On 21 September 1823, a little more than three years after the First Vision, the Prophet Joseph Smith prayed to know his standing before God. Moroni was sent to answer his prayer. Joseph said of the event, “I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one” (JS—H 1:29).
Joseph’s experiences had taught him that God heard his prayers. Joseph had obeyed the Lord’s counsel and had been steadfast in his testimony—continuing, despite persecution, to affirm that he had seen a vision. He had grown in confidence that God “giveth … liberally” (James 1:5) to those who ask.
As we strive to live the commandments and to build up the kingdom of God, we become more confident that God will sustain us in our righteous endeavors. One sister, asked to help lead a hiking activity for young women and men in her stake, felt anxious about the assignment. She had little experience with outdoor activities and was exhausted when she hiked the route with other leaders in preparation for the activity. She prayed fervently for help, then began the hike.
“It was a remarkable experience,” she said. “The hike was not a hardship at all. I have no doubt that I was blessed.”
Our Heavenly Father is infinitely kind. When we keep his commandments, “he doth immediately bless” us (Mosiah 2:24). As we remember his kindnesses, we are again blessed, and our confidence in him grows stronger. Another sister, assigned to help the young women in her ward prepare for a sacrament meeting program, felt a spirit of peace, even though their final practice had concluded in confusion. She reflected, “We had practiced diligently. We had been called by God through his servants to this assignment. I had seen his blessings in similar situations in the past, and I knew that we could trust in him. We felt his Spirit during the program.”
What experiences have strengthened your faith?
Sometimes the challenges we face seem overwhelming. We wonder whether we have the courage or strength to overcome weaknesses or to endure adversity. President Ezra Taft Benson counseled, “I know … that without God’s help we cannot succeed, but with His help we can accomplish anything He asks us to do. And we can do it with a feeling of assurance, confidence, and with a spirit of serenity” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988, p. 69).
Sister Thelma Bonham deJong, of Provo, Utah, once endured a difficult time when her husband was dying of cancer and her own health was failing. “Only the good Lord knows the weight of the burdens I carried for months,” she said. “Always with a prayer in my heart, I pleaded with Him to give me the courage to face my problems in a valiant manner and with dedication give my best to the end. Without His constant help, I could never have given devoted service to my beloved husband in the long months of his illness. God hears and answers prayers” (“As I Have Loved You,” keynote address, Utah Valley and Salt Lake Valley Single Adult Conference, 30 June 1979).
How has faith in God sustained you during periods of difficulty in your life?