Saturday, October 23, 2010

Let's Live by Faith........week 75

Let’s live by faith

Everything is good in Nicaragua. I thought I would share with you a few more lessons that I learned this week. I hope they will benefit you as much as they have me.

I was reading this week in the New Testament when I came upon this scripture. I thought I would share it.

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17

But to understand a little better this scripture I will show you what it says in Spanish.

Porque en el evangelio la justicia de Dios se revela por fe y para fe; como está escrito: Mas el justo por la fe vivirá.

I think the literal translation would then mean something like this…

Because in the Gospel the Justice of God is revealed by faith and for faith: as it is written, The Just shall live by faith.

I like the Spanish version because it teaches some very important principles I have not only conceptualized in the mission but also put in practice. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the way we can become acquainted with God’s Justice. Think about it. Every time we receive a blessing it is because we have been obedient to a law of the Gospel. That’s faith. After the trial of our faith, we see the Justice of God revealed because He gives us according to our works. He blesses those who keep His commandments and as we see the bounteous blessings He bestows because of our faith, we have a greater desire to continue to do good, to exercise more faith and receive more blessings. That is how the Gospel gives us more faith. It is one eternal round of how faith feeds more faith if exercised. That is why in Alma it talks of faith like a seed. If we plant it and nourish it, it will grow and bring forth fruit.

I was led to this Scripture Friday morning and the same day I was even able to use the scripture to help a recent convert family and an investigator. They began to explain to me how they have had many trials. They shared with me how one of the family members has even been angry with God because He allowed a small nine year old girl to die so young. She was crossing the road when a car hit her. The whole family was devastated. One might think reading the before mentioned scripture doesn’t apply then because apparently our Heavenly Father will give to everyone justly according to what they deserve. Did a small nine year old girl deserve a punishment of death? Had this new member done something wrong to see such a trial?

I listened to their comments and I couldn’t help but feel the spirit fill the room as these suffering children of God questioned the Justice of Him who is mighty to save. Why wasn’t He merciful then and let her live? These are soul searching questions.

I thought about the Savior Jesus Christ and how He only went about doing good. Did He deserve to have such trials and sufferings? I think not. But they happened. I proceeded to explain why trials would be so necessary in our lives. What would have happened if Jesus Christ only received according to His works, that He only be blessed instead of tried? We would have no Atonement, no return to God. We would have nothing. In the end, trials are necessary so that we can have future blessings. Is God not just then for giving us trials from time to time that we feel like we don’t deserve? No. He is always just. He just sometimes doesn’t give us the blessing in our time frame. We choose to obey a certain law. God is obligated to bless us in His own due time.

God gives us trials so that we can show our faith. Because perhaps faith isn’t faith until it is tried.

Let’s add that in.

Because in the Gospel the Justice of God is revealed by (the trial of your) faith and for (the trial of your) faith: as it is written, The Just shall live by (the trial of) faith.

In our lives we live the gospel as we use our faith to overcome our trials. As we do so, God blesses us with more opportunities to try our faith and we will live by the trial of faith our whole life so that we can little by little become more like our Savior Jesus Christ. Day by day we prepare ourselves to meet the Savior by overcoming the little things. Line upon line and precept of precept we see ourselves change and this gives us more faith. Pablo had explained this phenomenon one verse earlier:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salavation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16

If we but have faith and endure unto the end, we will be saved by Him who also had to have trials of faith and had to endure unto the end. We will meet Him and He will reward us with EVERYTHING that we have ever deserved and more than we could ever imagine. Really, all these things are for our good. I believe in the Justice of God. He is so just in fact that He will give us even all that He has. But we must have faith like He did and trials like He did too to be able to show the faith.

In my mission I have learned that the Lord does give us trials and difficult things but in the end they always make us better. When we show our faith, He ALWAYS blesses us. Briefly, I will say that this week was somewhat difficult for me too. I have been really busy with Changes and a Conference for next week. New missionaries came and a few went home. Thursday morning we had to make an emergency car trip to the airport before the plane was scheduled to leave because the leaving missionaries had ID problems. We had to travel about 20 miles in 20 minutes in the mid morning in Managua with traffic. It was an impossible task. But it had to be done. I said a little prayer, about 5 seconds with my companion so that we could make it there safely and intact. We got there but at one point we were hit in the car. A car hit the back left side of the President’s car. I got in an accident. I was devastated as I drove the remaining part of the trip. We dropped off the IDs and we parked the car to review the damage about 10 minutes later. We expected a huge dent, some serious damage. To our amazement only a little bit of paint and a small scratch. It didn’t make sense because when we felt the impact the car had shook and there was a loud noise. We had been swiped by another car. How could there only be a little scratch? I began to cry. The Lord had answered our 5 second prayer.

Upon reviewing the car later it seems that all damage was taken on by the rubber wheel which looked scraped. I did the statistics in my head I have decided that the chances of hitting only the rubber part of the wheel at the high speed we had turning are about a million to one. It was truly a miracle, a tender mercy of the Lord. I told the President how I felt and he said it was a great blessing that no one had been hurt on the way.

I believe in the Justice of God. I know that He blesses us when we exercise faith and upon experiencing the promised blessings, our faith increases. A 5 second prayer brought an incredible blessing and I now know that all things happen for a reason. It was a trial of my faith but I was able to exercise it and I saw a result. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it is the power of God unto Salvation, unto everyone that believes. I choose to live by faith!

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Grant Russell

PS The Google Translator wasn't too bad. I actually understood most of it but there were definitely some errors. But surprisingly good. I am now worried for the Spanish teachers...they are going to have a harder time finding the cheaters ha ha. Question... I like the ties that Joy is selling. My companions too.