I just returned from a month long road trip with my kids. My husband was with us the first 10 days and 22 hours of driving. The 36 hours of driving and 21 days I was on my own. It was a great adventure. For the most part the kids did great and we had a fabulous time. I paid them $5 Monopoly money every 30 minutes they were good in the car. If they were not good I charged them Monopoly money.
I had a garbage bag full of treats they could buy for $5 each (like a granola bar or fruit roll) and I had another big bag of prizes for higher prices they could save up for. It was a good incentive and the prizes kept them motivated and (once they bought them) entertained.
I had a chance to catch up with several old friends along my journey and time to visit with each or my siblings and in laws. It was great.
But somewhere along the way, a train of thought began to form in my mind. Hours of driving on the road gives you lots of time to think. My thought is about faith. I began to think about those times in your life when you just don't know. I think most of us come to a point somewhere in our lives where we question everything we ever thought we knew.
In that moment of doubt and uncertainty, we have a choice. Because the fact is, when we are in that moment we don't KNOW anything. We feel we have "lost our faith" perhaps. But this is just the thing that has struck me. When we "know" things are true we aren't really using "faith." It isn't working our faith to "know" the church is true when you are feeling the Spirit witness that to you. When you are feeling that "testimony" and witness of the Spirit of God you can know the truth of those things about which it is testifying.
On the other hand, when you come to a point where you pray and don't get an answer, or you can't feel the Spirit for one reason or another (because I can tell you that even if you are doing everything right both of those situations can and likely will happen at some point in life); it is at this point that FAITH comes into play. You see Faith is believing and acting upon that belief when YOU DON'T KNOW.
It is when you stand at the cliff with no more reassurance that there is an Indiana Jones Bridge than the word of some old guy you barely know that you must choose whether to step out and hope or stay where you are. Let's face it. The sane thing to do, the reasonable thing, the rational thing is NOT to step out. But in that situation, we must make a choice. Choosing to step IS exercising faith.
I felt like this when Camille passed away. I was in so much pain that I could not feel the Spirit. Here I had just prayed like I had never prayed before for my daughter to be made whole and all the while her condition worsened. I had always been taught that the Spirit would warn and comfort but here I felt no warning voice before and there was no comforting my broken heart.
In that moment, I could have easily chosen to forsake my belief. But instead, in that moment of NOT knowing anything, I Chose deliberately to believe. I REMINDED myself of the countless prayers I had said that HAD been answered. Sure most of them were about small in and inconsequential things but I KNEW they were prayers answered from God. I Reminded myself of the times I had felt warned of the Spirit. And I chose to believe that because I was not warned that Camille's accident was part of her and our plan in this life. Did I know this? No. I chose to believe it. I chose to have believe on faith. I still rely on faith in so many matters that I just don't KNOW.
But I guess that my big thought from this trip was that it is not those who "KNOW" the most that have the most faith. It is those who KNOW the LEAST and choose to believe and live that belief anyway that have the most faith.
What I have also come to discover is that as we act in faith and choose to believe in the face of complete uncertainty (Notice I don't say doubt because if you are choosing to believe you are choosing to stop doubting and just believe.) the Lord will in time help us feel that foundation under our feet and in time perhaps even let us "see" the path upon which we walk so that we can "know" more certainly where we stand.
This I do KNOW: God lives. Jesus is the Christ. He Lives! Christ's Atonement has both that power to cleanse our souls from sin and the power to bind up the broken heart. Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and was instructed of them to restore Christ's church on the Earth. That Church is today The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Book of Mormon is a true book of scripture and written by ancient prophets of God for the people of our day and age.
If you doubt these things: I hope you will consider me (though perhaps I am a stranger) as the old lady upon whose word you can rely as one who has walked the invisible bridge before you. Choose Faith. Choose belief. Step out and I promise you in time and through continued belief, you will find your footing.