The Come, Follow Me lesson for Ether 12-15 with the theme “By Faith All Things Are Fulfilled” explains: “It takes faith to believe in promises or warnings about things we can’t see … Many people today, like the Jaredites in Ether’s day, want to see evidence before they will believe in God and His power.” As Moroni taught, “faith is things which are hoped for and not seen” and that you “receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6). In short, we have to open the door and walk through it before we can understand why faith is necessary.
I have come to learn that growth is one of the rights afforded to me by being the daughter of an extraordinary mother. After I was born, it was obvious that I faced serious learning challenges, prompting a family doctor to recommend that my mother put me in a group home. My mother demonstrated her faith by refusing to do anything but raise me in love and with hope in my potential. Growth happened as I simply learned to accept challenges with the support of caring teachers and Church leaders. As a result, I was able to graduate from high school several months before my 18th birthday and college a few months before my 19th birthday. I learned to have faith that the Lord would guide me to the tools and people I needed to grow as long as I trusted His promptings and wisdom.
Understanding Brotherly and Sisterly Love
President Dallin H. Oaks has taught: “When we understand our relationship to God, we also understand our relationship to one another. All men and women on this earth are the offspring of God, spirit brothers and sisters. What a powerful idea! No wonder God’s Only Begotten Son commanded us to love one another. If only we could do so!” (“Powerful Ideas,” Ensign, Nov 1995).
In other words, it might be easier to love one another and see the potential we have within us if we knew who we all really are. Understanding that we have an infinite amount of untapped potential may also motivate us to have faith. To thrive in this life, and in the next, we need not only to have faith in ourselves but also to have faith in what the Lord can and will do to help us reach our potential if we seek His help.
Demonstrating faith in the potential of another enough to love them even though it may not be easy is one of the things essential to building a better world. President Oaks went on to explain, “What a different world it would be if brotherly and sisterly love and unselfish assistance could transcend all boundaries of nation, creed, and color. Such love would not erase all differences of opinion and action, but it would encourage each of us to be against actions rather than actors” (“Powerful Ideas”).
Helping to Plant Seeds of Faith
Alma compared faith to a seed: “Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed … it will begin to swell within your breasts; and … ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding” (Alma 32:28).
This is the way for each person to increase their faith. Nurturing children, however, requires that another party initially trusts in the seed’s potential and values the seed enough to help their children access the tools and opportunities for their faith to begin to grow and be strengthened.
If others don’t have faith in us and our potential, children and youth won’t develop the desire or confidence required to advance in life. The Lord is an Almighty, Limitless Being of unconditional love and compassion. If we are to model ourselves after Him, we need to be willing to take upon ourselves His qualities. Such action will help us be able to face challenges and responsibly strive to plant true seeds for growing faith.
Learning to Access Christ’s Love
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, stated, “God’s love is infinite, and it will endure forever, but what it means for each of us depends on how we respond to His love” (“Abide in My Love,” Ensign, Nov. 2016). Are we selfish and only access His love for ourselves? Or do we look with our spiritual eyes? A divine vision allows us to see everyone on earth as children of God. Such an outlook should inspire us to offer others faith, hope, charity, and compassion.
We are all children of heavenly parents, and we are blessed with different talents, abilities, and potential. We exist and learn and grow in different ways. Not all of our differences are easily understandable, but that doesn’t mean they should be considered bad or worthless. President Ezra Taft Benson counselled, “The great task of life is to learn the will of the Lord and then do it. The great commandment of life is to love the Lord” (“The Great Commandment,” Ensign, May 1988). Loving the Lord most definitely includes loving ourselves enough to act in faith when opportunities open for us. We also need to encourage others to open doors of faith and pursue learning that they might also learn how to follow the will of the Lord.