Monday, July 14, 2014

Faith Not to Be Healed

We all know that according to our faith, miracles can be brought about. We know faith is not only a principle of believing, but it's a principle of power. Jesus taught, "If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into
the sea; it shall be done." (Matthew 21:21).

Each of us has had some experience, however big or small, where we've seen blessings come from our faith. Prayers have been answered, miracles have been wrought, hearts have been healed because of it. We know the Lord truly does bless his faithful.

How is it then, that sometimes when we have a desire, a righteous desire, that it can possibly go unanswered? How is it that when we are doing all we can do and have faith, that sometimes we don't see miracles come from it? Could it be God is inconsistent, He is just purposely withholding our rightfully earned blessings? Is He punishing us for some mistake long-ago that we made?

Having my "mission birthday" last week has made me reflect on my mission experience and has led me to ponder as to why unanswered righteous requests happen. It has been a year, and still my Spanish is not up to par. I still can't hold a conversation very well on my own. I still have the most gringo-accent ever and it still crushes my heart when I'm told so. I've even been told, "your mission call told you that you are to teach in Spanish, how is it that you don't know Spanish? How can you be doing your job right?"

I've pleaded with my Father in Heaven many many nights to grant me with the "gift of tongues." I've received priesthood blessings to help me overcome my hearing impairment. Although progress is there and evident, it isn't coming as quickly and miraculously as I was hoping.

Another thing that has been hard (for every missionary, not just me) is finding prepared people to teach and leading them to the waters of baptism. We took our investigator Gabino and his daughter Siomara to
the temple last week. After teaching him nearly every other day, and after him coming to church every week for a month, we've known for awhile that it is time that he needs to be baptized to more fully receive all the blessings of the gospel. We've discussed baptism before, but he was really unsure about the timing and feels he doesn't know enough. As we walked around the temple, we discussed baptism and the special covenants we make, both with baptism and in the temple. Hermana Macias and I were so sure this would be the key; that by the end of the trip he'd be begging US to be baptized and tell us that he wants to go to the temple as soon as possible and we were expecting a rainbow to be formed as he spoke and that the heavens would open and angelic voices would sing hallelluiah!

Buuuuut it wasn't so. Gabino felt the Spirit and loved the trip, but was still unsure and felt so unprepared. I was so happy he felt the Spirit at least, but of course you can imagine the slight disappointment in his response.

Often the answer as to why these things happen,  even if we have incredible faith and are being completely obedient, is to humble us. To be given all that we desire can cause pride and ingratitude. But other times the answer is more subtle; simply, the event or timing isn't in accordance with God's will.

We all know we should increase our faith so that we can be healed, so we can see those miracles and so that we can receive those answers we have been searching.

But here is the question I've had to ask myself: do I have the faith NOT to be healed?

Elder Bednar once spoke of an experience when he was giving a blessing to a young man diagnosed with cancer. He said, "I then posed questions I had not planned to ask and had never previously considered: '[John,]
do you have the faith not to be healed? If it is the will of our Heavenly Father that you are transferred by death in your youth to the spirit world to continue your ministry, do you have the faith to submit to His will and not be healed?'"

This question has been impressed in my mind so much lately, do I have the faith that even if I don't learn Spanish, that I won't be discouraged in the mission work? That even if my hearing never recovers or changes and I'll forever struggle will all languages, I will still be loyal and faithful and diligent? That even if I don't have a baptism every month or a lesson every day, that I'll remain patient and persevere to the end?

Am I "willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father?" (Mosiah 3:19)

Righteous desires and questions are answered 1) according to our faith and 2) accordance to God's will. Gabino just isn't ready yet. But he will be. In God's ever-perfect plan he will be ready. And as for the hearing thing? Well, I've learned a lot about humility. I've learned a lot about being grateful for what I DO have. And more than anything,
I've learned a lot about how to rely on my Savior Jesus Christ through those difficult times.

I know God answers our prayers and helps us with the desires of our hearts. Ask yourself how you can increase your faith to be healed and see those miracles in your life. Then also ask how you can increase your faith NOT to be healed, to remain a disciple of Christ even when the will of God is opposed to our own.

I guess you can say this is kinda like my mid-mission crisis letter. Hope you enjoy it all the same!

Love you all so much,

Hermana Blanchard

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