When I was young, I understood faith to be how hard I could believe. I was sure my prayers would only be answered if I truly and completely believed. Much like a heavenly Santa Claus who could only deliver if I believed. So, I would try to focus my belief so intensely that I was sure God had to answer. Then when I didn’t get what I wanted, I figured I just didn’t believe hard enough.
My understanding of faith has changed since then.
Children raised in a stable, loving home have very few worries. They, of course, worry about the same things all kids worry about - The kids at school were mean, my parents say no, I don’t want to do my chores, etc. But those worries are typically short-lived because they know their parents have things under control. They don’t worry about whether there will be food in the fridge, paying the mortgage, or sleeping safely. They have complete faith that their parents will take care of them. This is the type of faith God wants us to have.
While honestly believing that God can do what we are asking for is part of faith. I now realize that it is much more than believing really hard. Faith in God means we trust that he has everything under control. That no matter what happens, good or bad, he’s got a plan.
Can’t find a job?
Struggling with a physical challenge you can’t seem to overcome?
Suffering from depression and anxiety?
Life not working out the way you planned?
The church did something you disagree with?
A loved one has strayed from the path?
Lost someone close to you?
The type of faith our Heavenly Father expects us to build within ourselves requires believing it will be OK. No matter what happens, we trust that he will take care of us. We need to believe that there is a plan underlying both the good and the bad.
So, how do we build this type of childlike faith? One of the best ways to develop our faith is to find the hand of God in our lives. Let me point out a few ways this has begun to happen for me and can happen for you.
Sometimes when you read the scriptures, your understanding of a verse or idea will be expanded. God will open your mind, and you will understand a gospel principle in a way you have not before. And if you’re wise, you will write this down.
If you’re like me, Sunday church meetings are not always the spiritual feast they should be. I take full responsibility for this, but it is a reality. Kids can be a distraction. My thoughts often stray to other parts of my life. I get consumed with “getting things done” for my calling. The list goes on. But there will be times when you are at church, and the Spirit will touch your heart - a phrase in a prayer, a heartfelt testimony, a great class discussion. This will be the Spirit communicating that you are in the right place. And if you’re wise, you’ll write this down.
Once in a while, you will be talking to your Heavenly Father, and you will forget the world around you. Your plea will be so heartfelt that it genuinely feels like you are talking to the Divine. You will know that God is there, that he is listening, and that he loves you. And if you’re wise, you’ll write this down.
During those times you can quiet your mind, you will sometimes receive promptings to do something for someone (e.g. a phone call, an encouraging text, dropping off some food, stopping by to say hello, etc.). And sometimes, you will find out that your actions answered a prayer. And if you’re wise, you’ll write this down.
These things aren’t going to happen every time you open the scriptures, attend church, say your prayers, or serve others. But if you persist in doing them, and you look for God in them, there will be times that you find him. I promise.
Each of these experiences, if recorded in both your heart and wherever else you will look at them again, will be times you find the hand of God in your life. Each of these experiences will contribute to building your faith. So, when the job search gets tough, the loss of a loved one feels like you will never be whole, or the “thorn in the flesh” seems too much to endure, you will know that God is there and have faith that he will take care of you.