"Today I ask a question the Savior asked nearly 2,000 years ago," said Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve. "When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8.)
Speaking Sunday afternoon, Elder Wirthlin recounted the faith of the widow who had enough food for one last meal. "It was then that a stranger approached and asked the unthinkable," he said in relating the account of Elijah's request for a morsel of bread.
"What this prophet told her next may seem surprising to those today who do not understand the eternal principle of faith. " 'Fear not,' he said to her. "But make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.' "
"In the wisdom of our day, the prophet's request may seem unfair and selfish. In the wisdom of our day, the widow's response may appear foolish and unwise. That is largely because we often learn to make decisions based upon what we see," Elder Wirthlin said.
"Too often today, we do not rely on faith so much as on our own ability to reason and solve problems," he continued, noting, "If we become ill, modern medicine can work healing miracles."
"Faith exists when absolute confidence in that which we cannot see combines with action that is in absolute conformity to the will of our Heavenly Father," he said. "Without these three, all we have is a counterfeit."
Elder Wirthlin explained these three components of faith by saying, "First, we must have confidence in that which we cannot see. . . . Second, for our faith to make a difference, we must act. . . . Third, one's faith should be consistent with the will of our Heavenly Father, including His laws of nature. . . .
"Often what passes for faith in this world is little more than gullibility," he said.
To understand when "our faith conforms to the will of our Heavenly Father," Elder Wirthlin said, "We must know the word of God, . . . immerse ourselves in the scriptures. . . . We must heed the counsel of latter-day prophets. . . . We must ponder and pray and seek the guidance of the Spirit.
"Only when our faith is aligned with the will of our Heavenly Father will we be empowered to receive the blessings we seek," he said. "Faith is one of the grand and glorious powers of eternity. It is a force powerful beyond our comprehension.
"Our faith is the foundation upon which all our spiritual lives rest," he continued. "It should be the most important resource of our lives. Faith is not so much something we believe; faith is something we live."
He said that those who walk in faith will feel their lives encompassed with the light and blessings of heaven. "They will understand and know things that others cannot. Those who do not walk in faith esteem the things of the Spirit as foolishness for the things of the Spirit can only be discerned by the Spirit."
Further, he declared, "Our Heavenly Father is a powerful, moving, directing Being. While we, may, at times, . . . struggle to understand trials of faith . . . we have absolute confidence that a loving Heavenly Father is at our side."
Referring to his opening thought, Elder Wirthlin continued, "When the Son of man cometh shall he find faith on the earth?
"Perhaps, as members of the Church trust with all their hearts, transform their hopes and beliefs into action, and seek to align themselves with the will of the Lord, the answer to the question the Savior asked 2,000 years ago will be a resounding, 'Yes, He will find faith.' "