Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Faith vs. Fear

This past Sunday a lesson was given that has been stuck in my mind
and I wanted to share just a few thoughts about it.

It's about faith. And it's about fear.
Two things that cannot exist together.

Often times we hold ourselves back because we're afraid.
We fear we won't achieve our dreams. Or we won't make anything of ourselves.
We fear what others may think of us, that they may not approve of our beliefs or our actions.
We fear that we just can't live up to what God asks of us
or that we can't handle the trial, challenge, or test that we are going through.

But there is a beautiful attribute that if we carefully and tenderly grow within our hearts,
we can dispel that fear. It is faith.

A beautiful story was shared in the April 2014 General Conference by Sister Stevens.
It gives a wonderful example of how faith overcame fear.

Arn and Venita Gatrell were living a happy life when Arn was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. The prognosis was devastating—he had just a few weeks to live. The family wanted to be together one last time. So all the children gathered, some from distant locations. They had only 48 precious hours to spend together. The Gatrells carefully chose what mattered most to them—a family picture, a family dinner, and a session in the Salt Lake Temple. Venita said, “When we walked out of the temple doors, it was the last time we would ever be together in this life.”
But they left with the assurance that there is so much more for them than just this life. Because of sacred temple covenants, they have hope in God’s promises. They can be together forever.
The next two months were filled with blessings too numerous to recount. Arn and Venita’s faith and trust in the Lord were growing, as evidenced in Venita’s words: “I was carried. I learned that you can feel peace in the midst of turmoil. I knew the Lord was watching over us. If you trust in the Lord, truly you can overcome any of life’s challenges.”
One of their daughters added: “We watched our parents and saw their example. We saw their faith and how they handled it. I would never have asked for this trial, but I would never give it away. We were surrounded with God’s love.”
Of course, Arn’s passing was not the outcome the Gatrells had hoped for. But their crisis was not a crisis of faith. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a checklist of things to do; rather, it lives in our hearts. The gospel “is not weight; it is wings.”4 It carries us. It carried the Gatrells. They felt peace in the midst of the storm. They held fast to each other and to temple covenants they had made and kept. They grew in their ability to trust in the Lord and were strengthened by their faith in Jesus Christ and in His atoning power. 

I loved what Venita said: "You can feel peace in the midst of turmoil."
That is the power of faith. The Lord can lift us up and help us see past our fears.
The burdens don't go away. But they are lightened by the light and atonement of our Savior.

And what a poetic reminder that "the gospel is not weight; it is wings."

So what about you?
Are you holding onto fear and living below the privileges you have been given as a daughter of God?
Or are you holding fast to your faith and allowing the gospel of Jesus Christ to help you fly?

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