In 1 Nephi 19:24 we read, “Hear ye the words of the prophet, which were written unto all the house of Israel , and liken them unto yourselves, that ye may have hope.” (emphasis added) With April conference just around the corner, this scripture resonates. Both words spoken to us by modern prophets and those written by ancient prophets can give us hope.
World conditions are downright scary. We need hope! We need an anchor to our souls, heaven-sent words to hang onto and trust. The basis of our hope must be in Christ.
Lehi’s discourse to his son Jacob included some of the best reasons to hope in the Savior and his redeeming power, such as “Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth” (2 Nephi 2:6).
Then Lehi said, “ Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 8, emphasis added).
The first weekend in April we will be blessed with another general conference of the Church as our leaders carry forth their responsibility to take this great message of redemption unto the inhabitants of the earth. I wonder if Lehi, prophet that he was, foresaw our day—the satellite broadcasts that take the words of modern-day prophets instantly to the ends of the earth, the Internet that takes not only the written transcript of those words, but now the replays of the Brethren delivering the words of the Lord. I am awed by our singular opportunity in this day and this time to have at our fingertips the words of inspired men testifying of Christ, calling us to repentance, inspiring our minds and comforting our hearts.
As the news reports get worse and the fulfillment of last-day’s prophecies are evident in the calamities filling the earth, where can we turn for peace? Where is our hope? Only in Christ and his disciples. Only in His words and His light and love.
I can’t begin to express my gratitude for these sources of hope. Several times, in great spiritual need, I’ve opened my laptop, clicked (in turn on Safari, LDS.org, Gospel Library, General Conference, English, Saturday Morning ) and scrolled to Pres. Dieter Uchtdorf’s discourse on hope. With six clicks in so many seconds I can choose to bask in the spirit of a true disciple of Christ. I can see the radiance of his countenance, hear the inflection of his voice, feel the power of his words, and be comforted and encouraged all over again. There is always hope when our minds are stayed on Jesus Christ and his promises. There is always hope when we choose to fix our eyes on His servants and heed the inspiration of their words.
I have pondered and listened to Pres. Monson’s talk “Enjoy the Journey,” being pulled out of my over-seriousness, over- conscientiousness, and even depressing thoughts by his kind counsel.
It is notable that with all the heavy concerns that weigh down upon us with the darkening clouds of world chaos, our prophet would choose that topic.
I felt that President Monson gave me personal permission to enjoy uplifting entertainment when he mentioned that his wife calls him a “showaholic” because he enjoys many musicals. He quoted from one of favorites, The Music Man. If President Monson, with all his weighty responsibilities, takes time to be refreshed by wholesome recreation, then it is a good idea for all of us.
Why is the prophet telling us to enjoy the journey when so much we have previously enjoyed is being taken away or at least threatened?
We can be so comforted with his focus on blessings even in times like these. President Monson counseled us not to focus on what we lack, but on what we have. Surely the Lord wants us to recognize His hand in all things, to trust Him, to lean on Him, to be grateful for every blessing He is so obviously pouring out upon those who love and honor Him and seek to do His will.
Ours is not a religion of grim conformance and tight jaws, of over-seriousness and over-concern. Enjoying the journey and moving ahead with hope means having faith in the final outcome, trusting in our knowledge that good will triumph, that the Savior will reign in His glory on the earth. All that must transpire before will be eclipsed by those happy truths.
The Scriptures Are Full of Words of Hope
Checking out the scriptures about hope paints a clear perspective that our hope must rest in God and Christ. Psalm 38:15 reads, “In thee, O Lord, do I hope.” Jeremiah 17:7 says, “Blessed is the man whose hope is the Lord.” In Joel 3:16 we find, “The Lord will be the hope of his people.” 1 Peter 1:21, “That your faith and hope might be in God.” 1 Tim 1:1 says, “Christ, which is our hope.”
Romans 15:13 reminds us of the power that bring us hope: “Abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.” In Colossians 1:23 we are counseled to “be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.”
Moroni clarifies the whole hope issue when he tells us, “And 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.” And Hebrews 6:19 gives us the following assurance about this kind of hope, “Which hope we have as an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast.”
President George Q. Cannon put present and future adversity into perspective when he said:
“No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, [God] will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character [to do so]. He is an unchangeable being; the same yesterday, the same today, and He will be the same throughout the eternal ages to come. We have found that God. We have made Him our friend, by obeying His Gospel; and He will stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them, if we only trust in our God and keep His commandments.” 1
We can find great hope in such words of our inspired leaders, past and present. In April conference we will find great hope in the counsel of the leaders God has chosen to guide us in this time, under these circumstances, right now today. It is my prayer that we will listen with the Spirit, with an open heart, and with a determination to implement their words into our lives.
1 George Q. Cannon, “Freedom of the Saints,” Collected Discourses, vol. 2:185.