Hope: A Beacon and Light

Reading: “The Infinite Power of Hope,” Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, October 2008 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

When we are in the midst of trials, it is sometimes tempting to believe that things will never get better.  We may feel that we are under a great storm and the storm will be the end of us.  The thing that can get us through these storms is hope.  When we do not give into the belief that things will get worse, we do so because we have hope.

Elder Uchtdorf’s talk is very encouraging.  He tells of a time in his own life when he went through some serious trials.  He also teaches the importance of hope in a gospel-centered life.

Sometimes when I read about having hope, and I am feeling particuarly stressed or down, I end up feeling guilty.  I get the idea that I do not have hope because I am feeling bad, so I must be doing something wrong.  However, today, I realized this is not the case.  Hope does not mean not having trials, it means having trials but still choosing to act on the principles of the gospel with hope that they will lead me to greater happiness.  A lack of hope would mean I give up on living the gopsel when I feel discouraged, having hope means I keep going in doing what’s right even when I do feel discouraged.

I also identified with Elder Uchtdorf’s comment at the end of his talk:

Each time a hope is fulfilled, it creates confidence and leads to greater hope. I can think of many instances in my life where I learned firsthand the power of hope. I well remember the days in my childhood encompassed by the horrors and despair of a world war, the lack of educational opportunities, life-threatening health issues during youth, and the challenging and discouraging economic experiences as a refugee. The example of our mother, even in the worst of times, to move forward and put faith and hope into action, not just worrying or wishful thinking, sustained our family and me and gave confidence that present circumstances would give way to future blessings.

I know from these experiences that it is the gospel of Jesus Christ and our membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that strengthen faith, offer a bright hope, and lead us to charity.

I also have had many times in my life where things seemed pretty bleak, sometimes because of relationships. sometimes because of my health.  Because I made it through those times it is much easier for me now to have hope in the gospel.

Today when I feel discouraged I am going to think back on other times in my life when it seemed that I would never overcome a particular trial, and remember how I either overcame it or it ceased to be such a big deal.

What does “hope” mean to you?

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