Saturday, January 24, 2009

Finding enduring PEACE, HAPPINESS and JOY

Recently I've watched a good friend struggle through a trial in her life that required a lot of patience and a great deal of uncertainty. She's tried to remain positive, but it has been a struggle to feel enduring peace and happiness. She's not a member of my religious faith, and doesn't have any real belief system, but as I struggled to find things to say to her to help, I found myself searching through talks and scriptures on FAITH.

I started reading a book by one of my church leaders, Elder Richard G. Scott, entitled 'Finding Peace, Happiness, and Joy'. In it he talks a lot about FAITH, specifically that the first key to enduring peace and happiness is to be full of FAITH. "Life is what we choose to see in it... For many, FAITH is not adequately understood and consequently is not used to full advantage. Some feel that religion and the guidance one can receive through robust FAITH have no rational basis. However, FAITH is NOT an illusion or magic, but a power rooted in eternal principles....Exercise FAITH and you will confirm its power."

He goes on to say that we will gain a better understanding of FAITH as we: 1. "Trust in God and in HIS willingness to provide help; 2. Obey His commandments and live to demonstrate that He can trust you; 3. Be sensitive to the quiet prompting of the Spirit and ACT courageously on that prompting; 4. Be patient and understanding when God lets you struggle to grow and when answers come a piece at a time over an extended period of time."

"Motivating faith is centered in TRUST in the LORD and in HIS willingness to answer your needs. ... The consistent, willing exercise of faith increases your confidence and ability to employ the power of faith."

For me, the unwavering TRUST is difficult? And WHY??? If I can't TRUST the Lord... who can I TRUST? (answer: no one!) The patience part is also a little (or very) difficult for me. I'm the type that likes to have problems solved immediately and answers all at once. It's SOOO HARD TO WAIT!!

Elder Scott goes on:
"God uses your faith to mold your character.... In James we read: "The trying of your faith worketh patience" : For me... it's that word "patience" that always gets me. I have a limited supply :)

But, the following summary was eye-opening and enlightening for me to read and ponder:
"Your exercise of faith builds character. Fortified character expands your capacity to exercise greater faith. Thus, your confidence in conquering the trials of life is enhanced. And the strengthening cycle continue. The more your character is fortified, the more enabled you are to exercise the power of faith for yet stronger character."

Watching my friend go through this experience the past few months has been difficult, but it has taught me a lesson on FAITH and what I need to do in my own life to increase my FAITH. I've wished that I could have these conversations with her and to share what I have read, but a conversation is a two way street and the receiver needs to be willing to listen. As I've watched her struggle, but yet continue to resist religious thoughts, I wondered how many times I have behaved similarly by relying on my own abilities and knowledge to get through... and not exercising more FAITH. I'm quite sure I've stumbled and been less happy at times because of this. It's sad and painful to watch someone else go through it. I can only imagine how sad the LORD is in watching me go through it! In the end I do truly know that if I apply the principles mentioned above I really will find enduring peace, happiness and joy... which is my ultimate goal! I just need to apply them more often!!!!

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