Soon after the search party led by Ammon arrived in the land of Lehi-Nephi, King Limhi understood the significance of the event. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to free themselves from captivity, his people had a renewed reason to be hopeful (Mosiah 7:1-15).
As he gathered his people to share the good news, Limhi encouraged them to feel joy and to be comforted because of the prospect of deliverance. He didn’t tell them that they would soon be able to rejoice; he told them to rejoice now because they would soon be free. He wanted them to feel joy immediately because of their faith in God, even though they were still captive. This is what he said:
O ye, my people, lift up your heads and be comforted; for behold, the time is at hand, or is not far distant, when we shall no longer be in subjection to our enemies, notwithstanding our many strugglings, which have been in vain; yet I trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made.
Therefore, lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust in God….
When we have hope, we can feel joy today because of the prospect of a better tomorrow. Our assurance that things will improve is so strong that we can overcome our fears and our sorrows.
When Moses instructed the children of Israel how to avoid the final plague in Egypt, he also taught them how they should celebrate the event in the future. “This day shall be unto you for a memorial” he said; “and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever” (Exodus 12:14). He described the importance of commemorating this event:
When ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised…ye shall keep this service.
And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
What’s remarkable about these instructions is that nothing had happened yet. The event which they were supposed to commemorate was still in the future. They were still slaves. They had not arrived in the promised land. Everything Moses was instructing them to do was based on a deliverance that was yet to come. He was speaking with the voice of hope.
A few weeks ago, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave some instructions to us about life after the coronavirus pandemic. Like Limhi and Moses, Elder Holland spoke of the future with certainty:
Even as we speak, we are waging an “all hands on deck” war with COVID-19, a solemn reminder that a virus 1,000 times smaller than a grain of sand can bring entire populations and global economies to their knees. We pray for those who have lost loved ones in this modern plague, as well as for those who are currently infected or at risk. We certainly pray for those who are giving such magnificent health care. When we have conquered this—and we will—may we be equally committed to freeing the world from the virus of hunger, freeing neighborhoods and nations from the virus of poverty. May we hope for schools where students are taught—not terrified they will be shot—and for the gift of personal dignity for every child of God, unmarred by any form of racial, ethnic, or religious prejudice.
(“A Perfect Brightness of Hope,” General Conference, April 2020)
Today, I speak with the voice of hope. Following the examples of Limhi, Moses, and Elder Holland, I will speak of the future with optimism and with trust in God. I will overcome discouragement and anxiety by visualizing deliverance from the challenges I face, and I will act in faith because I trust that the Lord will deliver me.