Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Reasons For Hope

I started this blog over a year ago as a place to record thoughts, feelings, and ideas. I have titled it "A Reason For Hope," which reflects Peter's directive, ""Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15). Though I cannot claim to fully live up to Peter's urging of constant readiness, the reflection that comes from frequent writing has given me an opportunity to consider more and more reasons of the hope that is in me. Allow me to share with you a few of my reasons for hope.

I find hope in the knowledge that my Heavenly Father loves me enough to give His Only Begotten Son as my Savior. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

I find hope in the empathy that Christ has for my infirmities, and in His willingness to succor me in my weaknesses. I find hope in His grace in my time of great need. "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16).

I find hope in the resurrection of Christ, in His victory over death and Hell, and in the knowledge that gives me that I too can have part in a glorious resurrection. "For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins....If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of allmen most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept...For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:16-22).

I find hope in the dawning of each new day, for "all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator" (Alma 30:44).

I find hope in the quiet moments when I feel the whisperings of the Spirit, for I know that the Lord speak in a quiet voice, and that His voice can be heard clearly above the noise of the world, as in the case of Elijah, when "the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice" (1 Kings 19:11-12).

I find hope in trials, because in the midst of trials I know the constancy of the Lord's presence. For "we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience, And patience, experience; and experience, hope. And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts" (Romans 5:1-5).

I find hope in the love of dear friends and family, for I know that through the ordinances of the gospel, I can be with them forever in the presence of my Heavenly Father, for "that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy" (Doctrine & Covenants 130:2).

I find hope in the kindness of strangers—the woman who helped me buy challah in the market when I struggled with the language, and the man on the street who offered me Sabbath candles because I had none. They let me know that the love of men has not yet waxed cold (Matthew 24:12), that despite the fallenness of man, a few sparks of the divine still remain.

I find hope in the lives of loved ones I have lost. They give me a goal to reach for, a destination to watch for, a spirit to strive for. I long for a joyous reunion with them, and have hope because I know that death is not the end of life. "O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit" (2 Nephi 9:10).

Because of the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ, I can have the hope that Mormon spoke of, when he urged his people to have hope in Christ: "And what is it that ye shall hope for?" he asked. "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).

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of hope. Because of His love, I can be freed from despair, doubt, and fear. Jesus Christ is my reason for hope.

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