As I lay pondering my life and the New Year the morning of January 1, I reflected on an article I had read in this month’s Ensign magazine. The Ensign is a monthly periodical published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In the article, the author mused on an experience early in the management of his family business. He inherited leadership of that business upon the death of his father. Needing assistance, the author prayed for guidance, but he felt no particular help.
One night, he was visited in a dream by his deceased father. After chiding him for not helping more, the father explained. “We’re very busy here, and no one here cares very much about the business. You see, it’s not the result of the business that really matters. It’s who you become while operating the business.”
This idea resonated strongly with me, as I had felt a similar prompting from heaven while pondering my business. And, yet, as I lay pondering after my study, I could see an important truth: faith is not conditional. Real faith has no conditions. In other words, if I act or pray expecting a particular result in order for me to have faith in God’s care for me, that action is without faith.
Real faith would be more like this: God cares for me, and He always wants the best for me. Therefore, every circumstance that comes to me is designed for my best good, provided I am willing to see it that way. In articulating that thought, I can see that God is unconditional in His love and in His care for His children. My life’s circumstances are simply a form of test to see whether I am willing to see the benefit, together with the potential grace, in whatever happens.
Not coincidentally, Charles Haanel’s Master Key system in completely consonant with this idea. Haanel, in Lesson 15, is at some pains to explain this notion. In paragraph 7, for example, he says, “All conditions and experiences that come to us do so for our benefit. Difficulties and obstacles will continue to come until we absorb their wisdom and gather from them the essentials of further growth.”
Paragraph 15-3 expresses a similar thought: “Difficulties, inharmonies, and obstacles, indicate that we are either refusing to give out what we no longer need, or refusing to accept what we require.”
Continuing in this vein, it struck me yesterday that my plan of action was faulty in that it did not accord well with my definite major purpose. I feel significant peace in coming to that realization and in adjusting the plan of action. This accords well with Haanel’s paragraph 15-20 instruction to choose words carefully.
I also resonated with Haanel’s instructions in paragraph 15-36 to learn to use the power of perception to see where and how to apply knowledge. The study of the Master Key System has been a joy and a challenge so far, and I look forward to further progress in learning how to more constantly think in accord with my expressed desires.
Paragraph 14-26 is my watchword here. I have spent 30+ years creating my current conditions, and I’m not going to expect 15 or 20 minutes of right thinking to undo all that past effort. Paragraph 15-26 reinforces this point reassuringly: thoughts in accord with truth eventually, but surely and certainly displace negative thoughts, which by their very nature can contain no vitality.
And again in the study questions and answers to Lesson 15. The answer to #9 says, “… Truth invariably destroys error. We do not have to laboriously shovel the darkness out; all that is necessary is to turn on the light.”
My task, then, is to keep the light on. I’m tired of shoveling out the darkness. 🙂 I heartily recommend the same for you.by