Sunday, December 11, 2016

Ether 12:29-30 -- On Mountains and Faith

"And I, Moroni, having heard these words, was comforted, and said: O Lord, thy righteous will be done, for I know that thou workest unto the children of men according to their faith;
For the brother of Jared said unto the mountain Zerin, Remove—and it was removed. And if he had not had faith it would not have moved; wherefore thou workest after men have faith."
Ether 12:29-30

I don' think that we often understand the idea of faith.  So often in life, we ask (or demand) that God prove himself to us.  We want to see a sign—to know for sure.  And we figure that God owes us that, because it is impossible to make decisions based on incomplete information, right?  ... Except that's all just justification.  We *can* know without seeing, and without an obvious sign.  In fact, we probably already DO know, if we would just learn to recognize and trust the feelings of the spirit.  It definitely takes practice, just like anything else.  At first it can be hard to tell which thoughts are our own and which are from God, or which feelings are.  But as we pray and study and work with God, we learn and it becomes clearer and clearer.

Moving a mountain is an incredible thing.  The Brother of Jared was one of the most faithful men in history, which is why he was able to see beyond the veil and see the actual, literal hand of God as he touched the 16 small stones for the barges (If anyone hasn't read that story it is in Ether, Chapters 2 and 3.  Great stuff.)  Still, moving a MOUNTAIN?  Dang.  That seems huge.  But he trusted God, and did it.  I think it shows us how much we could accomplish if we were on the same page with God all the time.

God probably isn't going to ask us to move any literal mountains today, but I do think that we have some big heavy symbolic mountains that we sometimes need to move in our lives.  Usually when they come up and we consider them, we just think yeah, no.  I can't do that.  It's too big, too imposing, too vast.  I'll never be able to get through this.  And on some level, of course, we're right.  Individually we wouldn't be able to do it.  But the whole point of the faith thing isn't a one way transaction where we finally accept who God is.  It is that, plus having him in our lives every day and working *with* him to accomplish so many things that we would never be able to accomplish alone.

I also think it is interesting the emphasis placed here on God working after men have faith.  We often expect it to be the other way around.  We think, okay, well if God helped me move a mountain, then I'd have faith too.  But the point here is, Jared had faith *first,* and that's why he and God could move the mountain.  And why is that?  Because we're the ones that need to learn something here.  There is no point in God proving himself to us.  He's not the one in the classroom.  We have to prove ourselves to him... to show that we're ready to be instruments in his hands, willing to act on whatever he asks.  If we have that kind of faith, and trust him enough to do as he says, even when it might seem  crazy for a normal person, like moving a mountain, or building an ark, or moving a whole society out of Egypt... or repenting of our sins, or being able to build our lives again after loss... God will help us.  We have to practice taking the first steps, showing our obedience and faith, and God will be with us and help us.  Today, let's work on our faith, through study, prayer, and obedience, trusting God to help us move our personal mountains.

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