I have been thinking a lot lately about faith in achieving righteous desires. Sections 8 and 9 of the Doctrine and Covenants are an interesting case study of this principle. Oliver Cowdery wanted to translate. What he received in Section 8 was a loving and merciful response from Father in Heaven, through Joseph Smith. God tells Oliver:
and later, “Therefore, adoubt not, for it is the gift of God; and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power shall be able to take it away out of your hands, for it is the bwork of God.”
Later, “Remember that without afaith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith.”
The Lord promises to fulfill Oliver’s righteous desire, as long as he asks in faith. Essentially, God is telling Oliver that his desire is pleasing unto Him. It is Oliver’s will, and it is the Lord’s will.
Yet, it wasn’t enough that Oliver knew the Lord willed it. It wasn’t enough that he was promised the fulfillment of his desire. Oliver failed to exercise his faith, a key point which the Lord emphasized over and over again in Section 8. We often focus on the verse in Section 9 where Oliver is chastized for simply asking without studying it out in his mind first (a key element of using faith to achieve our righteous desires). I would like to point out verse 11:
“Behold, it was expedient when you commenced; but you afeared, and the time is past, and it is not expedient now;…”
Oliver was afraid. Is that sometimes how we are? Do we have a righteous desire that we know is pleasing to God, that we know He is willing to grant us, and then are seized upon by fear? Somehow we freeze up. It is in that point where we need to choose faith over fear, school our thoughts, not let doubt creep in, and move forward. I think it is wise that Heavenly Father requires us to exercise our faith, and doesn’t immediately give us our desire when we ask for it. I see the Lord’s love for Oliver in this example, and I see in it a great lesson applicable to me. Sometimes my will is aligned with God’s will, but my faith is not sufficient. Let us all strive for greater faith.