October 21, 2008

Alma 14 and 15

The theme of these chapters if faith in Jesus Christ.

When Maren was first diagnosed I studied faith a lot. I've always been taught that faith can move mountains. You can accomplish anything if only you have enough faith. I was told more than once that if Randy and I had enough faith, Maren's heart would be fine. I never believed that. I knew a priesthood blessing wasn't going to just miraculously fix her heart. Looking back, I don't think I was being pessimistic or paranoid. I just think that I have experienced my fair share of the reality of mortality. My dad died when I was seven. I have one younger brother and 5 older siblings. Did my dad die because my mom, myself, or my siblings didn't have enough faith to keep him alive? That's crap. I have a niece who returned to heaven just before her 3rd birthday. Would she still be here if my sister, her husband and their son had more faith that she would live? That's crap, too. It just doesn't make sense. Faithful people have crappy things happen to them.

Reading these two chapters really helped me to gain a greater understanding of faith. At least three times the phrase in one wording or another is repeated in these two chapters, "...according to our faith in Jesus Christ." It's the first principle of the gospel, "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."

In chapter 15, Zeezrom is ill and receives a blessing from Alma. In vs. 10 Alma says, "O Lord, our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ." Zeezrom was healed.

Chapter 14 is not so rosy. Alma and Amulek are thrown into prison for preaching the gospel. Meanwhile, all of the men who believed Alma and Amulek were chased out of the city and their wives and children were rounded up and thrown into a fire simply for believing in Christ. Alma and Amulek are brought to watch the people being burned. It's horrible. Certainly these people had faith in God. Certainly they were praying for deliverance. Vs. 10-- "And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames." Alma, a prophet of God, had the power to stop what was going on. In the next verse he explains why he didn't. Basically he said it was the will of God that these people die, that "the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them... at the last day."

It all comes down to the will of the Lord. The Savior had the power to deliver himself from being crucified, but he didn't because his crucifixion was the will of the Father and absolutely necessary for the salvation of all mankind. So he did it. We know from the scriptural accounts that our Savior suffered much. I'm sure it was heart wrenching, to say the least, for Heavenly Father to watch his son go through what he did on earth, but again, there was no other way.

Our faith needs to be in the Lord, Jesus Christ. There is reason and purpose to our lives. Heavenly Father is all knowing and has a great plan for each of us. Life is not easy, but if we have "faith in Jesus Christ" and commit ourselves to accepting the will of the Lord, we will find joy in life, even amidst and after our hardest trials.

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