Monday, March 31, 2014

Leap of Faith

We had a zone conference in Geneva Switzerland this week. We got up at 4:45 to catch our 6:30 train (oh la la) and off we went! It was a zone conference of 5 zones (that's enormous! Lots of missionaries there.) President Roney spoke and told stories about Jesus. Every zone conference he starts out by telling story after story from the scriptures/with the scriptures about Jesus and how he works with his people. And instantly the Spirit comes. This time he talked about crises of faith. He started off by talking about how Bill Nye recently gave a talk at a conference where he scientifically explained that Noah's ark is not scientifically possible, what with the weight and the dimensions and all the animals, etc. And thus the Bible isn't real. And thus God doesn't exist. President talked about how many things there are in the Gospel and in the scriptures that science says are impossible. We as missionaries encounter that everyday--people logically explain themselves out of believing in God, or they can't believe more than what they can see, and therefore, there is no God. Often their explanations seem pretty dang sound to our logical minds (that's the worst when after contacting someone, you're like, "Uh, yeah, he has a good point. I have no idea why God took the gold plates back up/why there are so little evidences in the Bible about the apostasy/well EVERY religion says they're the true religion, etc etc etc"), and sometimes we're even tempted to give in to our doubts. But then we talked about the disciples during the Savior's death--imagine that you've been following around this man who professes to be the Savior of the world. Over the last few years you've seen him work miracles--walk on water, feed the multitudes, heal people, even raise people from the dead. And then that horrible week of the crucifixion, to watch this person who you've believed in, who you've trusted, be captured, beaten, and killed, and do nothing to save himself. To the logical mind, it would be so so easy to be ashamed, to think, "If he really were the Savior, why doesn't he save himself? This must mean he isn't who he said he was, and I was DUPED." To various degrees, some of the disciples did do this--recoil into the shadows out of puzzlement and embarrassment and doubt.

But then there's Joseph of Arimathea, who's this rich man who clearly has political power, and maybe up to this point hasn't done a whole lot to show his fidelity to the Savior. But in this crisis of faith, when by all worldly evidence, the Jews had proven Jesus wasn't the Savior because they were capable of killing him (What kind of a Savior lets himself get killed anyways? (see Hebrews 2 for the answer)), Joseph steps up. He goes to Pilate and uses whatever worldly weight he has and begs--begs--for the body of Jesus and lays it in his own tomb. In a moment when it would have been so easy to pull back and refuse to take a stand, sweet Joseph of Arimethea becomes a man of great faith.

We can think about Joseph of Egypt as well, who was in prison years and years and instead of the situation getting better, it just got worse and worse. What did he do wrong anyways? Surely if Joseph's God was the real God, he wouldn't have been stuck in such a base position for so long. Logically, Joseph's God isn't a very good God. Until, of course, God saves all of Egypt and all of Israel not just despite Joseph's position in prison, but because of Joseph's position in prison. When our life is illogical and when we are faced with crises of our faith, when all the world's logic says, "There is no God. The Book of Mormon isn't real. Jesus isn't the Christ." those are the happiest moments because it's in those moments when we get to step up and say, "I believe in Christ." and profess faith in the face of impossible odds. That is the kind of faith the Savior wants from his disciples. That is the kind of faith that somehow magically changes us into celestial beings. The Savior wants us to trust him, and to say that come what may, we will follow him.

After fishing all night, the apostles throw the nets over the side onemore time, at the word of the Master, and their ships start sinking for how many fish they pull in.

"You are asking me to take a leap of faith. You can't just tell a guy a message like that between 3 and 4 in the afternoon. I hope you realize the gravity and the importance of the message you have. I hope you realize the power you hold. You are literal angels. You have the faith to move mountains--literal mountains, yes, but more importantly mountains of ignorance and unbelief." (--what an ami said to Souer Hutchins this week, after learning our message that the Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth again)

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