January 6, 2014

The Story About Faith Fumes

I just finished a semester of college. But as this semester came to an end, my college life was also put on hiatus for 18 months as I go to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. the Mormons). A great decision (you'll see). But because I was taking such a long hiatus, all of my stuff had to come with me, too. So how did the college student with three suitcases, three bags, two plastic tubs, and a backpack, all full to bursting, make the journey across four states to get home? I called in my fantastic mother, of course.

She really must love me. She came across those four states in one day, helped me deep clean my dorm to pass cleaning checks, took my friend along for the ride home, and packed the car, only to turn right back around and drive home. And, between her being tired from everything and me not having driven in a long time, she let me drive. And it was so good to be behind the wheel again.

But because I hadn't driven for a while, there were some things I forgot to do. Like check the gas gauge the next morning to see if I needed to put gas in the car. That thought never even crossed my mind. A few hours later, I was driving along contently and looked down to see that the gas light was on, the little arrow pointing straight at the E. I was literally out of gas. I looked up and realized that lo and behold, I was driving straight through the middle of the desert. There would be no gas station for miles. My heart sunk. I told my mom and she double checked me and sighed. "Well," she said, "it looks like we'll be running on faith fumes." 

Faith fumes is just an expression my family and I use that describes how the car illogically makes it to the next gas station, something that my family knows all to well. How does this work, you may ask, and how can I use them? Well, let me give you a little formula that has worked for me and my family.

First, you need to pray sincerely. As the driver, I said a quick prayer in my heart, as I couldn't close my eyes, and I kept that humble prayer of "please, Father, help us get to the nearest gas station" in my heart continuously. My mom also prayed, by bowing her head, folding her arms, and closing her eyes, to demonstrate the respect that our God should be shown.

Second, have faith that your prayer will be answered. This is probably the most important part of the formula, and goes hand in hand with the first part. God, our Father in Heaven, does, in fact, hear your prayers and answer them. And if you don't feel like He does, then ask Him if He is listening and He will respond, if you are open to His answer.

Third, don't doubt. Be positive that you will make it. I had to force myself not to look at the gas gauge, because that would make me focus on the likelihood and logistics of making it to the nearest gas station (which was who knows how far away). But I didn't want the logic to get in the way of my faith that we would make it. Push away those doubtful thoughts, and you can make it, too.

Fourth, understand that your prayers may not be answered in the way you expect it. Over and over again, I kept thinking "Even if we don't make it to the pump at the next gas station, we will make it to a point where pushing the car to the pump will not be too difficult a task." That was not necessarily the answer I hoped I would receive, but I knew that I would make it somehow, even if I did have to push the car.

Fifth, when your prayer is answered, be grateful. Pray again and thank your Father for listening and helping you along. He did it because He loves you.

So the conclusion to my story? We made it to a gas station. All the way to the pump. How far did we go to get there? Probably about 30 miles since I had first realized the light was on. And I checked to see the estimation of miles we had left in our tank, and yes, it was at 0 miles for the gas that was in the car. There is no logical way that we could have made it to this gas station in the middle of the desert, where there was nothing else. Faith fumes carried us through. And those faith fumes came from my Father in Heaven who loves me dearly.

"Remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto
the children of men, from the creation of Adam even
down until the time that ye shall receive these things,
and ponder it in your hearts."
-Moroni 10:3

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