“If any of your lack wisdom, let him ask of God”
One of the things I love about the scriptures is that they require that you think. As I read the scriptures I ask myself questions, like, “what in the world does that mean?” My questions are always based on faith. I come from a center of faith. My inquiry is not to doubt, but to discover. If an answer is not immediately available to me I put that particular question “on the shelf,” so to speak. Eventually I believe I will find an answer. I’m also willing to accept the fact that perhaps an answer to that question has not yet been revealed. There are the “mysteries of God” that man is simply not able to understand with his limited, finite knowledge. Paul says that for a time “we see through a glass darkly.” What does that mean? That’s a great question to ask. I think it means though we attempt to understand spiritual things (see through the glass), sometimes our vision is obscured. Our vision can be obscured by lack of knowledge, study, experience or even preconceived ideas or prejudice. Sometimes our vision is obscured by the “traditions of our fathers.” It can also be obscured if there is simply not an answer “out there.”
How does one find answers to honest inquiry? One way to ask God in prayer for understanding before you read the scriptures. Pray that your mind can to open to ideas that you may not understand right now. James 1:5 teaches that “If any of you lack, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” That’s a pretty amazing promise! I have found that as I read, pray and meditate and wait patiently for understanding, it will come over time. I think it’s a good idea to record your questions in a scriptural journal. Then right down your thoughts and impressions as you continue to pray for answers. It requires effort to learn. The more effort we expend in learning things of the spirit, the more we will treasure the knowledge that we gain. It was meant to be this way. President Spencer W. Kimball, a church leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (the Mormons) stated it thus:
“The treasures of both secular and spiritual knowledge are hidden ones—but hidden from those who do not properly search and strive to find them. … Spiritual knowledge is not available merely for the asking; even prayers are not enough. It takes persistence and dedication of one’s life. … Of all treasures of knowledge, the most vital is the knowledge of God” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 389–90).
I have also learned that I can’t live on “borrowed light.” Like the five wise virgins in the parable of the Ten Virgins, I need to acquire oil for my own lamp. There are people who I trust to teach me truth, but I must make that truth my own. I think next time I blog I’ll blog about the people whom I trust to teach me truth. I want to pay tribute to them.