Viewpoint: Go Forward in Faith

  • 30 November 2012

When Marie was a pre-teen, she seemed to have just one standard answer to virtually any family home evening question.

“Faith,” Marie would respond, no matter the actual question.

Though “faith” was not always the sought-for answer, it was almost always an acceptable answer.

Marie’s family was, at first, amazed at how often “faith” was a good answer. But upon a little deeper examination, they realized that faith is the first principle of the gospel—and always a good place to start.

Faith is so simple as to be easily understood by a child, yet so profound as to be less-than-fully understood by the most-seasoned Saints.

Always, however, God’s children are richly blessed—and receive immeasurable help—when they press forward in faith.

The ability to press forward in the face of great challenge is rooted in courage, determination, fortitude, resolve, grit, and strength. Those character traits are essential in any difficult endeavor. Absent faith, however, the effort will eternally fall short.

Hence, the pressing forward with courage and determination is necessary but not sufficient.

But the Lord’s grace—accessed through firm faith in Him—is sufficient. “And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:26–27).

Handcart pioneers leaving Iowa or Nebraska needed courage and grit just to pull across the relatively flat land of the American Midwest. But once in the snow-laden Rocky Mountains, without food or shelter, those traits, though still necessary, were far from sufficient.

But the Lord’s grace—accessed through firm faith in Him—was sufficient. Through that faith, they saw the eternities and mortality’s role in that eternal realm.

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ was, for those noble pioneers and for us today, absolutely essential.

Faith focuses our journey on the Savior’s infinite and merciful Atonement. Through the grace given in that Atonement, we are not only cleansed from sin but also enabled to carry on our mortal sojourn.

That sojourn, for those without faith, will always include too many mountains for a mere mortal to climb. And even if our mortal sojourn didn’t have too many mountains, some mountains would always be too steep and too tall.

But God’s children can climb all of those mountains—no matter how steep or how tall—if God wants us to climb them. Hence, our efforts must be aligned with God’s. In effecting His Atonement, the Savior willingly and readily acknowledged the supremacy of the Father’s will. In allowing the Savior’s Atonement to enable our lives, our similar submission is essential.

No wonder, then, that in petitioning the Lord to confound the enemies of the Church, Joseph Smith prayed to have the Lord’s grace assist the Saints in submitting their will to God’s.

“Help thy servants to say,” the Prophet Joseph prayed as he dedicated the Kirtland Temple, “with thy grace assisting them: Thy will be done, O Lord, and not ours” (D&C 109:44).

The “enemies” of today’s Latter-day Saints are not always the evil things of the world. Sometimes the enemy is seeking to do something that’s “good” or “better,” rather than that which is “best” (see Dallin H. Oaks, “Good, Better, Best,” October 2007 general conference).

Active Latter-day Saints have much to do. “Doing” is a great thing. The work of salvation and exaltation is a great work. It is real work. And we are blessed to be able to do that work. Each day we should do all we can to help bring about God’s work and glory. “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).

Latter-day Saints can’t necessarily always do more.

Rather, we can arise each day with a determination to learn what God would have us do—and then do His will. When our efforts are aligned with the Father’s will, we will always do that which is best.