I have always loved Alma 32. It spoke to me even when I was an investigator. It’s where I live….. “If you can no more than desire to believe…” Aren’t those words beautiful? They stir up so much feeling in me. I can also relate to that desperate man in the New Testament, “Lord, I believe. Help Thou mine unbelief.” It is not doubts about the restored gospel. I love this gospel. That resolve has been tested over and over, not by those who’ve abandoned or maligned me, but by those in the church.
It was tested when someone who taught me the gospel behaved horrendously. It is even now tested as someone I grew to trust more than I have trusted anyone in my life behaves in ways that both frighten and anger me. Through it all I knew and still know the gospel is true. My friend, Vicki, was always afraid I would encounter such things after I joined the church. I remember a phone conversation we had once right before my baptism. Her words still ring true. “Annmarie, I want you to always remember the gospel is perfect. The people are not.”
So, my faith in the Savior and His gospel are strong. It is daily faith. Where I waver is believing the words the Spirit whispers to me are true and will come to pass. I have always wondered about the story with the young stripling warriors. It said they believed the words of their mothers and did not doubt. Therefore not one of them perished. I’ve wondered, what if they had doubted? Was it their resolve and faith that brought to fruition the Lord’s protection? If they had doubted, would they have been killed?
We are told to have faith. Is it possible that it is our own human weakness and doubts that keep blessings away? And how does the agency of others factor in? I once prayed in desperation, knowing faith and trust are my weakest areas for God to please have mercy on me and teach me how to have faith. His Spirit whispered to me Alma 32. Well, if that is the main factor, then I should be heading in the right direction. I have such a great desire to believe. I need to work on keeping the fear away, knowing that fear and faith cannot co-exist.
It seems I am also entering a new arena in life as well. I’ve been asked out a lot lately. I kept saying no, but realize that at some point I have to get out there. Tonight I go on my first date. Here are my fears: 1. I hate disappointing people. Because of that I am afraid I will stay in a relationship longer than I want to out of fear of hurting either him or the person that set us up. 2. While I do want to re-marry for several reasons, I don’t want to end up in a similar relationship to the one I had in my first marriage.
I am also mindful of the words in my patriarchal blessing, that I will not share here. How can I be sure I am with that person? It seems the Spirit tells me I will know, but I sure don’t trust myself. I prayed about this a long time in the Celestial room of the temple, the last two times I’ve gotten to go. There are some things I feel the Spirit has said that seem impossible. But, He said it both times, and now it is time for me to have….yes, you guessed it…faith. I really wish I was better at that.