Faith is a strong conviction about something we believe—a conviction so strong that it moves us to do things that we otherwise might not do. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1, New International Version (1984)
How can one be sure of what you cannot see?
There are more ways to see than with our eyes, more ways to feel than with our hands, more ways to hear than with our ears.
Take for example a hearing impaired person. Just because we can’t hear something doesn’t mean there is nothing to hear. To say you only need to “listen harder”, may not always be the most helpful way.
Perhaps better advice—for anyone who wants to increase faith—is to listen differently. The Apostle Paul encourages us to seek the voice that speaks to our spirit, not just to our ears. He taught, “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:14, New International Version (2011) Or perhaps we should consider the words of Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince, who said: “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
The Power and Limits of Faith
The power of faith in our lives can be profound. Faith is the power behind every thing that is created. The scriptures teach us that through faith the worlds were framed, waters were parted, dead were raised, and rivers and mountains were moved from their course. Hebrews 11:3, 5, 29, 35.
So if faith is powerful, you may wonder why you can’t even receive an answer to a heartfelt prayer and you don’t need to part a sea or move a mountain. You might just want an illness to go away or a companion, or grief to stop hurting. You may ask, “Why can’t my faith accomplish that?”
Yes faith is powerful and often it does result in miracles. But no matter how much faith we have, there are two things faith cannot do. 1. It cannot violate another person’s agency. As painful as it might be, our Father in Heaven cannot force anyone to heaven. To compel, would undermine His plan for our eternal growth. 2. Faith cannot force our will upon God. We cannot force God to comply with our desires - no matter how right we think we are or how sincerely we pray.
Paul pleaded with the Lord multiple times for relief from a personal trial—what he called “a thorn in the flesh.”. But that was not God’s will. Eventually, Paul realized that his trial was a blessing, and he thanked God for not answering his prayers the way he had hoped. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Trust and Faith
The purpose of faith is not to change God’s will but to empower us to act on God’s will. Faith is trust - trust that God sees what we cannot and that he knows what we do not. Isaiah 55:8–9.
Trusting in our own vision and judgment is often not enough.
Faith means that we trust not only in God’s wisdom but that we trust also in His love. It means trusting that God loves us perfectly, that everything He does—every blessing He gives and every blessing He for a time, withholds—is for our eternal happiness.
With this kind of faith, though we may not understand why certain things happen or why certain prayers go unanswered, we can know that in the end everything will make sense. “All things [will] work together for good to them that love God" .Romans 8:28
All will be made right and all will be made well.
Yes, answers do come, and we can be confident that we can be content with the answers given as well as receive overwhelming grace, mercy, generosity and love.
Don't give up on the miracle
While our faith may seem weak, we walk by whatever faith we have 2 Corinthians 5:7, as we seek to increase our faith. To those who are impatient, uncommitted, or careless may find faith to be elusive. Those who are easily discouraged or distracted may hardly experience it. Faith comes to the humble, the diligent, the enduring.
It comes to those who pay the price of faithfulness.
It is easy to say, I tried the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd time when unbeknownst us, it could be the 4th and we don’t know when our faith will be actualized.
It Shall Be Opened Unto You
In our search for enduring faith, in our quest to connect with God and His purposes, let us remember the Lord’s promise: “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Matthew 7:7
Will we give up after the 2nd or third try or keep knocking, keep seeking until we make it?
God “rewards those who earnestly seek him” Hebrews 11:6, New International Version (1984), which is rarely after the first few attempts. Don’t give up. Seek God with all your heart, exercising faith taking inspired action. You will receive the answers you seek. You will find faith. You will be filled with light that grows brighter and brighter.
God is real.
He loves you.
He knows you.
He understands you.
He knows the silent pleadings of your heart.
He has not abandoned you.
He will not forsake you.
Live in faith and “the Lord [our] God [will] increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised!” Deuteronomy 1:11, New International Version (2011)
~Excerpted from Dieter F. Uchtdorf September, 2016