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If Not, Will You Still Believe?

By Michelle McCullough
"Faith is a real power, not just an expression of belief."-Boyd K. Packer

It seems like every day I hear about a friend who’s having a major struggle. I have a friend who’s going through a divorce, a friend who lost their job and then their home, a friend whose grandson passed away in a car accident, another friend who is battling cancer, and even a friend who lost that battle and passed away at the age of 29. This is just the beginning! I’m sure if we were all in a room together we could pass around a microphone and one-up each other on the challenges that we’re facing in our own health, relationships, professional lives, and even within the walls of our own homes.

While I believe that joy can exist despite trial, that doesn’t stop me from wondering why these trials come and why heartache is such a big part of life. Do you ever wonder that as you think about your own circumstances? Over the years, I’ve had my own challenges and I have learned that struggle makes you stronger. But earlier this year I received an insight that taught me so much more.

I was sitting in church during sacrament meeting. It was a fast Sunday and my fast was turned to a want that I have fasted and prayed about many times. But this time was a little different. Instead of fasting for God to bless me with a baby, as I had asked many times before, I fasted that if I couldn’t have a baby, could He please take the want away.

I sat there feeling a little sorry for myself and had a little tearful battle with myself where I wondered what I wanted more. Do I want a baby more than I want the want to go away? That led me to a deep and heartfelt prayer. I wanted another child. It was a “righteous desire of my heart.” And I pleaded again that if it was His will, I could be blessed with this desire.

Then, during my prayer and in the middle of sacrament meeting I felt the words, “If not, will you still believe?”

It was in that moment that I truly understood the place of trials in my life. God doesn’t wish us sadness, but He does want us to have rock-solid faith. We also have to learn to trust that He is trying to make us strong and faithful. They aren’t called trials of our strength or trials of our health; Moroni calls them trials of our faith (see Ether 12:6).

Since that life-changing Sunday morning, my prayers haven’t changed, but my decision to choose faith has sustained me. As I focus on believing, that’s where I have found my peace.

Boyd K. Packer (1924-2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “Faith is real power, not just an expression of belief.” So while I wait I’ll remind myself that at the end of the day I do know that God wants me to be happy and that He wants to bless me. I also know that He wants to teach me, and my trials humble me. He also knows that with the challenges and trials that are ahead I’m going to need my faith to see me and my family through. If we can choose to exercise faith and trust Him, we will not only be able to navigate the challenges that we’re facing now but also be better prepared for the challenges that are to come—and we’ll be able to face them with power.

I know that not every prayer will be answered as quickly as we want. I know that not every desire and wish—even for good things—can be answered in the way we would like. The truth is, many of our prayers will go unanswered. But the question for all of us is, “If not, will you still believe?”

Michelle McCullough is the mother of two, a national motivational speaker, a radio show host, and an author. She blogs at startupprincess.com and speakmichelle.com