Friday, June 8, 2012

Finding Faith in an Empty Tank of Gas


When the Savior was on the earth He asked,
 "When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)

What is true faith?
 Faith is defined as "belief and trust in loyalty to God...firm belief in something for which there is no proof. We believe that faith is to hope for things which are not seen, but which are true...and our faith must be centered in Jesus Christ.

Faith is a power, not to just to be believed in, but to be lived.



Richard and I started out our marriage in Cedar City, Utah where we were going to school at SUU.  We lived in an old house which had a full basement apartment.  We lived on the top floor and another family lived in the basement.  There was a similar house right next door. 

 All four of us young newlywed families were required to work for  a telephone answering service which our landlord owned out of our home.  We took turns with the three other families, trading off every three days.

One weekend we took a trip up to Stockton, Utah, a 4 hour drive, to visit relatives.  It was imperative that we be home no later than 6:00pm to take our turn answering the phones.
 We all barely tolerated answering the phone.  When our three days ended we were all more than anxious to pass the phone off to the next family. Because of this, we knew we couldn't be late getting home.

We left Stockton  on Sunday afternoon around 2:00 pm,  a little later than we had planned.  Because of the lateness of our leaving,  we  decided to take a shorter route home by taking the back roads.  It looked simple enough on the map.  It was just a matter of keeping our eyes open for the right turn offs.  This route would cut off about an hour of our travel time.

Richard and I have always enjoyed talking, and with the upcoming birth of our 1st child, we had plenty to talk about.  Before we knew it, the time was zooming by.  We were right on schedule to be home by at least 6:00pm.


As I watched the scenery speed pass us, I couldn't get over the lack of other cars around, billboards, and towns.  We were very much alone out in the middle of no where.  Before long things started  feeling ominously strange.  Suddenly we see a sign that says "Ely (Nevada)  3 miles. "  We knew we were in trouble and we  pulled over to check the map.

To our shock and dismay, we had missed an important turn-off 60 miles before.  How in the world could we have missed it?!  We jerked the car around as fast as we could and set out retracing the previous 60 miles. Suddenly, we realized that missing the turn-off wasn't our biggest problem anymore. 


WE WERE OUT OF GAS!

Our gas gage being on empty, "maybe," we thought, "it would take us the 60 miles back to the main road where we missed the turn-off."  In our right minds, we knew the reality of that was very slim. 

We began silently praying in our hearts that the Lord would let the gas last long enough to get to the main road where there would at least be people to help us.  We needed a miracle.


After traveling for 30 miles on empty, we came upon an old deserted road that looked like it might have once been , or maybe still was, a short cut to the main highway.  Not having a lot of choices, we took our chances, and white-knuckled it through those 15 miles of barren nothingness, until we reached the main highway.



We breathed an unbelievable sigh of relief at our luck up to this point of our journey. By this time, we had gone 45 miles on faith and an empty tank of gas. We knew the Lord blesses His people, but we knew we might also have already used up  our alloted blessings in this predicament we were in. 

We came to Highway 21 and we had to make some choices, and exercise some  faith: 

  • Do we go to Delta: the largest town...that we knew had gas...which was also 21 miles in the wrong direction
  • OR do we go 35 miles to the very small town of  Black Rock:  35 miles away towards home...but not sure if it would even have gas.  It was a speck on the map and sounded like a ghost town. 

We stopped and said a prayer, asking the Lord which direction to go. We pulled out our liahona.  

The answer we recieved was not what we expected it would be. As sometimes is the case, we received an answer that went against our natural way of thinking--which requires us to step out of our comfort zone and into the darkness of faith where we can't always see how it is going to end. 

We were to  go towards Black Rock.  We prayed  as well as in our hearts, that the gas, what little was there, and our faith , would last us until we reached Black Rock.

Our journey to this small town was pure white-knuckled faith.  We began noticing the mile markers, each one, on the side of the road.  Each was a milestone that we had gone, one more mile on an empty tank of gas and on faith and prayers. How much further would the Lord carry us through this?  The 6:00pm deadline was approaching, and although it was important for us to get back to answer the phones,  our main focus was now on just getting home.

Black Rock!  We were never so happy to see this old town.   We couldn't believe we had MADE it!! We very carefully put the car into neutral and coasted into town prepared to pull into the first  gas station.  In our minds, for a brief second, we thought we had come to the END of our troubles.  Somehow we had made it almost 80 miles on an empty tank of gas.  We knew it had been a miracle, and we knew the Lord was the one who delivered us.  The life lessons from this experience were already trickling down.

However, that joy was very short lived as to our great devastation, the town of Black Rock had only an empty train track, 2 old houses, and NO gas station. NONE.  ZIP. NADA. Our hearts literally sank.  What were we to do?!  How can this possibly keep going?


Milford, the next town, was another 32 miles away.  If we thought we had used up our blessings before, we really felt it now.  We had no choice but to keep going, which we did.

The mile markers took on even greater significance as we cautiously drove toward Milford.  Each one was one less mile we would have to walk.  It was dark now, I was 6 months pregnant, still in my Sunday clothes, and the thought of walking was not a good one. 

We prayed for a miracle of all miracles that we would make it to Milford. At this point, we were going on pure miracles.  This experience exceeded our faith.  I guess we did have faith that the Lord was completely carrying us through this, much like the power of grace and the Atonement.  We went as far as we could go, and the Lord carried us the rest of the way.  He made what was impossible, possible.  Like He always does.

After 32 long anxious miles from Black Rock and almost 115 total miles later on an empty tank of gas, we rolled into Milford.  We broke into cheers.  The happiest sight in the world was that gas station.  We  felt very undeserving of the miracles and blessings on our behalf, yet, we were humbled by the Lord's hand in our life.  It was truly unbelievable.  

Richard stepped out to put gas into the car.  As he unscrewed the gas cap, waiting for the usual swoooooshing sound of gas fumes trying to escape.  Instead, the sound was that of silence and faith.  No fumes were present to be escaping.  The only thing in that gas tank that day was faith. We knew a miracle of miracles had happened on our behalf that day. 


The Lord is more aware of our individual predicaments than we realize.  He is not only capable of performing miracles on our behalf, but He wants to.  The Lord really does His best work in impossible situations.
Since this time, when we have been struggling, whether it be physically, emotionally, financially, or spiritually, we have turned to this experience we had at the beginning of our marriage and drawn strength from it.  We have come to many Black Rocks where we have thought we were at the end of our troubles only to realize we were in the middle of them, and with nothing to do but turn to the Lord and keep going.

We also know that many times the Lord will often times require us to go in a direction that, for us, is a stretch, out of our comfort zone, and against all rationale.  It is then that He allows great moments to happen in our lives because we first had faith.


"Those who walk in faith will feel their lives encompassed with the light and blessings of heaven.  They will know and understand things that others cannot."  Elder Joseph Wirthlin, Ensign 2002

"For if there be no faith among the children of men, God can do no miracle among then; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith." (Ether 12:12)