Exercising Faith – by Carolyn Stout

Our Own Little World

This past summer we took a family camping trip up to Mirror Lake in the Uintah mountains. Our campsite was close to a running river, and someone had created a pool out of rocks so the grandchildren had a great place to play. We went hiking and sightseeing, and watched our three grandsons (ages 5-7) work together to build a path out of rocks so they could cross the river. We roasted hotdogs and made s’mores. It was a wonderful time being in our own little world where we were secluded from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and we could build strong relationships and make wonderful memories.

The Outside World

The evening of our last day there we had a group of kids in their early 20’s pull in and start setting up camp a few yards away. At first we were concerned because they were intruding on our wonderful time together, second because it was a coed campout and we had sweet innocent little children with us. The ‘world’ had entered into our sacred space.
We went ahead and fixed dinner and had our evening ritual of s’mores and stories. As our children were getting the grandkids ready for bed, the music and laughter began getting louder from the neighboring camp, so our sons went over and politely explained that they had small children going to sleep and asked if they would keep the noise down. The other group was very polite and said they would.
As the evening went on and we were playing games inside the trailer, we could hear the drunken laughter and music get louder.

A Test of Faith

I was getting a little concerned but the thought kept coming to me to pray and everything would be all right. So before my son, Ben, went to his tent and my other son, Jason, went to his car where his two kids were asleep, we had a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to protect us through the night – that we would be in a protective bubble from the ‘outside’ world. We went to bed confident the Lord had heard our prayers. I even said another one after I got in bed and felt a peace come over me that we would be okay. But then I would hear loud laughter or someone walking around our tents and trailer, and I started to doubt my faith that Heavenly Father was protecting us. I would remind myself of all the lessons I had taught and learned about how if we pray in faith and trust that He hears our prayers he would bless us, like the scripture ‘Ask and it shall be given.’
When I remembered that and put my trust in Him I could rest, but when I allowed the ‘outside’ to come in again I couldn’t. It was a long night.

I couldn’t wait to talk to the kids the next morning to see how they slept. They both said they slept well and didn’t hear a thing, which was a tender mercy. Prayers had been answered.

Reflections On Faith

That morning happened to be Sunday and our son got permission from his church leader to have our own Sacrament Meeting. As I sat there under the covering, surrounded by family and the beautiful trees, and listening to the river flow beside us, I couldn’t help but think of our pioneer ancestors who held all of their meetings outside as they crossed the plains. I thought of their unwavering faith as they listened to the early prophets and embraced the gospel and then of their courage to set out for an unknown place so they could worship in peace.

As I looked around at half of our beautiful family and especially our sweet little grandchildren who were there and how reverently they partook of the sacrament and listened to grandpa speak to them, I thought of their faith and how it is growing and developing daily, then I thought of my own faith and how I had let it waver throughout the night. Why couldn’t I be like my ancestors and my posterity?

I just have to remember my favorite thought ‘Faith is not believing God can. It is knowing God will.’ I have seen Him bless us in the past when I have asked in faith, so I need to remember that He will bless us in the future IF I am trying to live righteously and IF I ask in faith and put my trust in Him.
I know He is there and loves me.

“Remember that faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other.” – President Thomas S. Monson