Why is it ye are so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

Last week toward the end of our lesson at church this scripture was shared with the class. While the others moved on, I continued to plunge more deeply into these words we have all heard many times.

I don’t know why, but I have always read these words as a rebuke. I could feel the exasperation and frustration in the verses at why, after all this time and all that I have learned, could I still lack faith and be afraid.

But last week, something changed.

Let me paint the backdrop for you, so you can taste a bit of my journey in discovering what His message truly is to me.

For the month of January we have been given the assignment to provide Sacrament Meeting at a memory-care assisted living center here in town.

service3I’ve been trying to play the piano for the meetings each week.

I’ve not been succeeding very well.

Regardless, it is a privilege and a blessing for me to just be there. It is a pretty sacred experience to watch family members or CNA’s tenderly take the bread and water from the trays and place it to the lips of one who has long ago forgotten how to do it themselves.

But they haven’t forgotten what it means.

Each patient has carefully dressed in their Sunday attire, most probably purchased decades ago, but clean and pressed. They had prepared to come and be filled.

I doubt that they can comprehend how much they actually fill the rest of us.

One of the sisters can’t really speak, but it was important to her husband that first week that I meet her. She gripped my hands while her eyes burned with love, kindness, testimony – and trapped memories.

old ladyAnother sister is one I knew years ago as an incredibly bright and vivacious young widow who raised her 7 children, sent them on missions, and watched each marry their eternal companion in the temple. I realized that some of the capability had gone after the third time she introduced herself to me within five minutes.

But her eyes and face and body just radiated the same love I had witnessed decades ago. She bustled around the room, making sure everyone was ready and could hear the music and sang along with the prelude music, her once rich alto voice now scratchy and off key. Some of the words were right; others were not.

I never wanted it to stop.

When I first planned music for prelude, I thought more intricate and flowing would be better.

Playing the piano

However, I quickly learned that they would all sing along when I played “I Am a Child of God.” Now, I play it 2-3 different times while we are waiting for the meeting to begin, as well as in the postlude.

Each time the chorus grows louder and stronger with voices that are neither loud nor strong anymore.

Miraculously, it was not heartbreaking or painful; rather, it was glorious and peaceful and a wonderful gift.

So, for the thousandth time that I READ this verse, I think I finally actually HEARD it:

Why is it ye are so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

No rebuke, no condemnation, no frustration – just an opportunity for me to ask the question of myself.

And then to honestly answer.

In that moment, I understood that it has become impossible for me to not have faith. I’m not exactly sure when I was able to open my spirit and accept this gift, but it humbles me to my knees that it was offered.

face the sun

You see, it was always there; I just had to open my eyes to really see it.

My journey is different than yours, and in many ways has been easier than the countless tough things blocking your view.

But the lesson may still apply.

Perhaps my mistake for so long had been thinking that I had to remove the solid obstacles blocking what I longed to see clearly and understand.

Once I comprehended that I must first loosen my focus on the obstacles and, instead, allow the light of peace and faith to shine through the now porous surface, I could see not only the obstacles, but the way to carry the burden.

Faith won’t remove what’s difficult; it just takes away its ability to make us afraid.

And instead, helps us see.

I may very well find myself some day in a memory-care assisted living center; you may very well find yourself in a situation that fit in with your grand plan.

sacrament3While I may forget how to do some things for myself, I’m not afraid that I’ll forget why I’ll keep getting dressed in my white shirt and tying a tie around my neck and shuffling down the hall to the small meeting where a table draped in white awaits.

I only hope that my eyes will communicate as clearly what I have seen these last few weeks.

Maybe someone will come and play “I Am a Child of God” again and again and again.

I hope so.

The point?

Quietly close your eyes, allow all the love around you to flow through you, fully accept that you are a child of God, and ask:

Why is it ye are so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

If you are like me, you may just remember that it has been there all along.

And there really is no need to be afraid.

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