Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Trial of Your Faith

his entry is part of my general conference application series.
Trial of Your Faith, by Neil L. Andersen
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

My recent change of office space at work came with an unforeseen difficulty: smelly fish. It turns out that the person I now share a space with eats fish almost every day. This wouldn't be a problem if it were the delicious-smelling fried fish that I love, but because it smells more of the raw sewage variety, it's becoming a bit of a trial.

Today—the second day in my new office (and the second day of smelly fish)—the smell was so bad that I had to leave to find relief elsewhere! Not knowing where to hide, I took my Ensign magazine, found a couch, and coincidentally read Elder Andersen's talk on trials.

There I sat, feeling bad for myself because I was evicted from my office by horrible fish smells, reading of real trials of faith.

I have a hard time reading or hearing about trials of faith, probably because my active imagination takes over and I start to feel what I imagine it would be like to have a child die, have someone I love get terribly injured, or any number of trying scenarios. Yes, there can be comfort found in hearing how others faith did not falter, but I'm apparently so weak that until my hard trials come (and I hope they don't!), I don't want to even imagine them.

Once I got past the scary specifics of a hard trial recounted by Elder Andersen, I felt ready to get to the meat of his message (providing the "meat" wasn't disgusting fish carcass). Here's something that stood out to me because of its seemingly obvious ridiculousness:

When faced with a trial of faith—whatever you do, you don’t step away from the Church! Distancing yourself from the kingdom of God during a trial of faith is like leaving the safety of a secure storm cellar just as the tornado comes into view.

Leaving security in the face of a tornado sounds silly—and the following picture carries a bit of silliness with it—but too often when things start to take a turn for the worse, I actually find myself wondering if I should pray, do my best in helping others, or if I should take a break from things I know are right in a misguided attempt at finding comfort, or at least pleasure.

Now, if you're my wife (or someone else who genuinely cares for me personally), the preceding paragraph might sound scary. You might want to yell (or calmly tell me) that choosing to abandon faith, covenants, and security in a time of trial is a ridiculous idea. In fact, it would be like "leaving the safety of a secure storm cellar just as the tornado comes into view."

Now I've done it; I imagined myself making the terrible decisions of leaving the security of the Church in facing a hard trial. I think a more appropriate [scary] picture is in order:

I liked Elder Andersen's concluding words:

With faith come trials of faith, bringing increased faith. The Lord’s comforting assurance to the Prophet Joseph Smith is the very same promise He makes to you in your trial of faith: "Hold on . . . , fear not . . . , for God shall be with you forever and ever."

I don't like trials, but I could probably use some growth. Who knows, maybe as time passes my trial of lunchtime fish smelling will turn into me liking fish. (GULP) But I just hope the fish trial will go away!

In seriousness, I'm grateful for the strength that comes from faith, duty, and keeping of covenants in every situation, especially in trials.

And there's nothing fishy about faith!

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