Today I was asked to speak on hope. So, I decided to ask her a few questions. I discovered that Hope’s full name is Hope Childress. Her favorite color is Green (just like me). She has three children. Her favorite hymn is “Nearer my God to Thee” And her favorite Book of Mormon story is the story of the prophet Abinidi teaching wicked King Noah.
After I learned all this great trivia about Hope, my mom told me that Hope Childress wasn’t exactly what Brother Melanson had in mind when he asked me to speak about hope. I guess hope isn’t just a wonderful woman in our ward, it also means: “Hope is an emotion which brings richness to our everyday lives. It is defined as “the feeling that… events will turn out for the best.” When we exercise hope, we “look forward… with desire and reasonable confidence” As such, hope brings a certain calming influence to our lives as we confidently look forward to future events.”
Elder M. Russel Ballard says, “As we put our faith and trust to work, hope is born. Hope grows out of faith and gives meaning and purpose to all that we do. It can even give us the peaceful assurance we need to live happily in a world that is ripe with iniquity, calamity, and injustice.”
Hope is an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you. M. Russel Ballard, explains how much filthiness there is in the world today and then goes on to say that, regardless of this dark picture, which will ultimately get worse, we must never allow ourselves to give up hope! The Lord will always fulfill his promises to you. We see examples of the Lord keeping His promises so many times in the scriptures, like when the Nephites prospered in the promised land because they kept the commandments of God and when Abraham was blessed with a numerous posterity. The Lord’s promises are still being fulfilled today. He fills them in His own time and His own way. We need to do our part and keep our hope in His promises.
Hope is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. But we don’t get these four things all at once. Hope takes time, President Uchtdorf, explains it using the example of walking for the first time. You stumble, you fall, but eventually, if you keep trying, you walk and soon you’re running! The same is with building up your hope. You read your scriptures daily, you pray on your knees day and night and commit to keep the commandments of God. President Uchtdorf states that if we do these things, we will grow in our ability to “abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost,” as we more perfectly live the gospel.
Hope is believing and expecting that something will occur. My mom reads to my family every morning in the car on the way to this church building a book called Fishers of Men. In this book you begin to understand what life was like during Christ’s ministry for the Jews. They had great hope in the Messiah! They believed He would come. But we know that when He did come, they did not believe He was the One. Hope (like the Jews had) cannot stand alone, it has to have faith. Steven E. Snow, a member of the quorum of the 70 explains that there are three kinds of hope: Hope for things beyond our control, hope that leads to dreams and hope to gain eternal salvation.
Hope for things beyond our control is like when you hope your favorite football team will win.
Hope that leads to dreams ultimately should lead to action to fulfill those dreams.
The third type of hope (hope that is a desire to gain eternal salvation through the atonement of the Savior) is the most important type of hope for us as members of the church of Jesus Christ. This kind of hope is called true conversion.
When you have hope, you work through trials and difficulties with the confidence and assurance that all things will work together for your good. When we were living in Arizona, my mom and dad were huge examples to me, of this. My Dad would get up every morning, starting with prayer and scripture study. Then he would go out and look for jobs. When we came home from school he would take the time to teach us about the gospel. I know those days were hard for him. I know it was hard for him to keep going, but because he did, we are here today. My mom was also a huge example to me. I remember every morning in the car she would ask if we had said our personal prayers that morning, if we hadn’t she would immediately fold her arms and pray. She also took those long drives to the school to teach us about Adam and Eve, and the Creation and fall. I know it was extremely hard for both of them to keep being hopeful, but they did, and that taught me a big lesson, to never despair, and to always have hope.
Hope helps you conquer discouragement. President Uchtdorf describes discouragement and despair as a staircase that leads only and forever downward. Then he goes on to describe hope as, a 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. A while ago, I was kind of scared for what would happen in the future. I was only focusing on the negative and thinking about all the things that could go wrong. My mom realized my mood, and asked me what was wrong. I explained, and she told me there is always Hope. And the Atonement makes that hope real. I wouldn’t be so worried if I trusted the lord, and truly wanted his will to be done. What a stunning realization that was for me! I was in the pit of despair, but after hearing my mom and praying to my Father in Heaven I knew there was hope!
The scriptures often describe hope in Jesus Christ as the assurance that you will inherit eternal life in the celestial kingdom. Titus 3:7 backs this up, “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Elder Neal A. Maxwell explains that with this knowledge we should, as disciples, reach out to all who, for whatever reason, have ‘moved away from the hope of the gospel’ and reach to lift hands which hang hopelessly down.I believe that to choose hope is to choose life. To choose hope is to choose love. I hope, that we can all choose life and love, choose hope. I have a hope in Jesus Christ, I have a hope that if I do all that I need to do in this life, I will inherit eternal life in the celestial kingdom and live with my Father in Heaven.