As you can probably guess from the title, this post is about faith. I will be sharing some of my beliefs because that is what I know. I look forward to learning how your faith helps you to find comfort and joy.
I think every study ever done on the subject has shown that having faith in something helps people be happier. Even those with depression and anxiety. You can click on the link titled "Faith" on the side and it will take you to one such study, detailing the effect of faith on people dealing with stress.
When I'm going through a trial, faith is always what sees me through. Sometimes I forget and try to do it alone, but I always end up feeling discouraged and overwhelmed. Becky made reference to a talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland called "Abide in Me". It made a deep impression on me when I first read it and that was actually the inspiration for the title of our blog. In it he quotes John 15:1, 4, 5 where Christ said, “I am the true vine, and … ye are the branches.” “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”
He continues, "“Abide in me” is an understandable and beautiful enough concept in the elegant English of the King James Bible, but “abide” is not a word we use much anymore. So I gained even more appreciation for this admonition from the Lord when I was introduced to the translation of this passage in another language. In Spanish that familiar phrase is rendered “permaneced en mi.” Like the English verb “abide,” permanecer means “to remain, to stay,” but even gringos like me can hear the root cognate there of “permanence.” The sense of this then is “stay—but stay forever.” "
I love that concept. I can't imagine anything greater. When my life is going well, it's fairly easy to stay faithful in Christ. And having that faith definitely brings me joy. I know that God loves me and is blessing my life and that makes me happy. I appreciate all that I have that much more because I know that they come from God. It also gives me hope for eternal life with God, my Savior, and my family. What could bring more joy than that?
So why is it that when I'm facing something difficult I try to do it on my own or even get frustrated with God and my Savior? I have a few theories, but that's not really the point. The point is, when I turn toward Them and pray for help, guidance, and comfort, it always comes. I believe that our Savior experienced all our trials and therefore knows not only how we feel, but how to comfort and heal us. I believe it because I've experienced it.
My problem is that I sometimes just want Him to take my trial away. I often look at my life and I think I could do so much more if I never experienced depression. I try to remember that we have to have trials in order to grow. My children would never learn to walk if I didn't let them try, even though the trying results in a lot of hard work and even a lot of falls and maybe some bruises. But I let them fall and get up and try again because I love them and I want them to grow and develop. So it is with us. Fortunately, even though He may not remove our trials He can make them easier to endure. And having faith in Him gives me hope. I have hope that I am gaining valuable experience from my trials; I have hope that I can endure my trials well; I have hope that I will be able to receive all that the Father has promised. Without faith, there is not hope. And without hope, I'm not sure that there can be true joy either.
Why can't I always remember that and have unwavering faith? I don't know. I guess there's still a lot of room for growth for me. How do you stay focused on your faith all the time? How do you change your perspective when you feel like life isn't fair? What helps you to abide in your faith at all times? How does your faith enhance your joy? How does your faith help you to find joy even in the midst of trial?
In closing, I want to share a verse from the Book of Alma in the Book of Mormon. It's in chapter 33, verse 23. The prophet Alma is finishing a wonderful discourse on faith and closes with these words "And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will."