Our guest post today is by SilverRain, who blogs at The Rains Came Down.
When Jesus was suffering on the cross at Calvary, those who put Him there surrounded Him to mock Him. They jeered, “If [thou art] the King of Israel . . . come down from the cross, and we will believe . . . .” (Matt 27:42)
I have emerged from the other end of a marriage that stripped me of my ability to trust myself. It is taking hard work to believe the things that I have survived. I have been accused of things I did not do in a court that seemed sympathetic to the other side. I have learned how to live with a measure of real and daily fear. I have witnessed almost every purpose of my life crumble in my hands. I have not, by any means, lived through the worst that life has to offer, but I have lived through my lot only to be confronted by those who cannot understand and so do not believe me.
My faith has also been left exposed to the elements, raw and aching. I have difficulty knowing what to believe or what to do. I have been confronted time after time with the choice to take the emotionally easy road, to accept what life is telling me, or to take a tiny, twisting and seemingly treacherous path without knowing for certain where I am going or if I can get there. So I think I understand a little better than I did those people who ask for proof.
I have noticed that sometimes those in scripture who ask for proof are given exactly what they ask for, such as Barak with Deborah, the people of Zarahemla, and the those of Ammonihah, while others are left to work out their uncertainty. Often, those who are given the sign they are seeking find that it doesn’t really change their opinions, in the end.
Perhaps the story of this type that I resonate best with is the tale of the man with the palsied son. When told that his son could be healed if he believed, he cried to Jesus, saying, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!”
Time upon time as I have found myself weeping bitterness into my abused pillow, I have cried these exact words in my heart, yearning to feel the fruits of my faith. I ache when I see so many people here on the Internet crying out because they have found themselves at a point in their lives when they just stop believing in the gospel as presented by the LDS Church. I ache because I have looked into that abyss myself, and felt its depths.
The classic analogy to illustrate how that feels is the scene from Indiana Jones when his father lays dying behind him and he is faced with a choice of faith: to walk into a seemingly bottomless chasm, or to turn around and let his father die. He makes that choice, and luckily it works for him. One thing that is poignant about that story is that he almost fully expected to die when he took that step, but he took it anyways because the alternative was worse.
To me, this is raw, living faith. Right now, I am standing at the other end of a failed marriage, and almost every one of the things I have dedicated my life to lie crumbled at my feet. But I don’t keep going to Church and praying with my Father in Heaven because I know that things will work out for me or because I feel as though who I am now has anything to do with the Church and my ward. I pray to my Father and continue going to Church because the alternative—to give up on my dreams and turn my back on what I know (and I do mean know)—is far, far worse.
I don’t know what my future will hold. I don’t know what my Father has in mind for me. But I know Him, and I choose, with eyes open and fear in my heart, to trust Him. I will not wait to believe.
Bless your heart.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Hebrews 12:11
The “training” we receive in mortality is not joyous, however, based on my experience the Lord will unleash His tender mercies at the appropriate time. And as a result of the difficulties experienced there will be more room to receive them.
“I don’t know what my future will hold. I don’t know what my Father has in mind for me. But I know Him, and I choose, with eyes open and fear in my heart, to trust Him. I will not wait to believe.”
This is the stuff faith is made of – that we persist in believing, not knowing what might come, even being afraid of what might come.
I love Daniel 3:17-18. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego say:
17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
Believing and trusting in God, and at the same time accepting that He may not intervene in one’s suffering – to me that is the real test of faith, and the most difficult to pass through. God bless you always in your trials, SilverRain.
Faith is important but I hope you have a real person to put his or her arms around you right now in this life. You may consider mine in a big ole (((HUG))) while you work it all out.
Romans 8 has been bouncing in my head all week and seems relevant here:
15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
A beautiful post. Thank you.
I have read many of your posts Silver Rain and have come to love you. Sharing your feelings and your experiences helps connect us all and helps others know they are not alone or the only one going through similar difficulties. Thank you for being willing to share you story and to express your willingness to remain a believer, for truly it is a choice and can be a very difficult and painful one. I know this to be true and I feel that believing will pay off someday despite all the pain and suffering we must endure in the meantime. Thanks for the post.
My heart goes out to you.
1 Peter 2:20 “2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”
Are you sure you’re not my cousin Ben? He’s been going through very much of the same lately.
Thank you, everyone, for your support.
I’m sharing this because I think it is possible to go through life and, as Jen pointed out, make the choice to still believe. I think that faith is like love: often misunderstood to be an emotion when in reality it is a choice.
And Dave: I don’t think it’s physically possible for me to be Ben. 😉
This is beautiful, SilverRain. Thank you.
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