The Importance of Hope
- Hope is one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time. Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness. Its absence—when this desire of our heart is delayed—can make “the heart sick.” Hope is a gift of the Spirit. It is a hope that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the power of His Resurrection, we shall be raised unto life eternal and this because of our faith in the Savior. This kind of hope is both a principle of promise as well as a commandment, and, as with all commandments, we have the responsibility to make it an active part of our lives and overcome the temptation to lose hope. Hope in our Heavenly Father’s merciful plan of happiness leads to peace, mercy, rejoicing, and gladness. The hope of salvation is like a protective helmet; it is the foundation of our faith and an anchor to our souls.
But Why Then Is There Despair?
- The scriptures say that there must be “an opposition in all things.” So it is with faith, hope, and charity. Doubt, despair, and failure to care for our fellowmen lead us into temptation, which can cause us to forfeit choice and precious blessings. The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart. Despair can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward. Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear.
What, Then, Is Hope?
- Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is confidence that if we live according to God’s laws and the words of His prophets now, we will receive desired blessings in the future. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance.
Things We Hope For
- The things we hope for are often future events. If only we could look beyond the horizon of mortality into what awaits us beyond this life. Is it possible to imagine a more glorious future than the one prepared for us by our Heavenly Father? Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we need not fear, for we will live forever, never to taste of death again. Because of His infinite Atonement, we can be cleansed of sin and stand pure and holy before the judgment bar. The Savior is the Author of our Salvation. And what kind of existence can we hope for? Those who come unto Christ, repent of their sins, and live in faith will reside forever in peace. No matter how bleak the chapter of our lives may look today, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we may hope and be assured that the ending of the book of our lives will exceed our grandest expectations.
Things We Hope In
- The things we hope in sustain us during our daily walk. They uphold us through trials, temptations, and sorrow. We hope in Jesus the Christ, in the goodness of God, in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, in the knowledge that prayers are heard and answered. Because God has been faithful and kept His promises in the past, we can hope with confidence that God will keep His promises to us in the present and in the future.
Hope Leads to Good Works
- We learn to cultivate hope the same way we learn to walk, one step at a time. As we study the scriptures, speak with our Heavenly Father daily, commit to keep the commandments of God, like the Word of Wisdom, and to pay a full tithing, we attain hope. We grow in our ability to “abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost,” as we more perfectly live the gospel.
- Hope is critical to both faith and charity. When disobedience, disappointment, and procrastination erode faith, hope is there to uphold our faith. When frustration and impatience challenge charity, hope braces our resolve and urges us to care for our fellowmen even without expectation of reward. The brighter our hope, the greater our faith. The stronger our hope, the purer our charity.
- The things we hope for lead us to faith, while the things we hope in lead us to charity. The three qualities—faith, hope, and charity—working together, grounded on the truth and light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, lead us to abound in good works.
Finally, President Uchtdorf concludes with these comments.
- The Lord has given us a reassuring message of hope: “Fear not, little flock.” God will wait with “open arms to receive” those who give away their sins and continue in faith, hope, and charity. And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in. Never surrender. Never allow despair to overcome your spirit. Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.
President Uchtdorf dissects hope in such a simple way. I love how he discusses things we hope for, and things we hope in. The clear description provided gives me an understanding of what I can do to strengthen by hope in the Savior and His plan for me. Without hope, life is discouraging and without purpose. With hope, life is manageable and seeks to find happiness and joy. With this hope that is described, I can look at life in a positive way and know that greater things are coming in the future and I that God's promises are sure if I live my life the way I know I should.