Have you ever encountered something that changes your way of thinking? Maybe it's a song, or a book, or a film? But you know that after you've listened, read or watched it, it's left a lasting impression that will affect the way you interpret the world around you...
I had this experience recently. I was visiting a friend for the night but ended up getting snowed in so that night quickly turned into a weekend! I was washing up after dinner and my attention was drawn to a handwritten note on the windowsill, which read:
'For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.'
Instantly, the verse stuck in my mind and has been ever since I read it. I have often found myself turning to it and trying to understand it more clearly and looking for ways to apply it into my own life.
The quote was taken from a scripture (1 Corinthians 13:12 to be specific) and is the Apostle Paul's testimony of the Gospel to the new converts in Corinth. The thing that really struck me was his link between the abstract concept of faith and the ability to see. Faith is often criticised by others as foolish, as unsure and as unreliable. However, Paul's declaration of his testimony doesn't use the word 'faith'; indeed, Paul can 'see' Jesus Christ, even if the image isn't as clear as 'face to face'. He seems assured that, although his faith may be fragile and intangible 'for now', it will one day develop into a knowledge as sure as his own existence.
This idea of sight and faith being connected has really developed the way I perceive my belief in Jesus Christ. Faith isn't a blind hope, but it isn't a 'perfect knowledge' either. Rather, faith is 'the ability to see things others can't'. Let me share two examples that demonstrate this idea:
I know a devoted Latter Day Saint woman who always pays her tithing, even though the finances don't encourage her to do so. But she pays, and she pays with the faith that Heavenly Father will bless her for her obedience to this eternal law. Recently, this sister received a tax rebate for a substantial amount of money through her door; her faith had been rewarded and now she could pay for her husband and herself to go away for their wedding anniversary.
However, this isn't the end of the story.
A few weeks later, another letter comes through her door. It isn't a tax rebate this time but an outstanding bill, for about the same amount of money that the text rebate had gifted them. Paying the bill would mean no wedding anniversary trip. Why would Heavenly Father bless her for paying her tithing if He was only going to take it away a few weeks later? Despite this, the sister continued in her faith. And the real miracle occurred then. Instead of cursing God, instead of feeling cheated, she was able to see the real purpose behind this situation. Her faith enabled her to see that, when that tax rebate was given to her family, the Lord was preparing her for the time when that outstanding bill would come. Without the miraculous tax rebate, the financial situation of the family would have been really tough, especially as her son was preparing to serve a full time mission for the Church. But now, although they would still struggle, their difficulties would be the usual and not compounded by the bill. And, because of her faith, the sister could see that, and continued to be faithful.
Also, a friend of mine was recently called to serve a two-year mission in the Oslo, Norway mission. He's nineteen and the mission requires him to sacrifice the way he normally lives his life whether that be on a big scale like two years of university or work, or the small examples such as listening to secular music or staying in bed past half six. Not only all that but he will be required to learn Norwegian in order to teach the local people. And yet, this young man is happy to make these sacrifices to serve a mission, as he has sincere faith that he, his family (past, present and future), his ward and the people he will teach will be blessed through his choice. He can see that sacrifices now bring blessings tomorrow. And that's pretty amazing.
I would like to add my witness to Paul's; faith is an amazing resource in today's society. It would be so much more tempting for me to give up and succumb to wordly influences if I didn't have sincere faith in a loving Father in Heaven that cares for me enough to have established a plan for me. I'm grateful to have known about Jesus Christ from a young age and that I have had (and continue to have) amazing beacons of faith in my life that have taught me to see the Lord's hand in my life. I have a hope and a testimony that my Saviour lives right now. His work is to 'bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man' and I am striving to be ready to be a part of the work as a full time missionary. And I would invite all to exercise faith in Him, as it has been the foundation of all happiness I have experienced in my life.
I say these things in His name,
[see more at lds.org]
[see more at lds.org]