Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Light You Seek

Recently I was having a conversation with a good friend.  He was going through a bit of a faith crisis and was considering asking the bishop to release him from his calling.  As we were talking I had a rare, but poignant flash of inspiration.  I told him that the light you are seeking is at the other end of the tunnel, not the end you just came from.  As we discussed the challenges he is facing we both came to realize that the way out of this frustration is not found in turning back, but by pressing forward.

Elder Vern Stanfill spoke about a similar topic in the October 2015 General Conference (Choose the Light)  He talked about bicycling with some friends into a long dark tunnel.  At first they could see the light from where they came into the tunnel, but eventually they were enveloped in darkness.  Those with insufficient lights had to rely on those who had more powerful lights.  Eventually they saw the pinpoint of light from the exit of the tunnel.  The anxiety of the darkness melted away as they felt the reassurance of the light and were able to ride into the warm glow of the sun.

To develop a spiritual gift, that gift must be exercised, tried, and stretched.  For example, to develop patience we our patience must be tried.  How can you possibly develop patience if you patience has never been put to the test?  We must be tried in all things (D&C 136:31)  That is how we grow.   Likewise, if we want to develop greater faith, we must allow or faith to be tested.

What do we do when we temporarily enter a place where our faith is being tested.  Do we try and turn back to where we came from and avoid the test?  Do we sit in the darkness refusing to move?  Or do we look for others who have greater light and rely on their light as we press forward through the challenge?

Remember what is says in Doctrine and Covenants 46:11-14.  Sometimes the gift we are given is simply the gift of believing in other's words.
 11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
 12 To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
 13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
 14 To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.
We are to commanded to covet the best gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31), but that does not mean that we will gain all of those gifts at once.  There will be times in our lives that we will need to exercise the gift of believing on other’s words that we might have eternal life if we continue faithful.  (D&C 46:14).

In that same conference talk, Elder Stanfill said:
"We live in a world in which we will experience challenges to our faith. We may feel confident that we are ready to face these challenges—only to find that our preparations have been insufficient. And just as my friend had warned me about the darkness, we are warned today. Apostolic voices urge us to prepare ourselves with the powerful light of spiritual strength.
"Likewise, we might feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, or confused spiritually when we encounter a challenge to our faith. Generally, the intensity and duration of these feelings will depend upon our reaction to them. If we do nothing, doubt, pride, and eventually apostasy may drive us from the light.” (Elder Vern Stanfill, “Choose the Light”, October 2015 General Conference)
Press forward.  The light you seek is at the other end of the tunnel.

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