Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

Some Whose Faith Was So Exceedingly Strong

Ether 12:17 - Ether 15:12

I will never forget a time early in our marriage when Greg had been out of work for several months because of a severe illness.  I can remember sitting down to pay our bills during that time and after I had paid what we owed on our bills and our tithing we had $2.49 to last the rest of the month.

Besides that money, I had a brand new one-dollar-bill that I had used for years as a bookmark in my journal.

When we got married I remember thinking that I would know we were never poor if I never had to use that dollar bill.

The thought crossed my mind as I got up from paying bills that this might be the one-dollar-bill month ––but I determined I would only use it if we were desperate.  I knew that Greg and I were doing our very best to keep the commandments, so I said a silent prayer and then trusted that the Lord would help me figure out how to get by that month on two dollars and forty-nine cents.

It was three days later that Greg’s sister stopped by our apartment with a 50lb bag of potatoes that someone had accidentally left under their shopping cart at Albertson’s.

She figured that since we were newlyweds we could probably use it.

Little did she know.

A few days after that was Valentine’s Day.  I opened the mailbox to find a letter from my mom in California who had no idea how desperate things were.  In the letter she had individually wrapped 20 one-dollar bills in Valentines wrapping paper for Greg and I to use for something frivolous.

(I never told her that our spending spree came from the grocery store.)

As unimaginable as it seems now, we got by that month with 20 one-dollar bills, a 50lb bag of potatoes, and $2.49.

The Lord blessed us.

He took care of our simple needs.

You may not think we were blessed abundantly, but I believe we were ––we didn’t have to use the one-dollar bill.

And as bad as things have ever gotten, we never have.

I still have that dollar bill today, carefully preserved in a frame with the word faith in the background.

I also keep the valentine's wrapping paper for safekeeping in my hope chest.

They are a reminder of a moment in my life where I walked by faith.

One of my favorite chapters of Ether teaches us about this principle.

It is a chapter on faith.

"Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."  (Ether 12:6)

In this chapter we are taught that it was the faith among the children of men that allowed Christ to show himself after He had risen from the dead, this faith allowed disciples to be called after the holy order of God, it is what allowed the law of Moses to be given, and even the atonement to take place.

But this isn't all.  We are taught that, "It was the faith of Alma and Amulek that caused the prison to tumble to the earth...it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites...it was the faith of Ammon and his brethren which wrought so great a miracle among the Lamanites....it was by faith that the three disciples obtained a promise that they should not taste of death..."  (Ether 12:13-18)

This chapter also talks about the Brother of Jared, "for so great was his faith in God, that when God put forth his finger he could not hide it from the sight of the brother of Jared, because of his word which he had spoken unto him, which word he had obtained by faith."  (Ether 12:20)

So many evidences of faith in just a few short verses.

If you were to open my scriptures to Ether 12 you would find one sentence hand written at the top of the page, "and behold, it was the faith of Emily that..."

It's a reminder that I want to have that kind of faith. This chapter talks about some whose faith was so exceedingly strong... That is the kind of faith I am talking about.

The Bible Dictionary contains three suggestions for those who are seeking to increase their faith.

1.  True faith always moves its possessor to some kind of physical and mental action.

2.  Although faith is a gift, it must be cultured and sought after...

3.  One of the effects of true faith in Jesus Christ includes an actual knowledge that the course of life one is pursuing is acceptable to the Lord.

Today I have taken time to consider those three principles.

When was the last time my faith moved me to action? What am I doing right now to seek for and increase faith in my life? Looking at my life today, is the course I am pursuing acceptable to the Lord?

These suggestions are more than just something to ponder...they give me something to work on, to act upon, to become.

So that one day my faith might be considered so exceedingly strong.

Why is it so important to increase faith?  One of the most important reasons can be found in one of the last lines on faith found in the Bible Dictionary...

Where there is true faith there are miracles.

Of this, I am certain.

Emily Freeman