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Comer: Lessons on faith from the building of a Pokemon set


By Ryan Comer - | Mar 23, 2024

Ryan Comer, Standard-Examiner

The author’s 9-year-old son with a completed Pokemon set.

I recently helped one of my sons put together a Mega-brand Pokemon set. I’ve helped him put one together before and was excited to get started on another. As I opened up the box, separated the pieces and began construction of the toy, it struck me how I was starting from nothing, and yet I knew that at some point I was going to finish and it was going to look impressive.

Piece by piece, we put together parts of the set, named Eevee, which I’ve read is a mix between a rabbit, a cat and a fox. We started with the body, then moved to the head, then the arms and legs and finally the tail. I’m pleased to say that my son was as happy with how it turned out as I imagined he would be.

Trying to build something up from nothing can seem like a daunting task. But there was no intimidation for one very specific reason. We had the instruction booklet in front of us. We knew exactly what needed to be done at every point of the building process. As long as we followed the instructions, we had the confidence that eventually it would be completed and look the way it should.

Still, there were some pitfalls to avoid. One major pitfall was that some of the pieces looked similar. So similar, in fact, that they were hard to differentiate. This could be a problem if you grabbed the wrong piece by accident. It would connect like you would think it should, but later on, you would realize that it was incorrect and be forced to start pulling pieces apart to fix the mistake. In anticipation of this problem, when you came to a piece that looked similar to another piece, the instructions showed the incorrect piece with a symbol marking it as incorrect side by side with the correct piece with a symbol marking it as correct. I found this extremely helpful in avoiding confusion.

As long as I followed the directions exactly how they were supposed to be followed, paying careful attention to every step to make sure I didn’t accidentally misconnect any pieces, I had nothing to worry about.

Photo supplied

Ryan Comer

As I thought about this process, I couldn’t help but compare it to a journey of faith. For some of us, our faith can be really small. It may seem completely nonexistent. To a person with low or no faith, the idea of one day having great, unshakeable faith might seem highly unlikely. All they can see is where they are at and how far they would have to go. But it is possible. It requires taking one step at a time, correcting mistakes if you make them along the way. Most importantly, just like the Pokemon set I put together with my son, there are instructions. We aren’t left to ourselves to figure everything out. We have the scriptures, like the Bible and the Book of Mormon. We have the words of the apostles and prophets, who we will be fortunate to hear from in just two weeks at general conference, the semiannual gathering of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We can pray and ask Heavenly Father for guidance. With all this help, we never need to worry about whether it is possible to have great faith. We can know that it’s possible. It is entirely up to us whether we want to put in the effort to obtain it.

It is often said by those who lack faith, “I could never have as great of faith as this person or that person.” This is a lie directly from Satan, who desires to tear down faith as much as possible. Your faith can be as great as you want it to be. You have all the control.

Satan is devious. He will come in ways you might not have expected or been able to anticipate. He’s a master of using our life situations against us. He has been doing this for thousands and thousands of years. He knows exactly how and when to strike. But none of that makes him worth fearing because we have the promise that as long as we are following the proper instructions (i.e., studying the scriptures, listening to and heeding the counsel of apostles and prophets, etc.), we will be able to overcome him.

From an April 2015 article in the New Era, a magazine distributed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

“Our Heavenly Father ensures that we have moral agency, the ability to choose good or evil. He won’t force us to do good, and the devil can’t force us to do evil (see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 214).

“So, when it comes to your thoughts, the devil has only as much influence as you’re willing to give him. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, ‘Satan cannot seduce us by his enticements unless we in our hearts consent and yield’ (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 213). He also said, ‘The devil has no power over us only as we permit him’ (214).

“In addition, the scriptures tell us that ‘there is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart’ (D&C 6:16), so Satan doesn’t actually know what you’re thinking. He can only offer temptations and enticements. But if you choose to follow them, he gains greater power over you and the temptations get stronger. By the same token, if you resist evil and choose good, you will be strengthened and blessed.”

Applying that’s knowledge to our faith journey, Satan only has enough power to tear down faith as we allow him to have.

As I looked at how my son reacted to the completed Pokemon set, I felt joy. I could tell how much he loved it. The effort in putting it together was worth it. That is how we will feel as we build our faith. We will love how it has changed us and we will know that it was worth the effort.

Of course, there is no end to building faith. We will never in this lifetime be a finished product in that regard. But that won’t diminish the joy we feel as we see the progress we make. We will simply want to keep building. I can speak to the truthfulness of that because I have seen my life change as I have made the effort to increase my faith and I know the immense gratitude I have for that change. All the work has been worth it.

Contact Ryan Comer at rcomer@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @rbcomer8388 and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rbcomer8388.


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