alma 32:21-22). It is a belief in what is good and true. It starts out as a small seed (see Matthew 17:20-21) and can grow into a large tree, if we will spend the time needed to nourish it. 

There are many ways we can develop faith, and it is often the small and simple things in life that bring us peace. For instance, turning off the media for a while and taking a walk—appreciating the beauty that surrounds us. Realizing there is still a lot of good in this world. News shows rarely show the positive things that are taking place. Sometimes we have to ignore the darkness and seek out the light.
Serving others has always filled my heart with quiet comfort, especially when I’m struggling. Forgetting my pain as I reach out to others is a great way to nourish my tiny seed of faith. 

Hearing faith-promoting experiences from others also strengthens my own belief. I’m sure we’ve all been inspired by the good-hearted example of those who refuse to give up. To quote the Bible dictionary definition of “faith” where there is . . . “true faith there are miracles, visions, dreams, healings, and all the gifts of God that He gives to His Saints.”
Prayer, scripture study, and going to church help fill our spiritual bucket—truly a needful thing in today’s crazy world. 

Being thankful is another way to nourish our faith. I try each night to list the things I’m grateful for. It’s a great reminder that despite the difficulties, there are great blessings, too. 

Surrounding ourselves with uplifting music, art, and books is also helpful in developing faith and a positive attitude.

 I come from a musical family. We performed a lot when I was growing up. This past week the lyrics from one of the songs sprang to mind as I prepared a lesson on faith. Maybe some of you will recognize these inspiring words:

“Prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door,
Words are so easily spoken—a prayer without faith is like a boat without an oar.
Have faith when you speak to the Master, that’s all He asks you for,
Yes, prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door.”
(Written by: Samuel Scott & Robert Sande)

So in this current time of nonstop challenges and negativity, take the time to nourish the seed of faith. It will in turn, help us find hope when all seems lost.