When Gregory Clark and his wife became empty-nesters, their children gave them a gift to keep them company: two dogs. On walks with the dogs, Clark noticed that while one constantly ran ahead, the other dog patiently waited for Clark when he called for him. Over time Clark realized this was because of the humble and faithful nature of his dog.
Clark related this story to the Brigham Young University community at Tuesday’s devotional to illustrate the principle that a person must be humble to choose faith over fear.
An associate dean of the College of Humanities and an English professor, Clark spoke about the relationship between faith and fear, saying that living in fear prevents a person from changing for the better.
“It is important to learn how to live in faith rather than fear because the process of changing for the better is at the very foundation of the Father’s plan for us,” Clark said. “Changing for the better is what we are here in this life to do.”
Clark suggested that fear comes from the assumption that one must face all problems and challenges alone. Fear, Clark said, “is a failure of faith.” Faith, however, can overcome fear.
“Faith is a choice,” Clark said. “Faith is a choice to believe and to act upon that belief in the face of uncertainty.”
Every day we must choose to have faith in the face of fear, Clark advised students. This is a process of “remembering the Lord’s past blessings” and then acting upon a “hope in his promises” in the future.
Practicing faith also opens us to the blessings of the Atonement, Clark suggested. And choosing fear, he continued, keeps the blessings of the Atonement from reaching us.
Clark described the process of dispelling fear and choosing faith.
“The first step is to recognize that fear is a symptom of weakened faith. The second is to acknowledge this weakness, and our need for the Lord to help us overcome it, by renewing our trust in Him. As we begin to trust the Lord more than our own capacities — a trust we have lost at some point — we become humble,” Clark explained.
Humility is necessary to practice faith instead of fear, Clark said. Pride and fear both cause us to rely on “our own judgment, our own capacities, our own purposes insubordinated to the Lord’s.”
“Active and practical humility is the way we choose faith,” Clark said. “In humility we choose faith, and faith becomes the channel through which the Lord blesses us with hope and miracles and perfect love.”
The devotional will be rebroadcast Sunday, May 18, on KBYU at 6 and 11 a.m. and on BYU-TV at 8 a.m. and 4 and 10 p.m.
Writer: Alexis Plowman