The thirteen articles of Faith, the thirteen pillars of our Gospel that we boldly and unapologetically profess to all nations, are the foundations of Faith, beliefs and hopes of our one and true religion. It is undeniable that our Heavenly Father’s Hope and Glory are to bring to pass the Immortality and Eternal Life to all His children.
A common word, “Hope,” is used by many cultures yet misappropriated, misused and unknowingly denying its inherent power that frees all humanity from needless struggles. It is the foremost attribute one must be in possession of to exercise Faith. Our Savior’s sermons often included hope, Faith and finally, miracles. Our modern-day prophet President Nelson reminded us to pray and ask for miracles. Yet, miracles are only possible if one has Hope and exercises the required amount of Faith.
To most, Hope is given as a gift, a desire that comes from the depth of our hearts that propels us toward a positive outcome against all odds. When all is lost, and the trials of this life become insurmountable, “Hope” as a precious gift shines like a beam of sunlight through a hole in a dark place, leaving no doubt that respite is at hand.
“And I also remember that thou hast said that thou hast prepared a house for man, yea, even among the mansions of thy Father, in which man might have a more excellent hope; wherefore man must hope, or he cannot receive an inheritance in the place which thou hast prepared.” - Ether 12:32
Yet, to others, Hope comes as a call of duty, an unwavering march to an outcome unscripted by human hands. Such was the Hope of young Joseph. Joseph’s Hope was not surrendered when overcome by the fiendish powers of hell nor when tarred and feathered by the mob and left for dead. Neither was it lost in the face of total desperation, diseases, and death in his poor, struggling family nor by the threats of death by a crazed mob firing guns at will, with bullets flying around him. Joseph’s Hope for the eternal destiny of all men was so strong that he gave up the only thing he had left, or he owned his life.
Hope is not a word to wish away our ills. It is not a feeble attempt to feel all is well when we ourselves are unconvinced of the outcome. With His magnificent power, God created the heavens and earth, the unparallel beauty of the earth and the unmatched power of the sun. When He created human beings, He hoped for their glorious return to live with Him for Eternity. His plan was crafted, agreed upon and set in motion by nobles and heavenly beings where we ourselves raised our hand to the square in agreement. The plan of Hope was so great and man’s choice so crucial that our loving Heavenly Father made His only begotten Son’s sacrifice the linchpin for success.
As a lonely lighthouse stands as a sentinel to ward off the ever-vigilant sailor from the perilous reefs to a safe harbor, so should our Faith and Hope advance us past the rocky shores of uncertainty and doubt. Hope is a gift so fragile that a fleeting sense of doubt can be the difference between the highest Glory and those of kingdoms below.
“All these had departed the mortal life, firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection, through the grace of God the Father and his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.” - Doctrine and Covenants 138: 14
I, too, had such hopes. While growing up in the tiny remote islands of Fiji, I often hoped for a chance to see the world, to be successful, to make my mark, and to be someone. When it did happen, I was too busy to notice. Somehow the joy was not there.
I did not grasp the totality of these blessings until we were called as full-time servants of our beloved Savior. We hear it over the pulpits and in humble sermons, yet it eludes our understanding. Then as you let go of all the worldly cares and say to the Lord. Yes, I will go, your eyes open, and you see all that was always there covered by the dust of wants and needs.
The true joy of the Lord is in serving. The Lord has blessed us with many opportunities to exercise Faith and “Hope” for miracles that lead to Eternal Life. Hope comes through our Savior, even Jesus Christ.