Anticipation Of An Empty Shelf

I’m sure, like me, you have specific questions regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ or the plan of salvation that have never been satisfactorily answered in your mind. Faith is, of course, an important component in believing in Christ, yet, it is nice to understand, to the best of our ability, the logic behind certain doctrines. I don’t recall when I first heard it, nor who actually was the first to say it. It doesn’t really matter because the concept is all that is important. As a believing member of Him and His church, there have been a few things that I have not been able to work out in my mind. When I wasn’t able to comprehend a point of doctrine, I was advised to put that “on the shelf” and that the day would come when I would be able to understand and remove that question from “the shelf.”

Several weeks ago my shelf got a little lighter. In the midst of a typical priesthood group meeting, a point of doctrine that has long puzzled me suddenly became clear. It was if a switch had been”turned on”, illuminating my mind and driving out all darkness regarding a point of doctrine. I couldn’t believe it. I have spent decades in priesthood meetings, and yet, never had the Lord seen fit to remove that thorn from my side. I might add that this particular thorn is personal, meaning it is not a point of doctrine that might bother someone else. Or for that matter, most members probably have never given it much thought. The point isn’t even necessary for my salvation. It is just…well…personal! But for me, at that moment, my shelf got lighter!

What did I learn from this experience? Well, a couple of things. One is patience. “Good things come to those who wait” is an old English saying. One that was also used as a slogan by the Heinz Company in the 1980’s to promote their slow trickling brand of ketchup. The vision of their ketchup slowing moving down the bottleneck on its journey to a hamburger or hot dog while Carly Simon sang “Anticipation”,  has stayed in my mind. They played off the words of Paul, who so eloquently expressed the virtue of patience in his epistle to the Hebrews when he wrote:

“For ye have need of patience,that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise”(Hebrews 10:36)

If we are willing to move forward in faith, not doubting, the Lord will, in time, answer our questions. Sometimes “in time” means months, years or even a lifetime. Yet,we have been promised that all things will be revealed to those who are patient, obedient, and who diligently search, ponder and pray. If we are patient and do the will of God, the promise from God is salvation to our souls.

Second, I have learned that even though I don’t understand some points of doctrine, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t true! I just need to have the faith to put that question “aside”,temporarily, until I have better prepared myself to either accept the true answer, or prepare myself to receive it. I’m grateful that my “shelf” is lighter than it was just a few weeks ago. That shelf will probably always have “something” on it till the day I die. Yet I have great “anticipation” that if I exercise patience, one day, that shelf will be empty.

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