Hello my lovelies.
I gave a talk this Sunday. I can’t copy and paste the text because I have been trying to be more like a High Councilman and come prepared, but let the spirit talk through me instead of reading all the clever little things I had written down. So I went in there with just a few notes, scriptures, and a lot of prayer. I wanted to share some of it with you though, because this talk… I feel like it encapsulates this pivotal moment in my Eternal Progression.
The verse that the Bishop assigned me was Moroni 7:33, which reads:
And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.
Now, go back and read it again. Done? Okay.
This verse has three key words that I will touch on today. The first is Expedient, the second is Faith, and the third is Power.
Expedient is used several times in the scriptures. Now, I need you to open up another window and read the following verses on LDS.org or get out your scriptures and do it old school, D&C 88:63-65, D&C 18:18, and D&C 122: 6-9. Go ahead, I’ll wait, and you may want to mark them.
Yes, I know the word expedient wasn’t in that last one, but the definition was, in a way. You see something that is expedient, as defined in the dictionary, is something that is useful in bringing about a desired result.
Now, what is God’s desired result for us? My 9 year old knew that right away, go read Moses 1:39. The entire purpose of God’s existence is his children, to bring about our immortality, but more importantly, most importantly, our Eternal Life.
God’s purpose is not to see us all live in mansions, it is not to make sure that we never go hungry, it is not to protect us from hardship or sorrow. He sees that our trials are EXPEDIENT.
I want you to do something for me (I made the congregation close their eyes, but obviously in print you can’t do that). I want you to picture the thing in life you fear the most, be it death, or deprivation, be it losing your kids, or living in the streets, whatever your personal hell-on-earth is, you picture that.
Now, the worst has happened. Is God still with you? Does God still love you? Is his hand still outstretched for you?
Then what are you afraid of?
Let’s talk about Faith. We all know that miracles are brought about by faith. Right? Christianity 101 there, faith precedes the miracle; Christ didn’t do miracles that he didn’t connect with the faith of the recipients. This leads us to ask ourselves, “What miracles am I denying myself by my lack of faith? If I had more faith, if I was better at having faith, would I have more miracles?”
And that is where we go wrong.
You see Christ does not expect our faith to be perfect. He expects us to grow our faith, constantly improve it, but he knows it is a process (if you have any questions about how this process works, go read Alma 32.) The thing is though, he is so anxious to bless us, he loves us so much, he will do as much as he can to meet us, to “reach our reaching.” In Mark 9 there was that boy who was taken by an unclean spirit, and his father asked Jesus to heal him. Jesus asked about the father’s faith and he said, “Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.”
Help thou my unbelief, I cannot tell you how many times I have said the same words in the last few months. I can tell you that as much faith as you have, if you will extend it, and sometimes you have to extend ALL of it, but if you will extend it, it will be enough, he will make up the difference.
Now let’s look at 1 Peter 1:7, done reading? Good. So here our faith is likened to gold and he spells out that it has to be refined. Refining gold is an incredibly harsh process. Google it, you’ll see, repetitive heat, acid washes, beatings. Well, that’s what your faith has to go through, because it is expedient.
I know, it sounds scary, but that leads us to my favorite part.
If we have faith we will have the Power to do whatsoever is expedient.
Knowing what is expedient in your life is hard. I mean, is this a trial we can dance around, avoid? Or does God need us to go through it? It’s a highly individual, personal question every time, and it always has been.
When Jacob faced Esau, after all those years, it was personal, and Jacob’s prayer for help was answered in the most powerful, personal way. When Moses faced Pharaoh, it was personal, he had personally rejected this man whom he had grown up with. When David faced Goliath, it was personal, it was individual, but he had the power of God’s promises and commandments and his faith in the expediency of his actions.
That power through faith was with Daniel in the lion’s den. It was with Micah, Jeremiah, and Lehi as they cried repentance. Things didn’t go all skipping through daisies for them either, but that’s okay, because it was expedient for them.
The apostles found it was expedient to cast out devils and heal people, and through the proper application of faith they had the power. Stephen was transfigured and stood with great power before the Sanhedrin. Nephi faced Laban, but more difficult and more personal, he faced Laman and Lemuel again and again with faith and power, and through that he accomplished the expedient, he crossed an ocean, he lead his people in righteousness.
By that power of faith Ammon preached to Lamoni, who had a nasty habit of killing people. And Alma, oh beloved Alma, Alma the Elder, who cried to the Lord over his wayward son, he had such faith too. When his son was carried into him, when his son laid in basically a coma for three days, he rejoiced inside, because he could see, where most of us would not, that this was expedient. His faith gave him power and peace to get through that.
Now, I want you to read 2 Timothy 1:7.
This verse means so much to me, because a dear friend quoted it to me at a moment when I needed it so very, very much. I wrote it on my hand, in permanent ink, and I kept refreshing it until it had sunk into my soul. Power, love, a sound mind, those are the gifts of the spirit that are available to us through our faith during times of trial. Those are the things we have access to if we refuse to allow Satan to cloud our minds with fear. Those are the things that are just a moment away.
Reach for them. Extend your hand into the darkness and I promise you that God’s hand is right there ready to grasp yours, because he has been reaching for you the whole time. I know he is, because he loves you like he loves me, and he has reached my reaching and performed a million miracles for me. For this I will be eternally thankful and love him all the more every day.
In the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.