Hope is an interesting word that is sometimes misunderstood and often misused. In everyday usage, we often hear “hope” used in uncertainty, such as “I hope that Grandma comes to visit this summer.” Used in this way, hope is more like wishing for something. To hope is more than simply to make a wish as the following scriptures illustrate.
But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions (Alma 34:41).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).
Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abound in good works, being led to glorify God (Ether 12:4)
These references tell us that hope is more than a wish. It is a firm, sure, and unwavering trust that we will gain a place in the kingdom of God. Hope is connected to faith and charity. As our faith increases, so does our hope, and as our hope increases, so does our charity. We must first learn about God and have faith in Him. As our faith increases, we began to hope that our faith is not in vain.
When we have hope, we trust God’s promises. We have a quiet assurance that if we do “the works of righteousness,” we “shall receive [our] reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world (Doctrine and Covenants 59:23). Mormon taught that such hope comes only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ: “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, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise” (Moroni 7:41). (See True to the Faith, A Gospel Reference (p. 85).
Anthony Sweat spoke about faith, hope, and charity at a recent Time Out for Women (TOFW) event held in Anchorage, Alaska. He said that “hope” is the big sister of “faith” and is centered in the promises of Jesus Christ. Hope has several powers: (1) Cleansing power, (2) Healing power, (3) Restoring power, (4) Identifying power, (5) Strengthening power, and (6) Transforming power. He emphasized that the first letter of each of these powers spells CHRIST. The gift of hope is our personal assurances of Christ’s promises in our lives.
The opposite of faith is fear, and the opposite of hope is doubt. In order to exercise faith and develop hope, we must put our trust in the Savior, even Jesus Christ. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at Brigham Young University in 1995 and said the following.
A more excellent hope is mightier than a wistful wish. Hope, fortified by faith and charity, forges a force as strong as steel. Hope becomes an anchor to the soul. To this anchor, the faithful can cling, securely tethered to the Lord. Satan, on the other hand, would have us cast away that anchor and drift with the ebb tide of despair. If we will cling to the anchor of hope, it will be our safeguard forever. As declared in scripture: “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast.” [Ether 12:4]
The Lord of hope invites all people to come unto him. Steps toward him begin with faith, repentance, and baptism. Mormon explained that “the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and … the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, … until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.” [Moroni 8:26] That destiny can only be realized when we “have faith unto repentance.” [Alma 34:15]
Insufficient hope often means insufficient repentance….
In order to avoid doubt and despair, we must place our hope in Jesus Christ. As we do so, we will be filled with joy and peace. As we gain security in our hope, we then have charity or the ability to love others as God loves them.