Sometimes I just feel drained. There is SO much going on that it’s really hard for me to focus on just one thing. I’m trying to lose weight, each of my children have a different struggle that I need to help them through, Matt is going through a difficult rotation and working 18 hour days, it seems like I haven’t made a real, home cooked meal in weeks, my house is a mess, I have a handful of reviews to write, a church calling to magnify, service projects to finish, papers and blog posts to write, and I have to shower… preferably every day.
Some days I wake up and grab the bull by the horns and other days I just don’t know where to start. If you have seen the new superman movie than you know what I am talking about. There is that point where a young Clark Kent is having a panic attack because his heightened senses are overtaking him. “The world is too big!” he tells his mom. And she says, “so make it small.”
How do we make it small? How do we focus on just one thing and not let the vastness of our responsibilities overwhelm us? By focusing on the one constant and unchanging thing in our lives: Our Father in Heaven and his love for us.
52 Life-Changing Questions From The Book of Mormon is a tool that we can use to help us focus. 52 questions, one for every week of the year, to help us focus our thoughts and turn to Him. We spend a lot of time thinking about what the scriptures tell us, not nearly as much time thinking about what they ask us. How is it that ye have forgotten? Have ye inquired of the Lord? Are we not all beggars? How long shall we suffer? Why do not angels appear unto us? What evidence have ye that there is not God? Will ye not now return unto me… that I may heal you? Have miracles ceased? These are all questions that are asked in the Book of Mormon. Brad Wilcox and John Hilton III put those questions and more in historical and scriptural context, show us a few of the lessons that we might be able to learn from them, and how to find the answers we seek. By drawing on modern examples in our day, these men help make these questions relevant to us individually instead of them just being words on a paper.
The first chapter, “Wherefore Can Ye Doubt?”, is a wonderful introduction to the tone of the book. After having seen an angel, Laman and Lemuel continue to complain about their task of retrieving the brass plates. I can easily imagine a tired and frustrated Nephi rounding on his brothers and shouting this question at them, “We have JUST seen an angel of the Lord! The brightness of light from his robes is still burned into my vision. And you still continue to murmur? Are you kidding me? Wherefore can ye doubt!?”
Then I remind myself that Nephi was a prophet and that he had far more compassion and understanding than I do. In all likelihood, he smiled and took his brothers in his arms, promptly forgiving them for beating him. “Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands?” Nephi would have grinned and with excitement in his voice said,”Therefore let us go up; let us be strong like unto Moses; for he truly spake unto the waters of the Red Sea and they divided hither and thither, and our fathers came through, out of captivity, on dry ground, and the armies of Pharaoh did follow and were drowned in the waters of the Red Sea.” It is an inspiring story. A perfect example of courage and strength in the face of great odds. Then in a lower and softer voice, “Now behold ye know that this is true; and ye also know that an angel hath spoken unto you; wherefore can ye doubt?” Laman and Lemuel weren’t happy to follow him (they were Laman and Lemuel after all) but they did.
Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that our ways are God’s ways. Ok, we often make that mistake. If we didn’t we wouldn’t so often need to be told that they are not. While I get frustrated and angry with my own shortcomings, He does not. When I have trials of my faith and am afraid to share them for fear of ridicule or reproach I need to remember that, as the authors of this book point out, “questions are not a sign of weakness but a sign of growth. The weak are not discovered by their questions but by when they stop questioning. People are not wrong when they doubt but when they fail to do something about their doubts.” The Lord won’t shout at me when I have questions. He will put his arm around me and encourage me along using a language that I understand.
When I read this chapter I was reminded of Elder Holland’s talk in April of this year.
When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have, leading as it were with your “unbelief.” That is like trying to stuff a turkey through the beak! Let me be clear on this point: I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not! So let us all remember the clear message of this scriptural account: Be as candid about your questions as you need to be; life is full of them on one subject or another. But if you and your family want to be healed, don’t let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle….
Brothers and sisters, this is a divine work in process, with the manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please don’t hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will. In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith.
I do struggle. I know that sometimes on this blog it can seem like I have it all together but the truth is I question my decisions, my faith, my family’s path, everything. And to be perfectly honest some days the only thing that gets me through is, like Elder Holland said, holding fast to what I already know and the past assurances I have had. I will continue to stand strong until I receive additional light and knowledge. I know it will come.
Questions really can change your life. I look forward to going through the rest of this book and gaining additional understanding and insight into the Lord’s plan for me.