Some things are hard to define and when you make an attempt to give an explanation you never quite feel like you've done it justice. Faith is one of those subjects that feels like an ocean almost too deep and wide to wrap your mind around.
We bought this house that can be classified as a "fixer-upper" and we have been doing a lot of work to improve the
ol' homestead for the past few months. The bad part is I have no idea on how to start on any of the projects I have before me. The good news is my Dad is really skilled in pretty much everything and could probably build a house with no power tools. Luckily we do have power tools though.
With many of the projects I was very frustrated because I couldn't see the big picture of what needed to be done. I knew what I wanted the finished project to look like but I didn't know what steps and what tools it took to get a finished satisfactory job - and I didn't own any tools either. That is what was so great when my Dad would help me. He had the experience, skills, strength, and the tools to get the job done and I learned as much as I could watching.
We have now been living in a 90-95% complete home for the past 6 months. There are little jobs that need to be done here and there and I have had the best intentions on doing them on my own. Every time I get motivated to start on something I find myself frustrated because I don't know where to start, I don't have the skills, or I don't have the right tools - so I give up and the project sits undone for a little longer.
Yesterday after I got off work I asked my Dad to come over and help me get a few started. I thought maybe if he could just get me started on something and tell me how to do it I could get somewhere. It was interested to sit in the front room telling him what jobs I needed to get done and it was almost like they were already complete in his head. He knew exactly what it took to get the job done where I was in a dark room looking for a way out.
As I pondered Faith today I felt yesterday's experienced helps me to understand a little facet of the principle. God asks me to do many things. He knows how to get the job done and with what skills and tools are necessary to finish a satisfactory project. Sometimes I can't see the "big picture" so it seems difficult to put my trust in what he says because I don't know what I'm doing down here on Earth. Sometimes He asks me to do things that I don't have the tools for. I have found that as I put the first foot in front of me he provides the tools along the path. As I need a hammer, someone will come hand one to me (figuratively speaking).
There is an example of an ancient prophet that came to mind. His family was leaving Jerusalem just before the Babylonians came to occupy. God guided his Father and his family through the wilderness and they eventually came to the sea and they couldn't travel any further. The prophet, Nephi, prayed for wisdom and what he should do. The Lord told him that he needed to build a ship and travel on the sea to a promised land. Nephi had no previous experience in building a ship and he didn't have any tools to complete the job either but he exercised his faith. As he did so, God showed him where to find and melt metal ore into tools that he could use to shape the vessel. Because Nephi trusted God he was able to finish the ship and get his family across oceans to arrive on the American continents and live a prosperous life (1 Nephi 17). Imagining myself in his shoes without knowledge, skills, or tools to complete what God asked I'm sure I would feel a little like a deer does in headlights - just like while working on my house.
Faith in this sense is like trust to me. As I learn to trust and have faith that God will provide, help, and answer my prayers and guide my life, I feel closer to Him. Much like I do when I work side by side with my father here on a project, I get to know him better. It becomes easier to trust and have faith in what God asks us to do as we do it more and more. If we are called to an intimidating calling at church or asked to live a challenging commandments we can do it as we put our trust in Him.
I know God hears me and knows my struggles. He is a loving Father who wants the same things for me as I want for my daughter - Happiness. I can have that happiness as I trust in the "big picture" and take the necessary steps that He has provided for me.
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" -Proverbs 3:5
- Joe Macedone