Faith Because of a Baby

Sometimes God allows us to go through similar experiences and feelings over and over again in our lives, to learn, grow, and develop more faith in Him.

Five years ago today almost to the month, Travis was applying to accounting PhD programs. The preliminary interviews turned into fly-outs and before we knew it he was flying around the country interviewing—it was a scary, unknown time. Within this same time frame, I was pregnant—eight months pregnant—and before we knew it I was on the labor and delivery floor of the hospital giving birth to our stillborn baby—and that was scary.

Flash forward five years to now. Right now, Travis is interviewing for jobs to be an accounting professor in an almost identical way as he did for PhD programs. Right now he has set up all of his fly-outs to fly around the country for interviews starting in a couple of weeks, and right now I’m nearing the beginning of the final trimester of pregnancy—bringing lots of fear.
Flashback years and years ago to the time a baby was born in a stable. Born in the poorest of circumstances to parents who I’m sure were scared. Born in a society that was scared because of His birth—one that decided to kill all the baby boys and cause Mary and Joseph and Jesus to flee to Egypt—no doubt in a panic.

Flash forward 33 years from that night and that same baby atoned for the sins of the world in Gethsemane and carried his cross up Golgotha to be crucified. He was killed in a society that wrongly accused him, killed with a mother who, likely scared, stood watching at the foot of His cross.

The emotions that life brings are felt time and time again, across new—sometimes even familiar—circumstances. When life happens, fear is an easy choice to go with as that is the default of the natural man. And while it is okay to be scared, actively choosing to feel faith instead is perhaps one of life’s greatest quests.

As Elder Holland has said:
“Consider, for example, the Savior’s benediction upon his disciples even as he moved toward the pain and agony of Gethsemane and Calvary. On that very night, the night of the greatest suffering that has ever taken place in the world or that ever will take place, the Savior said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). I submit to you, that may be one of the Savior’s commandments that is, even in the hearts of otherwise faithful Latter-day Saints, almost universally disobeyed; and yet I wonder whether our resistance to this invitation could be any more grievous to the Lord’s merciful heart. I can tell you this as a parent: as concerned as I would be if somewhere in their lives one of my children were seriously troubled or unhappy or disobedient, nevertheless I would be infinitely more devastated if I felt that at such a time that child could not trust me to help or thought his or her interest was unimportant to me or unsafe in my care. In that same spirit, I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when he finds that his people do not feel confident in his care or secure in his hands or trust in his commandments.”

In this life we all come to crossroads and new beginnings, some that may feel new, others that may feel familiar. However, the path we walk is far less important than the person who we have become along the way. We can practice developing faith. Faith to feel strength and courage when eduring seems hard. We get to do all this because of Jesus Christ. He allows us to wade through the hard, the miserable, and the sad, to find peace and joy and strength—all to become a little more like Him. We can actively choose faith.

Richard C. Edgley has said:
"Be aware that faith is not a free gift given without thought, desire, or effort. It does not come as the dew falls from heaven. The Savior said, “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28) and “Knock, and it shall be [given] you” (Matthew 7:7). These are action verbs—come, knock. They are choices. So I say, choose faith. Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism. Alma’s classic discussion on faith, as recorded in the 32nd chapter of Alma in the Book of Mormon, is a series of choices to ensure the development and the preservation of our faith. Alma gave us a directive to choose. His were words of action initiated by choosing. He used the words awake, arouse, experiment, exercise, desire, work, and plant. Then Alma explained that if we make these choices and do not cast the seed out by unbelief, then “it will begin to swell within [our] breasts” (Alma 32:28). Yes, faith is a choice, and it must be sought after and developed. Thus, we are responsible for our own faith. We are also responsible for our lack of faith. The choice is yours.”

We get to experience and feel throughout life in order to grow and try to exercise a little more faith each time.

Travis’ fly-outs are exhausting, and every day of this pregnancy is mentally exhausting; we want this baby to come home with us after delivery. But this time around, although definitely still some fear to fight, I mostly feel faith. He got us through five years ago, and He will get us through right now. Instead of darkness, I see the goodness of God and His light that shines our path.

Mary was, I’m sure, scared to say the least when she gave birth to the Son of God and had people wanting to kill him as a baby. And I’m sure she was scared 33 years later when she watched him die. But she knew who He was by the time they met with sadness on that Golgotha hill. She had raised him, had learned from him. She knew His mission and that all would be okay in the end. Her fear was likely dispelled with more faith that time around. And that’s the beauty of life; we won’t ever be perfect in this life, but we can become better.                         

It is a daily quest to put our thoughts and actions toward faith instead of fear, but through the atonement of Jesus Christ—because of that baby born in a stable years ago—all can be calm and all can be bright.

Jessica Dyer currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where her husband is pursuing a PhD in Accounting at UNC and is loving all of the great sunshine and basketball that Chapel Hill has to offer. She is a mom to two cute little kids and to one angel baby. She graduated from BYU in English Language and Editing but has had the opportunity right now to be at home with the kids and is loving all the crazy and fun that comes with that.

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