Tuesday, January 11, 2011

There Is Hope

Several months ago I attended a Living Legends fireside and heard a song that stated simply, "There is hope." Although I have since forgotten the rest of the words, I was struck by that powerful, yet simple statement. There is hope. So often it is easy to become discouraged in life. Whether our problems lie in our physical appearance, our social station, or our spiritual standing before God, it seems easier to live in despair rather then put forth the effort to hope for improvement.

However, our Heavenly Father did not put us on this earth to forever feel hopeless, unworth, or unloved. He stated, "This is my work and my glory-to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39) And "men are that they might have joy." (2 Nephi 2:25). If God wants us to have immortality and eternal life, that means he wants us to be as he is. And I believe that if he wants us to have joy, that means He has joy. And we feel true joy in our lives when we have hope.

But what is hope? Defining hope for me is like trying to define salt; I know what it is but it's hard to describe to others. I finally found a definition that I liked that defined an aspect of hope- a person or thing in which expectations are centered. I liked that description because it reminded me in whom I should have hope; my Savior, Jesus Christ. Moroni records, "And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection." (Moroni 7:41) It is through the Atonement of Christ that we can change our hearts, repent, and turn again toward our goal of eternal life. And in this, I find hope. Without the Atonement, life would be an endless train of sadness and despair. But with the Atonement, we can see again the light of Christ that shines in a world gone dark.

Nephi counsels, "Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope. " (2 Nephi 31:20) I love the expression "a perfect brightness of hope". When I think of something bright, I think of the sun because it gives light and life to the whole world. And then I think of the true light of the world- God's son. Christ stated, "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." (John 12:46) If we believe in Christ and follow His light, then we can have joy in this world and hope in the world to come.

How do we obtain this hope? Moroni again gives the answer- the "Comforter filleth with hope." (Moroni 8:26) In order to gain hope, we must have the Spirit. In order to have the companionship of the spirit, we must do those things which invite his presense into our lives. They're the answers that any primary child would give; pray, read our scriptures, follow the prophet. And yet how often do we do these things "with a sincere heart", and "with real intent" as Moroni admonishes? But as we strive to have the spirit in our lives, we will be filled with hope. And when we have that hope we will be able to give "a reason of the hope that is in us." (1 Peter 3:15) This world is full of darkness and despair, but because of the Atonement there is always hope.