Simple Question, Small Answers, and a Bigger Picture

“What is faith?”

I was caught red handed when I was asked this question myself;
I confidently started explaining but that confidence didn’t last long.

It went something like:

“Faith is when you, um, you have a strong belief, basically, before you see something.. uh huh. Before you know its true.. well you know but you don’t know, you know?? like Santa Claus?”

Yep, I really compared God to Santa, He’s probably still rolling on the floor of Heaven trying to catch his breath.

The situation came about simply enough,
I was reading scriptures with the Elders in the courtyard and we read a verse that could be led deeper into understanding by asking ‘what do you think it means to have faith?’

So, I started in..
But I didn’t know.

I know how to have faith. I have it, I think.
But then again,
How could I possess something when I don’t know
What it is, that I actually possess?

‘I have faith, that I have faith.’ Ran through my head. *another facepalm.

In an attempt to save me from the tidal waves of thoughts I was trying to work through, the Elders asked me again, but this time rephrasing it in an attempt to clarify my perspective,

“How will you explain it to your boys when they ask you?”

I still didn’t get it.

But I did realize that missionaries are much better and much cheaper than any counselor I’ve ever been to. They usually have answers and if they don’t, they know how to ask the questions the right way.

We finished up the chapter and went on our way.. it wasn’t until later that night it came to me.

For my boys,
I’d describe having faith by contrasting it with having a belief.

Faith is when you are so sure of something, that you’re beyond just willing to stand up for it; you’re already standing in place of it and living in the example of it’s truth yet to come.

Faith is working diligently, modeling and sculpting what it will be like when it comes.

Faith is to be so certain of the future outcome that you don’t just know it will happen, you invite everyone and their dog to come see it happen too.

Having a belief in something or believing in someone is a genuine expression, but you’re relying on that something or someone else to obtain whatever the specific belief is.

Believing is essentially saying a powerful ‘good luck, but the benefits are for you.’

While believing is amicable; It’s a spectator sport.

You made it to the game, but you’re only there to watch.

Faith is the kid whose spent his entire life on the field.

Practicing, putting in work, all the while knowing, that the major league is his last stop.

Believing is safe.

while Faith could risk a whole lot.

Belief is on the sideline, barely in the spotlight.

Faith is in the center of that light, offering the greatness, waiting in tomorrow.

Belief is watching someone else obtain that greatness,

Faith is reminding everyone that there’s enough room in the center for anyone, if they’re willing to stand.

Faith is an extension of who you are.

While believing is seeing what you didn’t know you could be.

I felt really good about that. I realized its such an important skill to teach our kids, if not the most important. It pertains to all areas of life and how to be a good person living it.

But what about faith for adults whose dreams aren’t so Major league, faith for just spiritual purposes??

That brought the thought in terms of;
“If you have faith, you have an absolute belief, it’s unquestionable…”

But I stopped = because that’s illogical, not to mention the exact opposite of what I teach my boys, and how I live myself.

I encourage them to question everything, every day.

And as they grow, Im going to encourage them to question everything again, and again the following day.

We gain intellect from our interactions within the world each day, it’s sheer ignorance to neglect assimilating our new experiences amongst our prior understandings.

Whether that understanding is strengthened or weakened, this is the prudent ingredient  essential for growth.

Can you imagine the state the world would be in if we didn’t ask questions? What about us individuals, what kind of people could we be if we didn’t question the things we have faith in?

We’d be in chaos, Especially when it comes to our relationship with God.

A simple “is this the right thing to do or is it wrong?”
Is questioning our personal faith with him
but it’s also the only thing standing between Heaven and Hell.

We have to ask questions or we’d be directionless. Without asking why, were not only limiting growth we are fueling spiritual, economical, and personal decline.

This led me to writing more with my opinion of the “Importance of Why” and the decline of our social system. I left this subject alone for a while. But then, when I was in the middle of thinking through a medical concept, a thought occurred to me. A thought that not only opened up that concept, but served as a bridge back to this one:

Faith isn’t the big picture, it’s an accumulation of little pictures so densely grouped together it appears like one solid mass.

By the time faith has grown into something we can see, the gardener knows what they’re doing. We don’t measure the little efforts put forth every single day that strengthen the roots, adapt to the climate, and suffer the droughts. We only see a beautiful declaration to life masked in Graceful movements with no residual anything exemplifying the process it took to get there and takes to stay there.

Faith masquerades as grandiose and too complex because by the time we see it, it has been cultivated just as its seeds. Faith isn’t only the garden or the flower bed, it is the fertilizer, the environment, the climate, the water levels, and effort you put in in which allows only positive seeds to grow.

We can plant seeds of good, hope, and peace all day long, every day, of every year. But without faith, without the proper conditions, they will never grow.

You can believe they will grow, and the natural conditions around you and your positive attitude might let them take root. You can have a little faith, or you can even have a false faith.. and they will provide enough condition allowing the tiniest sprout. But the abundance, beauty, and mortality of the growth of what you’ve planted will be contingent upon how its tended too up until AND after it’s sprouted.

Faith is everything, it’s always most important and a never ending job. A bush tended to for 30 years will of course fare better if abandoned than a younger shrub. But regardless of how long you’ve spent catering to it, the day you leave it, is still the day it starts to die.

Our faith needs to be a constant servant to our heavenly father, we need to grow in his garden fiercely and bravely.

Without each one of us, steadfast in his teachings, without nurturing ourselves according to his words, and avoiding personal and professional conflict and turmoil by following his simple guide, The Commandments; Humanity won’t provide us conditions necessary for survival.  Without faith in ourselves, to do these things well, we will not take root, we will never grow.

And without our growth, at the roots here on earth; the garden of heaven will never have any sprouts.

With no sprouts from the seeds God planted, in which he’s promised great life and practiced ultimate faith in getting to grow -he will eventually have nothing to have faith in anymore, regardless of how much he wants to. And the day he stops tending to us, is the same day we start to die.

Without our faith in him – he won’t be able to offer his forgiveness to us, how can you give something to a group of seeds that never grew?

We can’t wait for faith, and it’s not too easy or too big for any one of us.

Faith isn’t beautiful, but it is a beautiful and essential tribute. When we beheld Jesus on the Cross, the only man with upmost faith and who served a perfect life, they say he wasn’t much that our worldly opinions would describe as much to look at. But I highly doubt there has ever been a sight more fitting to describe true beauty.

Faith isn’t beautiful, but it is a beautiful testimony .

A testimonial marked with dirty hands and worn out knees.

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