Dear Future Elder/Sister,
“That might work in South America, but not here.”
“Yeah…that doesn’t work around here.”
“Someday your MTC glow will wear off.”
These are three phrases or responses that you will most likely hear on your mission when you present an idea that you believe is an act of faith. And it (or something similar) will probably be a companion or faithful member that answers this way. Now, I tell you this not to discourage you, but to prepare you.
There is a natural reaction that we have as imperfect people to automatically be skeptical of any idea or goal that seems outside of our comfort zone or understanding.
We are all on different parts of our conversion and may have varying amounts of faith in certain doctrines or principles, which helps us understand the reasoning of why people sometimes react this way.
But here are some words from Elder Jörg Klebingat for those that doubt. “As long as you allow these voices to chisel away at your soul, you can’t approach the throne of God with real confidence. Whatever you do, whatever you pray for, whatever hopes for a miracle you may have, there will always be just enough self-doubt chipping away at your faith—not only your faith in God but also your confidence in yourself. Living the gospel in this manner is no fun, nor is it very healthy. Above all, it is completely unnecessary! The decision to change is yours—and yours alone.”
He continues, “The adversary knows that faith in Christ—the kind of faith that produces a steady stream of tender mercies and even mighty miracles—goes hand in hand with a personal confidence that you are striving to choose the right. For that reason he will seek access to your heart to tell you lies—lies that Heavenly Father is disappointed in you, that the Atonement is beyond your reach, that there is no point in even trying, that everyone else is better than you, that you are unworthy, and a thousand variations of that same evil theme” (From Approaching the Throne of Confidence, October 2014).
You simply must put those doubts and fears away and you must not allow those thoughts to stay.
Here’s what it comes down to. If you truly believe in Jesus Christ and that the Book of Mormon is true, then you believe in miracles.
If there is any doubt in your mind, let’s see what Moroni had to say at the end of the Book of Mormon:
“For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles. But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are” (Mormon 9:9-11).
It is important to establish that they don’t change. That means that the same God is He who helped Wilford Woodruff to baptize hundreds, the same God who is leading members to refer their friends today, and who is leading people to the church; person by person, tribe by tribe, and congregation by congregation.
Moroni continues on: “And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.”
“Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God?”
“Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?”
“And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.”
“And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles” (Mormon 9:15-19).
If that isn’t good enough, Moroni then tells us the reason for when miracles aren’t happening. I think it very much applies to us on a personal level but also on a church-wide basis. He says, “And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust” (Mormon 9:20).
But then he gives a promise after that bold statement:
“Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth” (Mormon 9:21).
Hopefully by this point, there is no doubt in your mind that miracles still happen today, because God doesn’t change.
Now, if you still have the terrible response ringing in your head, “That might work in South America, but not here,” then remember what Nephi said:
“And that he manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, working mighty miracles, signs, and wonders, among the children of men according to their faith” (2 Nephi 26:13).
Preach My Gospel tells us, “Faith leads to action, including repentance, obedience, and dedicated service. When you have faith in Jesus Christ, you trust the Lord enough to follow His commandments—even when you do not completely understand the reasons for them. You accomplish what the Lord wants you to accomplish. You help bring about good in your own life and the lives of others. You are able to do miracles according to the Lord’s will. Your faith will be manifest through diligence and work” (Preach My Gospel).
So, Elder/Sister, I hope it is clear enough for you. If you have faith in our Savior, and in the scriptures, then you believe in miracles and you are able to do miracles. If someone tries to discourage you or tell you any excuse as to why you can’t accomplish something, I encourage you to have the same attitude that Nephi had when he said, “And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?” (1 Nephi 17:51).
Your response can simply be, “If the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me to ___________________?”
You got this. Go do miracles with God. Because miracles still happen. Just believe and go forth, knowing that you can do anything with God.
A Returned Missionary