Friday, October 17, 2014

Alma 32:34-35 -- On Reality

"And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.
O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?"
Alma 32:34-35

In this chapter, Alma compares the word of God to a seed that we plant in our hearts, and urges us to try this experiment and to see if the word grows and expands our souls.  In these verses he explains that if we try that and it works, we have used our faith to reach knowledge in that particular area... we now know that it works. :)  The discussion continues past this point, talking about other things to try, etc, but this part struck me today because of the phrase "is not this real?"  ... I feel like that is something that we ask ourselves a lot with regard to God, and the gospel, and spiritual things in general.  We wonder, at least when we are first trying these experiments and listening for God, if our emotions are running away with us, whether we're deluding ourselves, whether God is really there listening or whether we're just feeling something because we want to believe.  Even after we have reached the level of knowledge with regard to God, or part of it, we can still wonder about feeling the spirit.  Is this the spirit or is this me?  We can struggle with knowing for certain when God is speaking to us or when we are just worried or concerned about something.
I think that Alma is describing something that helps us to resolve those concerns, and shows us that learning about God and his gospel is a process.  It doesn't all spring into being at once.  We get to know God.  We might know some things instantly or instinctively, but overall, we all have to learn, gradually, that the gospel is right.  It is okay to wonder, and to try the experiment.  It is okay not to know how to recognize the spirit, and to work up to that over time.  Our knowledge becomes perfect in certain things, but it takes time, and faith is still going to play a part throughout our lives.  We can't know it all... there is always more to learn, at least in this life.  But once part of it works, and once we have that relationship with God, I think that we can know at least that part... that it IS real.  That God exists.  That we can talk to him.  And if we can get to that stage, where we know that it isn't a fairy tale, then I think we can start learning to trust God, and getting his guidance as we learn more.
Today, if we don't know that God is real, let's get on our knees and sincerely ask to know that.  And if we know that already, let's learn more, based on that solid foundation.

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