Monday, March 24, 2014

A Sure Foundation: The Power of Faith

It is a fact of life that we don't know what the future holds. There will always be uncertainties of one sort or another. Some are small: Is the grocery store still open?   Will it rain today? Others are more important: How can I find a job?   What will I do if I fail this class?    Why isn't my life going the way I wanted it to?

All of these uncertainties weigh on us to different degrees. They create stress and tension and fear about the future. They can cause us to doubt our decisions, and in extreme cases they can invite depression and anxiety. 

So how do we overcome these uncertainties? Some of them are easy to endure, especially with a lifetime of practice that we all get. Others, though, can't just be brushed aside. They are real concerns that have lasting impacts and no clear solution. They can leave us confused and dismayed if we do not deal with them properly. 

The Lord has blessed us with a tool for combating the fear and anxiety we all feel from time to time, and that is faith in Jesus Christ. In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Helaman tells his sons:

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

This scripture has been a great strength to me. These uncertainties and doubts about the future often feel like the "hail and mighty storm" that this verse describes. I have seen the truth of this scripture in my own life and in the lives of people I have met. As I've made Jesus Christ my foundation, I have been able to overcome greater challenges and fears than I would ever have been able to alone.

I would like to share the story of an amazing woman that I met several months ago that has been an example to me of making Christ the foundation in life. Her story inspires me and is evidence to me of the truthfulness of the gospel. I have changed her name for her privacy.

Sarah was raised in California with her siblings. At the age of 13, her parents started supplying her with illegal drugs and money to obtain more drugs. She spent years doing everything she could to feel happy, but never felt the satisfaction she wanted. In her words, she had "run as far away from God as [she] could." When she was in her 30s, she finally recognized that drugs were getting her nowhere and decided that something needed to change. At this point, she had been forced to give up her three children and was involved in an abusive relationship. She ran away from her old life and decided to come to Utah. When she got here, she was arrested and spent several months in jail. 

It was in jail that she was introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She learned the teachings of the church and developed a relationship with Christ through prayer and by reading her Bible. She realized what she had been missing for most of her life: It was God. 

Today Sarah is working hard to build a better future for herself. She is attending church and reading the scriptures and praying like no one else I've ever met. She is working on quitting smoking, finding employment, and even getting her children back! According to her, the only thing that gives her the strength to keep trying after all she's been through is the knowledge that God loves her and that He will help her all along the way.

There are countless others around the world who, like Sarah, have found God after a long life of struggling alone. Other people are blessed to have Jesus Christ as a part of their lives from their infancy. Wherever we are at in life or however we first came in contact with the gospel, we have a responsibility to live true to the knowledge we have. Each of us will pass through storms in life, time and time again. But with Jesus Christ, we will not have to pass through them alone. The uncertainties and doubts that were once crippling will become as rain bouncing off the roof of our home. Even the greatest challenges of life will become bearable through Christ's support.

We must build our foundation in Christ by living true to His commandments, by praying sincerely to Him, by reading from the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and by sharing our knowledge with those around us. We must prepare today for the storms of tomorrow by ensuring that we each have a personal relationship with the Savior.

And, if you have strayed from the path, there is always hope. The Savior is there to welcome you with open arms back into His protection. 

With Him on our side, there is nothing we cannot overcome.

Please share YOUR stories about how faith in Jesus Christ has helped you endure trials in the comments below!