Believe to See…
One of my favorite films is Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 version of The Ten Commandments. With Charlton Heston playing the lead role of Moses, it is a triumph of movie making genius depicting for its audience in near miraculous form the heaven sent miracles that brought the children of Israel out of slavery and into blessed freedom. Although it’s accuracy with the biblical account is nowhere near exact, the story, as told by DeMille and Heston, has the ability of drawing the viewer into the unfolding of this epic scriptural historic event.
I have always believed that miracles are the natural workings of God and nature beyond the capacity of mortal understanding. I speak God and nature in the same breath because God works within the laws of nature, often again beyond our understanding, but nevertheless natural law. As God leads His children on a path that brings us to eternal life, working within the laws that He creates is an imperative if we are to become like Him. We imperil our future with Him when we seek to ignore those things with which we have been richly blessed all because we demand to understand everything before we show the faith to be enlightened.
When I was serving a mission in South America I had the opportunity to learn and perform a song with a good friend of mine, Elder Kevin Webster. I have never forgotten the pleasant and uplifting feelings I had singing the words and blending my voice with that of my dear friend. The Burning Bush, by Lex de Azevedo, described quite well the struggle of man to seek answers, to seek signs, without exercising the faith to have them operate for good in our lives. Without real faith, that heart changing enlightenment, signs do not lead to an improved spiritual relationship, but a series of futile demands from deity to prove Himself day after day.
Where is the bush, that burning bush?
Where are the miracles others have seen?
Where is the voice, that heavenly voice,
whispering it’s not a dream?
Where are the visions, the visions of light?
Why must I give before I can receive?
Where is the proof I can hold in my hand,
something to help me believe?
God promised answers to those who would knock,
my knuckles are bloody and bare.
Lord, if you’re listening, please open the door.
Somebody answer my prayer…
In sweet answer to the misguided plea, the Lord replies:
Listen my child, my questioning child,
eager to know yet unwilling to learn.
You have been touched with a spiritual flame
brighter than bushes can burn.
You need no visions, no visions of light.
Line upon line all my truth shall be known.
What have you gained when the signs fade away,
if you’ve no faith of your own?
All that is mine I have offered to you.
I stand at the door and I knock.
Child, if you’re listening, please open to me.
You hold the key to the lock.
Some ask for signs before they will commit to keeping commandments, or following the word of God and His prophets. Others will be presented with signs in order to persuade obedience, nevertheless they do not follow willingly.
Take for example Pharaoh and the people of Egypt in the days of Moses. They were presented sign after sign with the command, “Let my people go.” However, any repentance they showed was momentary, and ultimately the chariots of Pharaoh charged into a watery grave instead of choosing to follow the God by whom so many miracles were shown.
Many Israelites who witnessed all the same miracles, chose also to doubt the love and power of God and His protecting hand each time they were threatened or challenged with a new trial. After witnessing all of the plagues of Egypt, and being spared of the same, they still murmured against God and Moses on the shores of the Red Sea. Moses ultimately declared by the power of God to his people, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:13-14).
Then, Moses lifting up his staff, and stretching forth his hand over the sea, “the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left” (Exodus 14:21-22).
Yet with all these miracles, and many more to come, doubt came time and time again. Signs and wonders accompany the righteous in answer to faith, because the humble and receptive heart is blessed with faith strengthened in miracles, while the hard hearted will always doubt, seeking more, but never truly desiring to follow, or to know.
I have never been one to seek for signs, but I have seen them nonetheless. I have seen great miracles in my lifetime that have affected others as well as myself, but I have always known that my Heavenly Father stands ready to bless, not to prove Himself, but just because He loves us.
There lies the peace, that heavenly peace,
offered so simply that some won’t receive.
Humble your heart, child, and open your eyes,
then you will know you believe.
May we believe not to see, but to see because we believe. I did not stand before the burning bush, nor did I feel the mist of the water crossing through the Red Sea on dry ground, but I still believe by the spiritual flame that burns in my heart to know. When my eyes have faded that I may know more see, and when the philosophies of men have overcome my ears that it has become difficult to hear, may I remember still that spiritual flame that is brighter than a bush, and leads you and I, enlightened, home to God. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.