Friday, May 11, 2012

An Eye of Faith

The phrase, eye of faith, comes up multiple times in the Book of Mormon (Alma 5:15, Alma 32:40, and Ether 12:19). It has become one of my favorite phrases because of its deep meaning. I had previously been very confused about the meaning of the phrase. To me, it seemed contradictory because I have always been taught that to have faith is to believe and trust without having to see. In my ignorance I believed that having an 'eye of faith' implies that we need to see in order to have faith.

I continued in my confusion until I met a man in one of my past areas that I was serving in as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This man explained this confusing phrase to me as he told me an experience of his past. He had previously been employed as an instructor at Ricks College in Rexburg, ID where many General Authorities visit and speak.

Ricks College (way back when)

Game winner!
A member of one of the Quorums of the Seventy was speaking at a devotional where he was recounting some events from his younger years. As a grade schooler he would play basketball every day because of his love for the game. He would practice again and again so that he would become a better player. He envisioned in his young mind that he was playing in the Final Four (one of the final phases of the NCAA basketball tournament). In this scenario his team was down by one point and he was trusted with the final shot with four seconds left in the game. He practiced shooting that final shot many times until he became comfortable and the shot became easier. He would make it with consistency. Many years later he found himself in that very scenario. This time, however, it was a reality - he was literally in the Final Four, his team was down by one point with four seconds left, and he was trusted with the last shot. He was comfortable in the situation because of his diligent practice. Taking that shot was now second nature. When he was trusted to take it and he had great confidence. He took it and made it.

All of this was possible because his visionary preparation in his younger years. Then, when given the opportunity, he made his dream come true. He had an eye of faith. He looked forward with a goal in mind and worked hard in preparation.

In the Book of Mormon we are taught that faith is like a seed. If we plant and nourish it then it will grow into a great tree. If we seek in faith and put in the necessary work, God will provide us with that which we need. Conversely, if we "will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life" (Alma 32:40). If we expect an answer to prayer about whether the Book of Mormon is true or not; which school we should attend; who we should marry, etc. but are not willing to put in the effort to receive then we will not be answered.

It is my prayer that we will all look to the future with an eye of faith. When we successfully apply this principle we will be blessed with answered questions, accomplished goals, and captured dreams.

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