Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Do you have the faith, NOT to be healed?"

You might ask "What an odd question?  And WHY would anyone think this way?"  Well, I have wondered many times over the past few years if this is the actual "will of my Father."  I have wondered as the news that keeps on coming always seems worse than the time previous.... I have wondered as I have had to endure things that I thought I would never have to face... I have wondered as my body feels like it is growing weaker at times instead of stronger, "Will I be able to get back to health this time and truly make a difference?"  I have wondered and asked Ken what the point is. Shouldn't I just give up and give into His will.  What is the point of fighting against it if he already knows His plan for me.  Ken always says, "If the Savior or our Father in Heaven was standing right here, would they tell you to give up?  Would they tell you to quit?  Would they tell you it's fine not to try anymore?"  Well, no, I don't think they would.  And to be honest, I feel, deep down inside of me that I will have a miracle in my life.  I don't know how many years, days or hours, but I feel and have been blessed with blessings to feel that it will be longer than anyone would think.  But having said that, I have to share this talk with you.  Because I most certainly have the faith, to not be healed.

This talk was given by Elder Bednar, one of the members of our church who is an apostle of God.  He is a man of great faith and love and as heart breaking and true as his talk is, I loved it.  He councils those facing adversity to "Shrink Not".  Again, I know this is from our church, and although it and I will be talking about it from my perspective, we ALL face trials and how we deal with them, no matter what they are, I believe it's important to do our best.

“Many of the lessons we are to learn in mortality can only be received through the things we experience and sometimes suffer,” he taught. “And God expects and trusts us to face temporary mortal adversity with His help so we can learn what we need to learn and ultimately become what we are to become in eternity.”

believe this with all my heart.  I know I was sent here to learn and live through the trials of my life to become ultimately what God wants me to become.  Not what I think is the best for me to be.  He has a plan for me and as heartbreaking and depressing as that plan might seem at times, I said I would take it on and do it.   

When I think of my husband and children I think, "How could me not being a part of this family possibly be the best answer for raising the family we planned to?"  "How could my children not having THEIR mother, be the best answer?"  Again, it comes down to complete faith in His plan.  And that isn't easy.  But like I said, ultimately, I want to become who he intends me to be.

He then goes on to talking about picking up one of the other Apostles one day at the airport who was also going through cancer treatments, Elder Neal A Maxwell.  Elder Bednar asked him, “During the course of our conversations that day, I asked Elder Maxwell what lessons he had learned through his illness,” Elder Bednar stated. “I will remember always the precise and penetrating answer he gave: ‘I have learned that not shrinking is more important than surviving.’”

Sharing scriptures from Doctrine and Covenants 19“concerning the Savior’s suffering as He offered the infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice,” Elder Bednar reminded those listening that “the Savior did not shrink in Gethsemane or Golgotha.”

During difficult experiences—often filled with pain and suffering—character is built, hearts are purified, and souls are enlarged as individuals gain experience and spiritual tutoring, Elder Bednar explained. Just as Elder Maxwell faced tribulations with an understanding of God’s plan of happiness, grace, and dignity, so can all valiant Latter-day Saints, Elder Bednar assured, as they “shrink not” and allow their individual will to be “swallowed up in the will of the Father” (Mosiah 15:7).
And that is not easy to do.  Especially when we have our own plans in mind.  "Not shrinking" and becoming our full potential of who we really are I believe is one of our greatest triumph's here on this earth.  No, I don't believe that we are only here to learn and not have a good time, but I do believe that we are here to learn difficult lessons and endure things that will teach us who and what we really are and what we can truly become.  
Elder Bednar then goes on to talk about a young married couple that after just three weeks, her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer.  Elder Bednar shares some of their experiences with us through their personal journal enteries.
Elder Bednar told of visiting this couple in the hospital, being asked to give a priesthood blessing, and asking the husband an unplanned but inspired question. “If it is the will of our Heavenly Father, do you have the faith not to be healed?”

As Elder Bednar counseled with this faithful couple, they “increasingly understood” that a blessing of healing could only be received if they had the faith not to be healed and were “willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [them]” (Mosiah 3:19).

“In other words, they needed to overcome, through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, the ‘natural man’ tendency in all of us to demand impatiently and insist incessantly on the blessings we want and believe we deserve,” Elder Bednar explained. “We recognized a principle that applies to every devoted disciple: strong faith in the Savior is submissively accepting of His will and timing in our lives—even if the outcome is not what we hoped for or wanted.”
Quite often, such is the case for most of us.  We always seem to think we know what is best for us, but don't quite have all the puzzle pieces that complete the whole picture.  And that is frustrating, heart wrenching and can cause us to become angry at times.  "Shrinking" I would call this.  But again, we are human, and I think we all "shrink" a little before we grow a lot of the time... when we see what we are really made of.
Elder Bednar shared the words of the young husband from his journal: “Having faith is not necessarily knowing that God would heal me, but that He could heal me. I had to believe that He could, and then whether it happened was up to Him. As I allowed those two ideas to coexist in my life, focused faith in Jesus Christ and complete submission to His will, I found greater comfort and peace.”
I find this too in my own life.  When I just let things go and have the faith that I need in my Father in Heaven's plan for me, whatever that plan entails, I have peace.  And that peace goes so much farther for me than fear.  That is not to say that I don't feel afraid at times.  Although I try not to picture myself as a sick and dying person, those images do come to my mind and break my heart.  How would my last moments be?  Would I want my children there?  What would I say to them?  What would I say to Ken so that he and my kids know that I will love them from beyond this life, that I will be there for them, that I will always be in their hearts and be a part of them no matter what.  Would it be scary for them?  Of course I don't want them to remember me like that, but would be all just be laying on some well used hospital bed in a pale blue, depressing palliative care room, crying together and me not wanting to slip off, close my eyes and take that last breath, that last look into the eyes of my loving husband and children or would I be to sick to even know they were there?  

Like I said, I try not to think in this way. I like to picture my future, building another home, my kids as teenagers having friends over and K bugging her big brother and his cool friends while they are throwing lunch meat at one another while C is up to something somewhere doing something he probably shouldn't be.  I have to have faith and live from this point, but it is a conflicting feeling when I also have to have the the faith in His plan.
Elder Maxwell gave a talk in October of 1997 and I just wanted to share a portion of it with you as I find it is so true as well.  He states regarding Jesus: "As He began to feel the awful weight of the approaching Atonement, Jesus acknowledged, “For this cause came I into the world” (John 18:37). We too, brothers and sisters, came “into the world” to pass through our particularized portions of the mortal experience. Even though our experiences do not even begin to approach our Master’s, nevertheless, to undergo this mortal experience is why we too are here! Purposefully pursuing this “cause” brings ultimate meaning to our mortal lives. And we are greatly helped if we enter with faith that pavilion of perspective—the plan of salvation. Then the search for meaning is ended, even though further and resplendent discoveries await us. Alas, as Church members we sometimes behave like hurried tourists, scarcely venturing beyond the entry point.
Next, as we confront our own lesser trials and tribulations, we too can plead with the Father, just as Jesus did, that we “might not … shrink”—meaning to retreat or to recoil (D&C 19:18). Not shrinking is much more important than surviving! Moreover, partaking of a bitter cup without becoming bitter is likewise part of the emulation of Jesus.

Continuing, we too may experience moments of mortal aloneness. These moments are nothing compared to what Jesus experienced. Nevertheless, since our prayers may occasionally contain some “whys,” we too may experience God’s initial silence (see Matt. 27:46).
Certain mortal “whys” are not really questions at all but are expressions of resentment. Other “whys” imply that the trial might be all right later on but not now, as if faith in the Lord excluded faith in His timing. Some “why me” questions, asked amid stress, would be much better as “what” questions, such as, “What is required of me now?” or, to paraphrase Moroni’s words, “If I am sufficiently humble, which personal weakness could now become a strength?” (see Ether 12:27).
I want to be like Moroni and ask, "Which personal weakness could now become a strength?"  BUT, I am not going to lie, sometimes I would like a few minutes to regroup and rethink and refocus.  Then again, I want to become who He wants me to be.  In quoting Elder Bednar again, I want "[My] individual will, to be swallowed up in the will of the Father."
Elder Bednar then instructed, “Even with strong faith, many mountains will not be moved. And not all of the sick and infirmed will be healed. If all opposition were curtailed, if all maladies were removed, then the primary purposes of the Father’s plan would be frustrated.”
Trusting in the Lord’s will and timing is essential, he said. “This story is both ordinary and extraordinary. This young couple is representative of millions of faithful, covenant-keeping Latter-day Saints all over the world who are pressing forward along the strait and narrow path with steadfast faith in Christ and a perfect brightness of hope.” Elder Bednar emphasized: “They were not serving in highly visible leadership positions in the Church, they were not related to General Authorities, and sometimes they had doubts and fears. In many of these aspects, their story is quite ordinary. But this young man and young woman were blessed in extraordinary ways to learn essential lessons for eternity through affliction and hardship. … They came to understand that not shrinking is more important than surviving. Thus, their experience was not primarily about living and dying; rather, it was about learning, living, and becoming.”

So do I have the faith not to be healed?  I think it is pretty evident that I do.  But I also have the faith that His will somewhat aligns with mine, and that I will be around for a while and be able to accomplish certain things in my life.  I very much believe in miracles, and pray for one in my own life.  I have keep living from the standpoint that I am living and  very much alive and need to be  thankful for each and every day.  And ultimately, whatever His plan is, I know it is the best plan, that was laid out for me before I choose to come to this earth... for me to reach  my full potential and become as He needs me to be.


  1. Hi Geneva,
    I was introduced to your story through Lara who I met when she moved in down the street from me last summer. We have become good friends and think she is amazing, as I know you do too. I have been following your blog for a while but have never commented. But this one today was such a blessing for me and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your journey and your thoughts and testimony. It is added strength to me. I pray for you and your family and will continue to do so.

  2. It's almost like she new this would be her last posting. Let it give comfort to her family. Many feel your loss and send our prayers. Rest in peace GV. Your trials are now over and you rest in the arms of God.