The hope of the righteous shall be gladness.Proverbs 10:28
Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I suffered chronic inner ear infections. These infections caused a number of symptoms, the most annoying of which was vertigo Everywhere I went, I felt like I was in a villain’s lair in the old Batman television series, with everything at a slant. It was miserable going through the day with such feelings of instability. Picking a direction for your day isn’t easy when the world keeps moving.
I have no idea how people handled it in the 60s.
Today, the world leaves me no less unsettled. Our health, security, and moral centering are under siege on a multitude of fronts. Even though as Latter-day Saints we anticipate such times, once we are deep in the mists of darkness, it is hard not to despair. And despair is the arch-enemy of hope.
In 2008, President Uchtdorf referred to hope as one leg of a three-legged stool that, along with faith and charity, “stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time.” But what are we supposed to hope for?
Certainly we have hope in the Atonement of Christ, that through Him resurrection and eternal life can be obtained. We hope that the Plan of Salvation made allowances for the things we see around us and won’t be upended by opposition. We hope that we will someday enjoy peace and serenity.
But hope needs to be more than a “then and there” thing. Hope is a “here and now” principal that can have a stabilizing effect as we stand on shifting ground. If our only hope is after this life, we are unlikely to find much joy, as “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.” The invisible, even if inevitable, sometimes isn’t enough.
So what can we hope for here and now?
We can hope that the Lord will strengthen our hearts and insulate us from despair.
We can hope that circumstances will change, and that every night will be dispelled by the light of day.
We can hope that people’s hearts can change, and that through good choices and the grace of God, people–even ourselves–can be transformed into something better.
We can hope that love will prove stronger than hate. Faith stronger than fear. Right more powerful than wrong.
We can hope for all of these things, because they are part of the promised blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Atonement of Christ is about transformation, from life to death, from sin to salvation. It promises that circumstances and people can change, and that our Heavenly Father’s Plan is perfect and will win out in the end.
This is why we are charged to carry the gospel to the world and model gospel principles to those around us. Only the gospel of Christ is able to deliver on all its promises and give us hope both here and hereafter.
It is the only way any of us find firm footing when others’ hearts fail them. We know today is a challenge, and we hope for better times to come. And we look forward to those better days with eyes of faith and trusting hearts.
Hope . . . is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear.Dieter F. Uchtdorf