Hope is an expectation of a positive outcome. When we have hope, we believe that good things will come. Hope empowers us to persevere when we encounter obstacles and to avoid discouragement.
In daily conversation, the word “hope” often conveys substantial uncertainty. “I sure hope that happens” often means “I doubt it will happen, but it would sure be nice.” But in the scriptures, hope is tied to a much stronger sense of certainty.
- Nephi encourages us to “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope” (2 Nephi 31:20).
- Jacob speaks of obtaining a hope which caused his faith to become “unshaken” (Jacob 4:6). He did this by studying the scriptures and receiving personal revelation.
- After a terrible battle, we read that the survivors “truly for the loss of their kindred, yet they rejoice and exult in the hope, and even know, according to the of the Lord, that they are raised to dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending
Hope and faith are symbiotic: When you increase your faith, you simultaneously increase your hope (Moroni 7:40-42, Moroni 10:20-21). In fact, both Alma and Moroni define faith using the word hope: to have faith is to hope for things which aren’t seen but which are true (Alma 32:21, Ether 12:6).
Satan tries to attack our hope by arguing that it has no reliable basis. “O ye that are bound down under a foolish and a vain hope, why do ye yoke yourselves with such foolish things?” (Alma 30:13). But Alma reminded the people of Zarahemla that the hope of their fathers was not baseless: “What grounds had they to hope for salvation?” he asked (Alma 5:10). And then he explained that their fathers had exercised faith in God, and that their hearts had been changed. Because of that experience, they knew that God’s promises were reliable.
Moroni tells us that the opposite of hope is despair, “and despair cometh because of iniquity” (Moroni 10:22). Therefore, a key to overcoming hopelessness is repentance:
If thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest (Alma 22:16).
Hope empowers us to hold steady in the face of challenges and uncertainty. It is an anchor to our souls (Ether 12:4).
Today, I will strive to increase my level of hope by repenting of my sins, seeking revelation, and exercising faith. I will overcome attacks on my hope by remembering prior experiences in which God has blessed me and has changed my heart.