Finding Hope Through Jesus Christ
The 13th Article of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states:
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—we believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
What is this hope that is spoken of? The dictionary defines hope as the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. However, in a day and hour when there seems to be so much chaos and confusion going on in the world, the idea of there being any real hope can seem obscure. Regardless of how dismal and hopeless things may appear to be on the surface, there is still hope, and that hope can only be found in its true source, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Psalm 33:18-19 are recorded these words, “Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” In Psalm 43:5 the Psalmist also gives this calm assurance, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
Many people have a tendency to put their trust and confidence in a lot of frivolous things such as bank accounts, careers, fancy cars, expensive homes, and the like, hoping that these material things will bring them lasting joy and happiness, but more times than not they discover that what they have is really a false sense of hope that never brings about any true or lasting satisfaction. The admonition given by the Prophet Jeremiah as recorded in Jeremiah 17:5-8 is befitting of these modern times:
Thus saith the Lord; cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
Only hope that is rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ is lasting hope. In the midst of all hopelessness and despair, and at times when nights seem their darkest, it is that lasting hope that sustains a person and gives him reassuring peace and comfort. It is that lasting hope that strengthens a person’s faith and gives him the courage to press forward in spite of any adversity that he may encounter.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in his message titled The Infinite Power of Hope, found in the November 2008 issue of the Ensign magazine, recounts this story from his youth of how his mother put her faith and hope into action:
Toward the end of World War II, my father was drafted into the German army and sent to the western front, leaving my mother alone to care for our family. Though I was only three years old, I can still remember this time of fear and hunger. We lived in Czechoslovakia, and with every passing day, the war came nearer and the danger grew greater.
Finally, during the cold winter of 1944, my mother decided to flee to Germany, where her parents were living. She bundled us up and somehow managed to get us on one of the last refugee trains heading west. Traveling during that time was dangerous. Everywhere we went, the sound of explosions, the stressed faces, and ever-present hunger reminded us that we were in a war zone.
Along the way the train stopped occasionally to get supplies. One night during one of these stops, my mother hurried out of the train to search for some food for her four children. When she returned, to her great horror, the train and her children were gone!
She was weighed down with worry; desperate prayers filled her heart. She frantically searched the large and dark train station, urgently crisscrossing the numerous tracks while hoping against hope that the train had not already departed.
Perhaps I will never know all that went through my mother’s heart and mind on that black night as she searched through a grim railroad station for her lost children. That she was terrified, I have no doubt. I am certain it crossed her mind that if she did not find this train, she might never see her children again. I know with certainty: her faith overcame her fear, and her hope overcame her despair. She was not a woman who would sit and bemoan tragedy. She moved. She put her faith and hopes into action.
And so she ran from track to track and from train to train until she finally found our train. It had been moved to a remote area of the station. There, at last, she found her children again.
Like President Uchtdorf’s mother, regardless of the trials that a person may face in life, he must continually put his faith and hope into action with the knowledge that the Savior will never leave or forsake him, and no matter what the outcome, everything will be alright. In the words of the Apostle Paul, a person should always be, “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Paul also taught the following as recorded in Romans 5:1-5:
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
A part of enduring mortal life includes having to face trials, difficulties, afflictions, and adversities. At times it may seem that the burdens of life are too much to bear and that all hope is gone. But, hope is not gone. The gospel of Jesus Christ allows a person to find peace, comfort, and hope in any circumstances. The Savior Himself has promised, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). A person might ask, “How can there be any peace and hope given the situation that I am in?” The answer to that question is that there can be peace and hope because His perfect love casts away all doubt and fears. (See 1 John 4:18).
From Christ we learn to be obedient, even when it is painful, as it was painful for Him in Gethsemane. We learn to serve others, even when it is inconvenient, as it certainly was “inconvenient” for Him on the cross of Golgotha. And we learn to trust in the love of God, even if we might feel God has forsaken us—for when we overcome through faith, these bitter and sorrowful moments in our lives can become like steps on Jacob’s ladder, leading us into the heavenly presence of God (see Gen. 28:12–13). (Elder Johann A. Wondra; “Finding Hope in Christ”; Ensign; December 2002.)
Real and lasting hope is rooted and centered in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world. He is the Great Shepherd, the Great Provider, the Rock of all ages, and the Sustainer of life at this moment, and the Hope of all tomorrows. He gives this blessed promise, “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee” (Book of Mormon (Another Testament of Jesus Christ), 3 Nephi 22:10.)