Sunday, March 24, 2013

Faith--Putting My Substance Where My Hope Is

Early Saturday morning Ainsley started throwing up, which continued off and on for a number of hours. After that she was wiped out. No energy. Wouldn't eat or drink anything. We brought her back into the hospital Saturday night and they've been tanking her up with fluids and did blood cultures, urine culture, etc. So, I'm here hanging with my girl! She brings the biggest smile to my face, and I absolutely love every moment I get to spend with her. Ainsley are a dream come true! Your Mom, Dad, 3 sisters, and little brother adore you!!!

 During the puking episodes, at 400 in the morning, Jenny and I switched off between helping her, cleaning up the mess, and helping Hudson. We both collapsed on the couch, sleepy, and Jenny rested her head on my shoulder. I'm sure it was quite a site, both of us with our puke-essence, bed hair, pajamas, sleepy eyes...but it was such a tender moment. We sat there, not saying anything, just drawing on the peace of the moment. Ainsley wasn't puking at that time, Hudson wasn't crying, and we just sat. I can't imagine going through this with anyone other than Jenny, I wouldn't be able to. She is amazing. We both have our moments of crying, laughing, strength, courage, fear, hope, uncertainty; and we balance each other out so well. It was a sweet moment that I think all-too-often gets missed in life.

Since I'm in the hospital, I'm unable to teach the 14-15 year old boys (Teacher's Quorum) at church today. I was really looking forward to the lesson. This month we have been talking about what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ and how the Atonement of Christ helps us through our trials. We looked at Hebrews 11:1, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." It seems that people often look at 'things hoped for' and 'things not seen' as the key points. Detractors from faith may challenge that a belief in God is simply 'hoping' for 'something you don't see.' There certainly seems to be a push toward the idea that if you can't confirm something scientifically or see it, touch it, feel it, then it doesn't exist. If it doesn't jive with current science then it can't be true, right? But that would be assuming that current science is the ultimate knowledge and that is something that current science by definition doesn't agree with, because it is constantly trying to discover new things and prove new things. So the constant isn't current science, the constant is the law that created the laws that govern nature and the elements. We cannot defy gravity, we can only use what we know to counter-balance it (ie an airplane wings, engines, expanding gases with heat, etc). With this in mind, all of my years of schooling and studying science and the advancements of medicine, have further strengthened my belief in a God that is the creator of all things, rather than detract from that belief.

 So looking at that scripture again, we see that faith isn't simply 'hoping for what we don't see.' The other operative words here are 'substance' and 'evidence.' Alma taught that faith is like a seed (Alma Chapter 32 in the Book of Mormon) and that we can experiment with faith by planting a seed and seeing if it grows. If it does, then we know that it is good. It hasn't yet grown up to a tree, with the deep roots and leafy branches that provide shade from the elements, a limb to climb on, or a branch to swing from; nor has it provided delicious fruit to sustain us. But is has started to grow and we know that those things will follow a well-cared for and nurtured seed. If not, then we are simply letting a good seed sprout and then leaving it to die. Our life is full of choices and each choice or step we take leaves a trail behind us that is proof of how we chose, what we thought, and what we believed. Our faith is the SUBSTANCE that we put toward obtaining what we hope for. The Lord will reward that faith with EVIDENCE of the things that we haven't yet seen. The seed grows and as it grows it becomes closer to that full-grown, fruit-bearing tree that we hope for. We have every evidence that is exactly what it is becoming even though we haven't seen the final product yet. So it is with our Faith in Jesus Christ. We make choices and efforts each day to put our SUBSTANCE (our efforts, thoughts, words, actions) where our hope is (for grace through His Atonement to make us whole again). He in turn gives us EVIDENCE (comfort, thoughts, an answer to prayer, understanding, peace) of what we haven't seen yet (Him).  As we put our substance where our hope is, there is no limit to the amount of evidence the Lord can provide us to sustain us and guide us down His paths.

 Jenny and I were talking about this journey with Ainsley.  It's a daunting thought to see your child facing cancer. But at the same time, since the moment she was diagnosed, we have had an overwhelming sense of calm and confidence that this is a road that Heavenly Father will guide our family down, travel with us, and not leave us comfortless. That has already been shown to us over and over in the peace we feel in our hearts. I'm so grateful for that calm assurance that I know can only come from God. I love the Lord and I'm trying to make the choices each day that show the Lord that I love Him and want to follow His commandments.

 Elder Bednar spoke about having faith not to be healed. When we think of faith-building experiences, we often think of those times when, against all odds, someone was healed, something was found, or something was obtained. But we are supposed to follow the example of Jesus on the cross, when he said 'thy will be done.' We tie our faith to a certain outcome and our fear to the opposite outcome. If the thing we hoped for happens, then our faith grows, but if it doesn't, then we lose faith and allow fear to take over. But one thing I've learned from this experience so far is that my faith has already been strengthened in ways that I never knew it could be. I know that the Lord is in charge of Ainsley's journey and the journey that each of us face in life. And the journey is the beauty of this life. The ending is in the Lord's hands, and if that is complete remission and recovery or relapse and recurrence, it is His journey for our family and it will be a journey worth traveling. We pray each day for healing and anticipate a complete recovery. But our faith is not tied to the outcome, our faith is tied to the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) that accompany us through the journey, knowing that it is a journey that the Lord is traveling with us and carrying us when the burden feels too big to carry on our own. That removes fear from the equation and allows us to navigate each step in faith, which provides opportunity for true miracles to happen.

The good new is, that she is coming home today!!!  Here's a parting shot of her at the hospital.  Notice the beautiful American Girl dolly.  They have matching pajamas now and will have matching hair styles in the near future...we are still working on convincing her that his a good idea. ;-)


  1. Well said Bryan! And I understand! It is amazing how through Lans treatment and even loss how my faith was strengthened. It is remarkable that through loss we felt carried and peace.

  2. Glad she is home and you had great thoughts on Faith. I enjoyed the read and agree with your thoughts!

  3. What a great post. I couldn't agree more. Very well written.

  4. I heard a rumor that you are shaving your heads in support of Ainsley's hair loss. I would be happy to join if it would help. Your posts are warming my heart and draining my body of tears.