While there are many experiences like the one we are having today, full of spiritual power and confirmation, there are also days when we feel inadequate and unprepared, when doubt and confusion enter our spirits, when we have difficulty finding our spiritual footing. Part of our victory as disciples of Christ is what we do when these feelings come.
Nearly 40 years ago as I contemplated the challenge of a mission, I felt very inadequate and unprepared. I remember praying, "Heavenly Father, how can I serve a mission when I know so little?" I believed in the Church, but I felt my spiritual knowledge was very limited. As I prayed, the feeling came: "You don't know everything, but you know enough!" That reassurance gave me the courage to take the next step into the mission field.
Our spiritual journey is the process of a lifetime. We do not know everything in the beginning or even along the way. Our conversion comes step-by-step, line upon line. We first build a foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We treasure the principles and ordinances of repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We include a continuing commitment to prayer, a willingness to be obedient, and an ongoing witness of the Book of Mormon. (The Book of Mormon is powerful spiritual nourishment.)
We then remain steady and patient as we progress through mortality. At times, the Lord's answer will be, "You don't know everything, but you know enough" - enough to keep the commandments and to do what is right. Remember Nephi's words: "I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things."2
I once visited a mission in southern Europe. I arrived on the day a new missionary was preparing to return home at his own insistence. He had his ticket to leave the next day.
We sat together in the mission president's home. The missionary told me about his challenging childhood, of learning disorders, of moving from one family to another. He spoke sincerely of his inability to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. Then he added, "Brother Andersen, I don't even know if God loves me." As he said those words, I felt a sure and forceful feeling come into my spirit: "He does know I love him. He knows it."
I let him continue for a few more minutes, and then I said, "Elder, I'm sympathetic to much of what you've said, but I must correct you on one thing: you do know God loves you. You know He does."
As I said those words to him, the same Spirit that had spoken to me spoke to him. He bowed his head and began to cry. He apologized. "Brother Andersen," he said, "I do know God loves me; I do know it." He didn't know everything, but he knew enough. He knew God loved him. That priceless piece of spiritual knowledge was sufficient for his doubt to be replaced with faith. He found the strength to stay on his mission.
Brothers and sisters, we each have moments of spiritual power, moments of inspiration and revelation. We must sink them deep into the chambers of our souls. As we do, we prepare our spiritual home storage for moments of personal difficulty. Jesus said, "Settle this in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach, and command you."3
Several years ago a friend of mine had a young daughter die in a tragic accident. Hopes and dreams were shattered. My friend felt unbearable sorrow. He began to question what he had been taught and what he had taught as a missionary. The mother of my friend wrote me a letter and asked if I would give him a blessing. As I laid my hands upon his head, I felt to tell him something that I had not thought about in exactly the same way before. The impression that came to me was: Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision. He would need to choose faith.
My friend did not know everything, but he knew enough. He chose the road of faith and obedience. He got on his knees. His spiritual balance returned.
It has been several years since that event. A short time ago I received a letter from his son who is now serving a mission. It was full of conviction and testimony. As I read his beautiful letter, I saw how a father's choice of faith in a very difficult time had deeply blessed the next generation.
Challenges, difficulties, questions, doubts - these are part of our mortality. But we are not alone. As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have enormous spiritual reservoirs of light and truth available to us. Fear and faith cannot coexist in our hearts at the same time. In our days of difficulty, we choose the road of faith. Jesus said, "Be not afraid, only believe."4
Through the years we take these important spiritual steps over and over again. We begin to see that "he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day."5 Our questions and doubts are resolved or become less concerning to us. Our faith becomes simple and pure. We come to know what we already knew.
Jesus said, "Except ye . . . become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."6
Hadley Peay is now seven years old. Hadley was born with a very serious hearing impairment requiring extensive surgery to bring even limited hearing. Her parents followed with tireless training to help her learn to speak. Hadley and her family have cheerfully adapted to the challenge of her deafness.
Once, when Hadley was four, she was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store with her mother. She looked behind her and saw a little boy sitting in a wheelchair. She noticed that the boy did not have legs.
Although Hadley had learned to speak, she had difficulty controlling the volume of her voice. In her louder voice, she asked her mother why the little boy did not have legs.
Her mother quietly and simply explained to Hadley that "Heavenly Father makes all of His children different." "OK," Hadley replied.
Then, unexpectedly, Hadley turned to the little boy and said, "Did you know that when Heavenly Father made me, my ears did not work? That makes me special. He made you with no legs, and that makes you special. When Jesus comes, I will be able to hear and you will get your legs. Jesus will make everything all right."
"Except ye . . . become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Hadley knew enough.
Jesus is the Christ. He is resurrected. He is our Savior and Redeemer. All will be made well when He comes again. This is His holy work. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, His priesthood was restored upon the earth and His prophet today is President Thomas S. Monson. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Notes 1. Moroni 6:3.
2. 1 Nephi 11:17.
3. Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 14:28.
4. Mark 5:36.
5. D&C 50:24.
6. Matthew 18:3.