And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles. (The Book of Mormon, Mormon 9:19)
For the past month I've been studying for my second exam in a series of five that I need to pass in order to gain a professional certification I'm seeking. When I arrived at the testing center this morning, for confirmation they asked me what exam I was there to take. It was then I discovered that I had inadvertently registered for the third exam in the series, not the second that I was prepared for.
I had already paid $150 to register for the test, and it was too late to cancel or change tests. The only choice I had was either to take the test I had registered for or not (and lose the money).
The first miracle is in my reaction to this. I was calm, relatively. I realized that freaking out or making a fuss wasn't going to help anything. I decided to go ahead and take the exam, since I would have to take it later and at least it would give me practice.
Of all five exams in the series, this third one is probably the one I have the most real experience with in my job. But I still encountered many concepts I was not familiar with. Thankfully the tests are multiple choice and I could rule out some choices and make educated guesses. For two and a half hours I went over the 75 questions, changing many of my initial answers.
I received a print-out of the results after finishing, and was delighted to see that I had passed (just barely)!
You might say that I had some lucky guesses. You could say that I'm a pretty good test taker. Maybe I was just familiar enough with the concepts and terminology because of my work. But to me, it was a miracle. A blessing from my Heavenly Father.
Why it strikes me as such is partly due to my situation. I have a full-time job and am trying to support my family of six on a single income in troubled economic times. I also spend many hours each week fulfilling my Church responsibilities. I am trying to spend quality time with my children, because I don't want to miss seeing them grow up. I am seeking this certification to advance my career and be a better provider. I have been prayerful in seeking the Lord's help in my life and trying to do His will.
I do not say these things to boast, but because I believe this is how I have shown my faith by my works (see James 2:18). In both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, we are taught that miracles are wrought by faith.
And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?
Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain (Moroni 7:35-37).
However, faith is not a way to manipulate God. The greatest faith of all was expressed by Him who prayed
Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done (Luke 22:42).
I was ready to accept not passing my exam today. Faith is not faith if it is hinged on a certain outcome.
Verily, I say unto you, there are those among you who seek signs, and there have been such even from the beginning;
But, behold, faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe.
Yea, signs come by faith, not by the will of men, nor as they please, but by the will of God (Doctrine & Covenants 63:8-10).
Faith is doing the best we can, trusting that God knows, sees, and understands far more than we do; and He will take care of things according to His good will. He loves us. We are his children. He knows each of us by name, and somehow watches over each one of us, guiding our steps and customizing our individual curriculum.
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him (Job 13:15).