The Growth of Faith in Trials

 

This morning my insights came from Sariah, Nephi’s mother.  Women are so rarely mentioned in the scriptures, but often when they are there is a very powerful lesson being taught.  I have missed this one until today.  I guess I just didn’t have the life experiences to understand it yet. It ties well in with Monday’s post so if you haven’t read it yet… Profound Lessons Today. This is what I noticed today…

His goal then is not to rescue us immediately, but to give us the opportunity to seek knowledge bit by bit as we exercise our faith and trust in him.  That growth will leads us to the fullness of joy that He promises to all that are faithful.Sariah had the trial of having to wait on the Lord for her prayers to be answered.  The Lord often does not answer our prayers right away because the true growth in faith happens during the waiting.  If He helped us too quickly, we would be deprived of that increased faith.  His goal then is not to rescue us immediately, but to give us the opportunity to seek knowledge bit by bit as we exercise our faith and trust in him.  That growth will leads us to the fullness of joy that He promises to all that are faithful.

Sariah struggles with this waiting. Perhaps this is the biggest trial she has ever had. This is the first time we hear of her murmuring against her husband and their decision to leave Jerusalem.  I am sure she had faced trials and difficulties from the journey already, but the thought of loosing all of her sons really brought her into a dark place. I understand that now, because I have been taken into that dark place many times when additional stresses have compounded the trial of losing my husband.  It is during these waiting times, that FEAR can creep into our faith.  It can destroy our hope with worries about the future, worries that may never even come to fruition.  That is not the work of God, but of the devil.  He wants us to be crippled by fear. He knows the power for good that is in all of us, and his goal is to disable us if he cannot get us to switch to his side.

Even though Sariah struggles and feels fear, she listens to the counsel of her husband, the prophet, and she is comforted.  We learn that in that dark place she turns to the Lord and finds peace.  That is a great pattern for us.  Notice that she finds peace BEFORE the trial is ended.  Part of the reason for the delay in the answer is to give us time to come out of the darkness by turning to the Lord.  He gives us the opportunity to come to ourselves first.

THIS IS WHEN THE LEARNING HAPPENS!

 It is in the coming to ourselves.

Just as in Luke 15: 17 , when the prodigal son has reached his all time low and  “came to himself, ” he remembered all he had been taught, and then decided to return to his father for aid, we all have to come to ourselves in those dark moments and remember to reach back to our Father.  He, like the father of the prodigal son, is waiting there with open arms to give us the peace to help us make it through.  The scriptures teach us that after the trial of our faith comes the blessings.

6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. -Ether 12:6  

After we have gone through that refining process of being in a dark place, then coming to ourselves, and being brought back to the light, we find that even though the trial has not lifted, that we ourselves have be lifted.  We have been given the ability to deal with and understand it.  Sariah’s greatest desires were eventually granted and she did see her sons again.  That is not always the case with our trials here on Earth.  Sometimes are greatest desires are postponed for the next phase, such as with the death of a loved one, but even if that is the case, the Lord will still sustain and comfort us so that we can feel joy again.

Sariah bears her testimony after this experience.  Notice she uses the word KNOW.  This experience has confirmed her faith and brought her knowledge.  Sariah is not done going through trials.  In fact, she has some very difficult ones ahead, but we never hear of her murmuring again.  Now I doubt that she didn’t have experiences when he faith faltered for a moment, but this solidified Sariah’s testimony and her confidence in the Lord to lead and guide her family.

The Lord could have made the trip to get the plates quick an easy, but in so doing Sariah and her sons would have missed out on this faith growing experience.  The Lord could have just had them get the plates before they even left, bypassing this whole mess, but instead He tailors the experiences of our lives to teach us the lessons we need to get through the future and to someday return to Him.

I’m grateful for these refining moments and how they change me and help me to grow.  I am grateful to a loving Father in Heaven that is really, truly carrying me through this.  There is no other way I could do this.

1 And it came to pass that after we had come down into the wilderness unto our father, behold, he was filled with joy, and also my mother, Sariah, was exceedingly glad, for she truly had mourned because of us.
 2 For she had supposed that we had perished in the wilderness; and she also had complained against my father, telling him that he was a visionary man; saying: Behold thou hast led us forth from the land of our inheritance, and my sons are no more, and we perish in the wilderness.
 3 And after this manner of language had my mother complained against my father.
 4 And it had come to pass that my father spake unto her, saying: I know that I am a visionary man; for if I had not seen the things of God in a vision I should not have known the goodness of God, but had tarried at Jerusalem, and had perished with my brethren.
 5 But behold, I have obtained a land of promise, in the which things I do rejoice; yea, and I know that the Lord will deliver my sons out of the hands of Laban, and bring them down again unto us in the wilderness.
 6 And after this manner of language did my father, Lehi, comfort my mother, Sariah, concerning us, while we journeyed in the wilderness up to the land of Jerusalem, to obtain the record of the Jews.
 7 And when we had returned to the tent of my father, behold their joy was full, and my mother was comforted.
 8 And she spake, saying: Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them. And after this manner of language did she speak. -1 Nephi 5: 1-8

Questions to Ponder:

1. When you are experiencing fear, how can you choose to ‘come to yourself?’

2. What things can you do to demonstrate faith while you are waiting?