That They Might Have Joy

If you can have hope for the future, then you can have joy today.

When Lehi taught his son Jacob that men (and women) “are that they might have joy,” he wasn’t talking about an easy life, free from adversity. There must be “opposition in all things,” he said. Jacob himself had endured significant trials, but Lehi reminded him, “Thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain” (2 Nephi 2:2, 11, 25).

In 1831, the Lord reminded members of the church that difficult days were ahead: wars and rumors of wars, a desolating sickness, and natural disasters. But He gave the same advice He had given to His disciples anciently: “Be not troubled.” All of these events are signs that His coming is near. During this time of difficulty, “The righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy” (Doctrine and Covenants 45:35, 71).

President Russell M. Nelson has reminded us that we “can be happy under every circumstance. We can feel joy even while having a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year!” He gave several examples of individuals who were experiencing trials but were filled with joy because of their hope for the future: a man who was repenting from a serious sin, a young woman who was being mocked for doing what was right, a man who was learning to control his temper so that he could enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost more regularly. In every case, their joy was a function of their vision of better times ahead, not a reaction to their current circumstances. President Nelson asked the following question:

If we focus on the joy that will come to us, or to those we love, what can we endure that presently seems overwhelming, painful, scary, unfair, or simply impossible?

Joy and Spiritual Survival,” General Conference, October 2016

Today, I will be joyful because of my hope for the future. I will face challenges with faith, knowing that God can help me overcome every roadblock and receive every blessing.

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