A single old lantern hung from a hook above the stall. Will anxiously watched his father as he worked with the animal in the dim light. The young calf was not doing well; she had suffered a traumatic birth and now seemed to have stopped breathing. In his mind Will offered a silent prayer- “God, please help our cow to live, help her to be ok.” At that moment, the cow began to move- something had changed and she was breathing again. Although the night passed long, she did continue to recover and became a very healthy cow.
Many years later history repeated itself. Will was down working with another sick cow, and his little boy stood watching him full of anxiety and worry. Will wondered if his boy was praying as he had done so long ago. Will also wondered why he was not praying himself. He could see the calf really was not breathing, he could tell the heart had stopped and she was now dead. Why was it easier to pray and ask God for these things when he knew so much less about the cows and caring for them? Can ignorance help faith, is ignorance bliss?
So, the story might not be the most interesting (I have heard similar, but this one I made up), but I like the question it brought up. It is something I had wondered about before- specifically “Can ignorance help one’s faith?”
I had thought of my own life, specifically about the damage to the joints in my legs. About 6 years ago I began to have pain in them. That pain led to the discovery of my cancer relapse- “but it was temporary.” I soon began treatments, and again had high doses of steroids (the kind that don’t make you buff). Those steroids continued to cause damage- and have led to many surgeries. The most recent being several replacements I am in the process of getting done this summer. I have certainly desired to be healed completely (not just a joint replacement). It is something I prayed for very earnestly before going through major surgeries. But it did not happen; I still had to have the surgeries. I wondered at times if my faith might have been greater had I not known so much about the damage that happened.
As with most things, as time passes, looking back things are much clearer. I think the faith I had was not lacking in any major way. The important thing I have come to realize is ignorance never helps faith. Faith is in things which are true, and truth will only help us have faith. The problem I see arises when the faith we have switches from the truth we have learned from God, to the theories provided by man. “When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God. (2 Nephi 9: 28-29)” Elder Oaks explains well that the Lord’s will always supersedes what we might ask. I love the quote of the father mentioned by Elder Oaks “Our family’s faith is in Jesus Christ and is not dependent on outcomes.” Through everything I have had, I know the Lord has been there for me. I know His love has been extended into my life. I know through the difficulties I have had the Lord has taught me I can do great things- He has shown me and continues to show me how to do them. I know as we trust Him- no matter what happens in our lives all things can work for our good (Romans 8: 28). Ignorance is not bliss.