By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

When We Seek Knowledge and Understanding

Seeking knowledge and understanding is something we all do. We read and study voraciously in an effort to learn more about a given subject. The subject varies as our interest waxes and wanes. Sometimes we are frustrated because we cannot find answers.

I believe that there are some things that we will not find the answers to in this life. These are things that, contrary to our own opinions, we simply are not ready for. Other times, the answers could come to us in this life, but only after we are living up to the knowledge we already have. Our seeking seems to outrun what we are ready to receive.

Human beings are odd creatures. A part of us feels horribly insecure while another part of us fancies that we are able to know it all and handle it well. We are hardly objective observers of our own abilities. Our Heavenly Father knows us well and, while He loves us greatly, He also knows objectively and truly what knowledge we can effectively use and what will only confuse us more, or burden us beyond what we are ready to handle.

Asking questions to gain understanding is a good thing. As we grow in knowledge and then understanding, we can put what we know into action, thereby gaining wisdom. However, it seems to me that some questioning is more or less a waste of time. Perhaps it is our motive for asking that makes the difference. If we are asking questions in an effort to understand something better, something we already know, then we are making an appropriate effort. If we are asking in order to find fault or to argue against something, something that is true, then we are wasting time.

We have to be humble enough to understand that we are not ready for all knowledge at this time. We have to understand that our human view of things is not the be all and end all and that God knows what He is doing. In other words, we have to exercise faith, even when we don't understand all the whys and wherefores.

Sometimes we argue against putting some of our questions on a shelf in our minds. We say, "Well, I am a person who has to know--who cannot shelve questions. That's the way I am." My answer to that is that there are times when we have to change ourselves (and, yes, this can be done). We cannot always have what we want, when we want it. We have to exercise patience. We need to remember that we are eternal beings and therefore have all eternity to learn and understand. It will not hurt us to wait for some things. In fact, it is greatly to our benefit to have to exercise faith and patience. Again, we have to be humble.

I know that becoming truly humble, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, is not easy for us. We are arrogant, albeit sometimes insecure, human beings. We think our finite minds can grasp the answers to the universe. It is true that humans have learned a lot of complicated information over the ages. That doesn't mean it is complete information or that we are therefore able to handle all information. It means that God has blessed mankind with much knowledge that can help us in this life, but that to know all that needs to be known for eternity is not yet part of His plan for us. And so we need to be humble and to trust our Heavenly Father. We need to grow to prefer His will to our own. Not easy, but doable.

Perhaps we feel that submitting our will to the will of our Father will erase our individual selves. We have to find it in ourselves to trust that God's ways are better for us than our ways and that we will not only still be our individual selves, but we will be much better selves than if we went willfully down our own path. Heavenly Father's work is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (see Moses 1:39). He does this by doing always what is best for us in the eternal scheme of things.

I know it is hard to be humble and to be trusting, but it is eternally important that we learn to be so.

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Anonymous Barb said...

If I am not ready for something, I do not want it revealed to me. I do not want to be too accountable if I am not strong enough to hold to the rod after receiving so much light.

6:40 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Barb, I agree. And I think Heavenly Father agrees, too. If we get too much too soon, we're liable to mess up, whereas if we will work up through the basics and take things a step at a time, we can grow into the bigger things.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Barb said...

Mary, I was thinking how the thoughts in this post are so in harmony with the name of your blog, by study and also by faith. :)

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Hamid said...

That is a very interesting post.

3:08 AM  
Anonymous Elizebth said...

Hello your post very related to your blog

5:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we have the ability to achive altimate knowledge, but how can we recieve what we are blind to?

2:48 PM  

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