In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul taught, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (I Cor. 13:13 KJV)”
Although Paul didn’t identify it as the “greatest,” hope is an important principle of the gospel. Right now in the world, we struggle with so many issues. Normal routines have been totally disrupted by COVID-19. So many things we took for granted, we don’t take for granted anymore.
Parents have struggled to work from home while also supervising school from home. It has not been easy.
The pandemic has also brought financial challenges for many people. Jobs have changed or have gone away. The work landscape has changed.
On other fronts, we deal with issues around racism and disadvantage. There has been a greater awareness of human trafficking and exploitation of children. Everywhere we look we see problems and challenges. We do not see any easy solutions.
In the midst of all these issues, it is easy to become discouraged, even depressed. The prophet Jeremiah lived during troubled times. Because of their supposed wickedness, the Jews were going to be conquered. Jeremiah knew that. There would be much death and destruction. Jeremiah wrote, “Is there no balm in Gilead?” (Jer. 8:22 KJV) Is there no healing to be found?
Yes, there is a balm in Gilead. Jesus taught His disciples, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 KJV)
How can we find peace and hope for our hearts? We can begin by remembering that this life is just a small but significant part of our existence.
Before this life, we lived as spirit children of a Heavenly Father who loved and taught us. We were prepared as much as possible for the experiences that awaited us in this life.
After this life, our spirits will continue to live, just without the physical body for a time. However, there will come a day after this life when our spirits will be reunited with our bodies, perfect and immortal. We call this the resurrection.
Paul wrote, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead.” (1 Cor. 15:19-20 KJV) Jesus was the first to be resurrected. Through His atonement, all of us will be resurrected. Jesus Christ overcame death.
Jesus paid the price for our sins through His suffering in Gethsemane and His death on Calvary. Through repentance, His atonement becomes effective for us and we can receive the peace of forgiveness. We can be relieved of the burden of sin and have a brighter hope for our future. Jesus overcame sin.
Sometimes taking the longer perspective allows us to better deal with the trials of each day. Whatever our situation in life, we know it won’t last forever. We can have hope for the future. Perhaps that can help us face our challenges with cheerfulness.
The Book of Mormon prophet Nephi encouraged us to “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.” (1 Nephi 31:20) He combined the principles of faith, hope and charity in his encouragement.
God has a plan. He knows the beginning from the end. This life is a test of our faith and trust in Him. In all circumstances we can receive comfort from the ministration of the Holy Ghost, who strengthens us and provides us with hope. Let us have a perfect brightness of hope in Jesus Christ.
Dennis Rehm is a member of the Carlisle Ward congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Find more information at ComeUntoChrist.org.
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