Monday, November 21, 2011
Faith: A Loss or a Gain?
We teach that families can be together forever but not how personal agency can affect that family. We teach reading scriptures by excising scripture bites that highlight what we want to say, but we don't teach our children how to delve into the scriptures, how to rely on scripture for answers they need. We teach following the prophet, but we forget to teach spiritual discernment of the prophet's words for personal application.
I don't feel like I am qualified to teach the kinds of lessons that are in Primary. I feel like I am lying by teaching such a fluffy, empty version of my testimony. And yet, it is those very things such as the temple, scripture study, and listening to the prophet which have been my lifeline.
One of the first paragraphs of "Lectures on Faith" asks the class to reflect on their lives, and ask themselves the question, "Would you have ever sown if you had not believed that you would reap?"
I don't really believe that I will reap the blessings of my efforts. I no longer have hope in things not seen.
For example, I no longer really believe that eternal marriage and exaltation are within my reach. I made a grave, permanent mistake in marrying my ex-husband. Also, I am too outspoken, too opinionated, and too "harsh" to attract a righteous, honest, priesthood-wielding man.
I do not really have faith to meet someone who can be my partner both in questioning and in dedication to the Lord. Yet, I still try to leave myself open to the possibility.
And this is just one example. There are parallels in my membership in the Church, teaching my children, and any number of other things to which I have dedicated myself. But I continue to do the best I can because, while I have no faith in results, I have faith in my God.
Through the complete destruction of my hopes and expectations for life, I have come to understand my Savior better than ever before. I have come to know His love, His generosity, His complete dedication to humankind, his patient guidance of me.
I don't sow because I expect to reap. I sow because He asks me to. The harvest belongs to Him, not to me. I hope that some of the efforts I make pay off for Him, but I have little expectation of personal reward.
When they teach the children that keeping their bodies clean will lead to celestial glory, and that reading their scriptures will give them the power they need to "win," I am conflicted. I believe it on one level, yet I have not seen those results personally. Keeping my body clean didn't save my marriage. Reading my scriptures didn't give me the power to "win" anything.
So I am left asking myself whether or not I even have faith any more. I sought, and I did not find. I tried, and I failed. I sowed, and reaped only ashes. Yet I still seek, I still try, I still sow, only because I believe in Him more than I believe in my own experience. After all, I might be wrong!
Is this faith?
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