For many, believing is most difficult action

Believing is sometimes the most difficult action many are called upon to take, as was demonstrated when the Israelites were plagued with fiery serpents after they murmurred against the Lord and against Moses.

The Lord instructed Moses: "Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live." (Num. 21:8.)The solution to being healed was so simple - the children of Israel were required only to look. But some, apparently, expected their cure to be found in a more complex fashion.

In one of his books, Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Council of the Twelve wrote: "Man's search for . . . bedrock purpose and for core values will be a search in vain if it searches for new answers, or if it moves in the direction of false religion or merely in the direction of political ideology. These will prove to be only conceptual cul de sacs, not the solitary path to happiness.

"The reality to which we must look is the truth, in its fullest sense, contained in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Is it likely that mankind can save itself, when the answer is so simple and so obvious?

"The Book of Mormon speaks of that incident in the Old Testament when Moses lifted up a brazen serpent in the wilderness that all who had been bitten by the fiery serpents might look upon it and thereby live. But as the Book of Mormon concludes:

" `But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts. But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them.' (Alma 33:20.)

"Many today do not believe, of their problems, that the gospel of Jesus Christ will heal them. But they are wrong. Many today are so hardened that they will not even look, but one day their knees, too, will bow in acknowledgment that Jesus is the Christ. . . . The issue is the importance of being able to believe in the truth in order to do the most realistic thing to spare us present pain and spiritual death.

"Symbolically and actually, the Son of God has been lifted up upon the cross, and it is to Him that we look so that we might `live, even unto that life which is eternal.' " (That My Family Should Partake, pp. 96-97.)

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