Suspense is a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety about the outcome of certain actions, most often referring to an audience's perceptions in a dramatic work. Suspense is not exclusive to fiction, though. Suspense may operate in any situation where there is a lead up to a big event or dramatic moment, with tension being a primary emotion felt as part of the situation. In broader definitions of suspense, this emotion arises when someone is aware of his lack of knowledge about the development of a meaningful event; thus, suspense is a combination of anticipation and uncertainty dealing with the obscurity of the future.
We have been living with a certain amount of suspense around here these days. It is beginning to lessen, but there are still several big, unanswered questions. This state of tension has been difficult to overcome, making both my husband and I less effective in every other area of responsibility. Just knowing a thing, even if the answer is difficult, is better than the waiting.
My husband is in the middle of finals (his last ones ever!!). He has struggled to focus on study because of this state of not-knowing. This morning, during his scripture study, he found a quote in an institute manual. I'd like to share it with you.
It takes faith—unseeing faith—for young people to proceed immediately with their family responsibilities in the face of financial uncertainties. It takes faith for the young woman to bear her family instead of accepting employment, especially when schooling for the young husband is to be finished. It takes faith to observe the Sabbath when ‘time and a half’ can be had working, when sales can be made, when merchandise can be sold. It takes a great faith to pay tithes when funds are scarce and demands are great. It takes faith to fast and have family prayers and to observe the Word of Wisdom. It takes faith to do ward teaching, stake missionary work, and other service, when sacrifice is required. It takes faith to fill foreign missions. But know this—that all these are of the planting, while faithful devout families, spiritual security, peace, and eternal life are the harvests.
“Remember that Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and others could not see clearly the end from the beginning. They also walked by faith and without sight. Remember again that no gates were open; Laban was not drunk; and no earthly hope was justified at the moment Nephi exercised his faith and set out finally to get the plates. No asbestos clothes or other ordinary protective devices were in the fiery furnace to protect the three Hebrews from death; there were no leather nor metal muzzles for the mouths of the lions when Daniel was locked in the den.
“Remember that there were no clouds in the sky nor any hydrometer in his hand when Elijah promised an immediate break in the long extended drouth; though Joshua may have witnessed the miracle of the Red Sea, yet how could he by mortal means perceive that the flooding Jordan would back up for the exact time needed for the crossing, and then flow on its way to the Dead Sea.
“Remember that there were no clouds in the sky, no evidence of rain, and no precedent for the deluge when Noah builded the ark according to commandment. There was no ram in the thicket when Isaac and his father left for Moriah for the sacrifice. Remember there were no towns and cities, no farms and gardens, no homes and storehouses, no blossoming desert in Utah when the persecuted pioneers crossed the plains. And remember that there were no heavenly beings in Palmyra, on the Susquehanna or on Cumorah when the soul-hungry Joseph slipped quietly into the Grove, knelt in prayer on the river bank, and climbed the slopes of the sacred hill.
“But know this: that undaunted faith can stop the mouths of lions, make ineffective the fiery flames, make dry corridors through beds of rivers and seas. Unwavering faith can protect against deluge, terminate drouths, heal the sick, and bring heavenly manifestations. Indomitable faith can help us live the commandments and thereby bring blessings unnumbered with peace, perfection, and exaltation in the kingdom of God. (Spencer W. Kimball, in Conference Report, Oct. 1952, 50–51).We are not facing down hungry lions, an angry mob or a cloudless sky. Our trials are custom fit for us and our own spiritual growth charts. Sometimes it feels like it's too heavy, but when we remember that it is faith that will preserve us (and not "muzzles" or "asbestos clothes"), our burden is lightened.
Today, I am thankful for the words of a prophet to buoy and strengthen the feeble knees.