I absolutely loved President Uchtdorf's message on faith during the Women's Conference! I listened to it again, last night in preparation for this post and felt again, the need to post about it right away because it spoke to me in so many different ways. His talk was such a message of hope & comfort to me and I hope that if you haven't had the chance to listen, read, or watch it, that you will take the time to study and ponder this message about faith from President Uchtdorf. (You can read, watch or listen to it here.) As always, I would love to hear any thoughts, feelings, impressions, or questions you may have!
First, I would like to share some of the things that President Uchtdorf taught us about faith and then I will share a few of my favorite quotes and a few of my own thoughts.
President Uchtdorf taught us about what faith is and what faith cannot do. He said that
- "a strong conviction about something that we believe" that is also a "strong enough conviction to do things we otherwise might not have done."
- "being sure of what we hope for and being certain of what we do not see."
President Uchtdorf went on to talk about those who may have a hard time with faith and he said, "What they fail to understand is that there are more ways to see than with our eyes, more ways to feel than with our hands, and more ways to hear than with our ears." He also quoted The Little Prince, "One sees clearly only with the heart, anything essential is invisible to the eyes."
And then he gave some advice to those who want to increase in faith: simply "listen differently." I loved this so much and it reminded me of something my Mission President's Wife would say, "if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten." (that's a quote by Anthony Robbins) In order to feel something different than what we've always felt, we have to make changes and do different things.
President Uchtdorf posed a few questions that I think many of us have wondered at one point or another. "If faith is so powerful, why can't I receive answers to a heartfelt prayer? Why can't my faith accomplish that?" And then he taught us that there are a few things that faith cannot do.
- "[Faith] cannot violate another person's agency."
- "[Faith] cannot force our will upon God."
President Uchtdorf taught something last weekend that I had never thought of before and it really sunk deep, he said:
"God did not force His own children to follow Him in the premortal world. How much less will He force us now, as we journey through this mortal life? God will invite, persuade, god will reach out tirelessly with love and admiration and encouragement. But God will never compel."
President Uchtdorf spoke of mothers who pray tirelessly about wayward children and a few other scenarios and he reinforced the point that faith cannot violate agency or force our will upon God by saying, "no matter how right we think we are or how sincerely we pray," faith still cannot do the two things above. But there is hope because, "The purpose of faith is not to change God's will, but to empower us to act on God's will."
A few of my other favorite quotes from this talk:
"Faith is trust. Trust that God sees what we cannot and that He knows what we do not."
"[Faith] means trusting that God loves us perfectly, that everything He does, every blessing He gives, and every blessing He, for a time, withholds is for our eternal happiness."
"We can know in the end everything will make sense... all will be made right, all will be made well... we can be certain that answers will come. Until then, we walk by whatever faith we have. Seeking always to increase our faith."
"God rewards those who earnestly seek Him, but that reward is not usually behind the first door, so we need to keep knocking. Sisters, don't give up. Seek God with all your heart."
I love these quotes. They give so much hope and comfort to me. I am grateful for these words and hope to be able to remember them and call upon them in times of need as I seek to see things differently and grow my own faith in my Savior and in my Heavenly Father's plan. I chose to share these photos because I feel like sometimes it feels like we are looking into the fog and that nothing is really happening in our lives, but when the fog clears, we get to see the point of the mountain and in essence, the point of this life on earth. As we keep our faith, we can understand why we are here and what our true purpose in life is, all thanks to the Plan of our Loving Heavenly Father and the Atonement of His Son.
The closing hymn of the Women's Meeting was I Know That My Redeemer Lives. Parker will tell you that I have yet to make it through that song without sobbing during church and this time was no different. The words of the second verse are my absolute favorite of any hymn (with the final verse of Reverently and Meekly Now being a VERY close second...) they read,
He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives,
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"