June 16, 2009

Hope, a Principle of Power



Recently I have thought a lot about the principle of hope. Much of this is because I have realized how much I need hope in my own life. I must first say that I have often thought of hope as one of the lesser attributes of godliness. After all, generally when we teach of hope we teach that we need it at those times of despair, pain, suffering, and loss. We teach of how one needed hope when a spouse died, or when a job was lost, or when a family member was diagnosed with a terminal illness. When was the last time you heard the word hope characterized as an attribute of strength or power (at least power in oneself)? I invite you to think of one time when you heard in a testimony someone stand and say “when my wife and I finally were able to have our first child and we were both so incredibly happy, we realized that we needed more hope in our lives.” Or how about this one: “because everything is going right in my life, I need to increase my level of hope.” This is not to say that you could not hear these statements, but for the most part when we teach of hope we teach of needing it at a time of despair and discouragement, at a time when all seemed to be lost.

Yet, this just never made sense to me. Part of this could be because I think too much and just can’t say “yes I need hope,” I have to say “what is hope, why do I need it, why is it a part of the gospel?” Until I can answer these questions, I often struggle to make this principle a part of the gospel and thus a part of my life.

Today I was reading in Preach My Gospel where it discusses the principle of hope. It states: “Hope is an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. It is believing and expecting that something will occur.” (page 117) As I read this passage I had to stop and read it again to realize what I had just read. Hope is “confidence, optimism, [and] enthusiasm.” I literally sat back and thought, “wow, that is a first.” Then I understood. Why does God want us to have hope? Is it just so we can get through trials and tribulations? No. We have hope because God has hope, or because God is confident, optimistic, and enthusiastic. Hope is not a sign of despair, but a sign of power. You do not just have hope just because you are sad or lonely, you have hope because God has hope. When God stated “let there be light” He hoped that it would happen with such a hope that He was completely and totally confident that it would. And what happened? Light burst forth and filled the endless galaxies.

Thus, when we are commanded to have hope (and I might add faith) we are being commanded to be completely and totally confident in ourselves. To have a perfect hope of things that are to come. A hope that is so sure that you never doubt, you never fear, you never waver. A hope that no matter what will happen, you know that you can overcome all things. This is what God has. He has created a beautiful world, only to be peopled by men who are so hard that they will never turn to Him; a world so full of wickedness that we as humans are often full of despair. Yet, God does not despair, in fact He is so confident that things will work out that He has inspired books such as the book of Revelation that teach of nothing except the glorious triumph of the Lord in the end. He does not just say He will win, He states that He will win and all things will be made right. All power will reside in Him. All things will be subdued by His power and will. Why? Because He has a perfect hope for things yet to come.

However, we are not at this level of hope yet, nor will we be able to in this life. So how do we gain this hope? After all we are mortal and weak and often falter and fall. Well, the answer is quite simple, if we can’t have a perfect hope in ourselves (as God has), then we must have hope in something, or in this case, Someone. Christ came to this earth to teach us that we can have a perfect hope. He showed forth so much power and might in overcoming sin, death, illness, misery, helplessness, doubt, sadness and despair that we now can put our complete and total hope in Him. Again, because we cannot have a perfect hope in ourselves, we must place our hope in something if we want to become like God. If we want to have the confidence, optimism, and enthusiasm that He has, we must learn to hope, and because we are in a fallen state we cannot have a perfect hope. Thus the Plan of God does not just provide hope in the Savior and in His power because it helps us at times of trial, His Plan gives us hope so that we can become like Him. It gives us hope that one day we can have the same power that God and the Savior have. It gives us hope that someday we can see what may seem to be like the very jaws of hell opening up, and yet we will have hope and confidence that we will overcome.

What is hope? Hope is a power that is mightier than anything we know. Hope is the very power that created this earth and universe. Hope is the very attribute Christ had when praying in a garden and when seeing the myriads of lost and fallen souls pass before His mind, He did not have feelings of doubt or despair, but instead a perfect hope that the pain He was about to suffer would work. A hope that His life would not be lived and died in vain. A hope that in overcoming all things, He would be able to give us that same hope so that through His hope, we too might overcome all things because of hope.

2 comments:

  1. This. Is. Beautiful.
    I almost started crying at my desk. Wow.
    Thank you so much. What a beautiful principle.

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  2. I have to agree with Amy. You explained hope in a way I never thought of it before, and you did it with such expressive words they touched me deep inside. Thank you for sharing your beautiful insights and testimony. Hope you don't mind that I quoted you on my facebook status. ;)

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