Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Spencer W. Kimball on powerful examples of living by faith

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was ordained an apostle in 1943 and served as President of the Church from 1973 to 1985.
"Remember that Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and others could not see clearly the end from the beginning. They also walked by faith and without sight.
"Remember again that no gates were open; Laban was not drunk (1 Ne. 4:7); and no earthly hope was justified at the moment Nephi exercised his faith and set out finally to get the plates.
"No asbestos clothes or other ordinary protective devices were in the fiery furnace to protect the three Hebrews from death (Dan. 3:20); there were no leather nor metal muzzles for the mouths of the lions when Daniel was locked in the den (Dan. 6:16).
"Remember that there were no clouds in the sky nor any hydrometer in his hand when Elijah promised an immediate break in the long extended drought; though Joshua may have witnessed the miracle of the Red Sea, yet how could he by mortal means perceive that the flooding Jordan would back up for the exact time needed for the crossing, and then flow on its way to the Dead Sea.
"Remember that there were no clouds in the sky, no evidence of rain, and no precedent for the deluge when Noah builded the ark according to commandment (Gen. 6:14). There was no ram in the thicket when Isaac and his father left for Moriah for the sacrifice (Gen. 22:13).
"Remember there were no towns and cities, no farms and gardens, no homes and storehouses, no blossoming desert in Utah when the persecuted pioneers crossed the plains.
"And remember that there were no heavenly beings in Palmyra, on the Susquehanna or on Cumorah when the soul-hungry Joseph slipped quietly into the Grove, knelt in prayer on the river bank, and climbed the slopes of the sacred hill.
"But know this: that undaunted faith can stop the mouths of lions, make ineffective the fiery flames, make dry corridors through beds of rivers and seas. Unwavering faith can protect against deluge, terminate droughts, heal the sick, and bring heavenly manifestations. Indomitable faith can help us live the commandments and thereby bring blessings unnumbered with peace, perfection, and exaltation in the kingdom of God."
- Spencer W. Kimball, "Faith Precedes the Miracle," Conference Report, October 1952, pp. 46-51
Click here to read the full talk

This message was shared by a relatively young Elder Kimball long before he published a book with the title "Faith Precedes the Miracle." This great talk set the tone and theme for that classic compilation. I like the scriptural analysis of so many examples of those who moved forward in faith and obedience in order to fulfill the Lord's commands. It's reassuring to know that even prophets of God often "could not see clearly the end from the beginning" as they dealt with the challenges of their lives. We can be inspired by their examples as they "walked by faith and without sight" knowing that we must do the same in our lives.

After listing the many examples of those who had no concrete physical justification for the course they were asked to follow, this ringing testimony confirmed the message:

As we develop undaunted, unwavering, and indomitable faith in God and His purposes, the direction of our lives will be clear and that faith will carry us forward.

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