Several months ago (pre-Cambodia Mission) if I had been assigned a talk on Faith, I would have said, "No problem!". I would have then gone to favorite prophets and most expected scripture mastery of the past. I would have created a talk that would have possibly stirred your heart and mind to better examples of faith. All this because I thought I knew what faith was.
Most of the scriptures that I have relied on about faith just tell me what faith IS NOT! It is NOT things I can see. It is nothing that I can put my hands on. (Heb. 11:1) Power, understanding, and testimony are results of faith but still no clear "faith is..." statement. Faith can show a long, narrow trail of evidences that it was here. (Helaman 10:5)
What I have learned is that I have been living on the surface of faith. What I have seen and witnessed is faith beyond my comprehension.
Faith is the Sr. Couple who while planning and preparing for retirement and to serve a mission was suddenly a victim of "down sizing" and he lost his job. In the middle of all that it was very clear that they needed to continue their plans for the mission. They weren't sure how that would happen but they went forward. They sold everything... their home and most of their belongings. They now serve in South Carolina. After 2 years of service they will go back to their home town to a 10 X 10 storage crate and figure out the rest. They understand, far better than I do, about seeking "first the Kingdom of God" (Matthew 6:30-33).
Faith is the newly arrived 19 year old missionary who was already overwhelmed just by getting off the airplane and seeing Cambodia for the first time. In this mission the missionaries arrive at 10:30am. If you even let them get site of a bed they would crash. ( It would take weeks for them to get their internal clocks turned around.) So as soon as they get off the plane the AP's load up the luggage in the van to be sent to the Mission Office. The Assisitant's to the President and the new missionaries begin street contacting with their new found language from the Missionary Training Center. They come and have lunch at the Mission Office/Home. Mission training is next for these "greenies". (I now understand why they call them"greenies". Some of them really did look sick!) I will never forget this one new Elder. He taught me lessons on faith that 40 years in the Church could not. Elder Leavitt told the group that today they each have to pay $75 for the bike they would receive. All reached into their wallets and began dishing out the money. This one Elder counted and re-counted his money. He took everything out of his wallet, leaving himself with zero money, and apologetically said, "I'm a bit short can I pay you later?" This modern-day Stripling Warrior was willing to give everything. He had no idea when or how he was going to get his next dollar. He was just doing as his mother had taught by being obedient with exactness and giving his all. Now that is faith. (Just to let you know, Elder Leavitt couldn't take it. His heart broke for this young man and told him to keep his money and to come pay him the $75 later.)
One last example of faith that just astounds me. When the 2 stakes were created in 2014 one of the first callings that took place was for the new Stake Presidents to call Patriarchs. I met one of these 5'4" giants this week. (Having heard the story I was surprised as to how small his statue was.) As this man was called to be the new Patriarch he said "yes" to the calling. But he had a few problems..... he didn't have his own Patriarchal Blessing, he had never heard a Patriarchal Blessing, nor had he ever read a Patriarchal Blessing.... so what is it and how do I do it? To me, he is a giant of faith.
This week Katey Sudo posted a great quote regarding faith. Good for you Katey for learning this long before your 61 years old!
"Faith does not mean God meets our expectations. It means we cling to God's character, knowing that God will always accomplish His purposes. God wants to forge in us a faith that is far greater than our circumstances. Faith means knowing God can, believing God will, but clinging to Him even if He doesn't. Faith is not an assurance that everything is going to be OK; it is the assurance that God is in control. That's the only way to live, knowing that some of the pains and confusions of life will remain mysteries even to our graves."(author unknown)
Thanks Katey. I have always taught that faith is "knowing that Jesus is who He says he is and that He can do what he says he can do'. I am seeing real life size examples of that in Cambodia!