the patience to grow

Faith is compared to a seed in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. In the Bible we see Christ’s description showing us the power of faith

verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Matthew 17:20

In the Book of Mormon we see the Prophet Alma delivering some additional knowledge on faith through the metaphor of a seed.

Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

Alma 32:28

Certainly the metaphor of the seed was powerful to each of these audiences in part because their familiarity with the process of growing. Our society today is significantly less agricultural. Yet as we approach spring our minds similarly shift to the growing seasons in each of our areas. But there is something about the way seeds grow that has direct application to these verses on faith.

Please take a minute to watch how it really happens. Notice the first 6 days of this time lapse video of a seed germinating:

For someone observing the soil and not the roots it would appear that nothing happened for five days. For those of us with the benefit of seeing the cross section (thank you youtube) we can see that during that time period the roots growing deep and wide.

It would be unwise to plow your soil because you haven’t seen any growth. Yet often times our anxieties cause us to do just that after we plant our seeds of faith.

When we enter into the moments where our faith is challenged we may not immediately see a response. Not everyone is shown a sign the moment we ask a question.

Slow down and avoid plowing under the soil of your faith.
If you’re patient you can see miracles.

I’ve come to appreciate that some answers take time for us to see them.

When the seed of our faith is germinating. The roots are growing. The challenging experiences one might face in that window are driving the roots deeper. Even once our faith has sprouted and is actively visible it does not remove us from the benefits of adversity.

We need to be patient within ourselves.

Anxiety is a form of fear. Perfect love casteth out all fear.

The Savior is patient with us. We need to follow his example and be patient with ourselves.

Recognize that on some things our seeds are growing roots and that our faith is not yet visible.

Recognize that the opposition we face isn’t to weaken our faith, but to strengthen it. The atonement is complete enough and powerful enough to extend to everyone on the earth and give them the strength through repentance to overcome and grow into the person who our Heavenly Father sees in us.

The mountains between who we are now and who He sees can be overcome, with faith as small as a mustard seed.

mustard seed size comparison
courtesy of lds.org

Lindsey Stirling and the Violinist

I once asked a violinist what she thought about Lindsey Stirling.  It was after a holiday meal.  I thought it was a polite question. I had no idea that the road our conversation was going down would take such a sharp turn up the steep hill to passionate in less than a second.

By the time I realized where we were I had conversational whiplash.   I listened to an otherwise mild mannered violinist leak unkind thoughts towards someone else who made their living with the same instrument.

What I thought they would have in common they did not.  Sure both instruments look the same.  The other half the the conversation quickly advocated that to the trained ear they do not sound the same.  I noticed this too.  Lindsey Stirling’s playing doesn’t sound like the violin solo in Scheherazade.

I took my boys to see Lindsey Stirling in concert in Munich a few years ago.  That concert showed how Lindsey offers something different than just a precisely excellent performance.  During her concert she repeatedly offered messages of hope and courage for those dealing with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.  She made the evening enjoyable.

Her music was a part of the message, but her message was much more than her music.

How often do we see a part of something and miss viewing it as part of a whole?  Lindsey’s marketability is her message and her music is a part of her way of expressing that, but if you only pay attention to the music and what it’s lacking it might be very easy to miss the greater picture.

I had the ability to politely share this with the violinist over dinner.  I felt like I learned to help her see more than what she had seen before.

I hope I can be receptive when people try to help me see the larger context in my life.  Seeing only a part of something is a human condition and I’m just as prone to it as anyone else.  I only hope I can be a better learner than I am today.  If you choose to help me, please be kind.