The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

By , on November 2, 2015

Discouragement, Hope, Maxwell

[T]rue hope focuses us on the great realities-“things as they really are”-and frees us from unneeded anxiety, but not from the necessity of patient endurance. When we are down and discouraged, the hope of Christ can lift us up lest we remain vulnerable overlong. The brisk pace of Church service also helps us focus talent and time outwardly rather than being left alone for long with our moods. Duties knocking at one’s door are like friends come to call not always convenient but usually gladdening in their effect. Our hope rests upon a dependable expectation. Let others, if they choose, define theological hope as a mere wish or an awaiting. Hope includes, in fact, these more passive ingredients. But it is so much more than wishful musing. It stiffens, not slackens, the spine. It is anticipation that turns into day-by-day determination. It is an eager and an enthusiastic expectation based upon a dependable and justifiable object of hope, the triumph of the resurrection-generating Lord Jesus Christ. It is this hope, and this hope alone, that permits us to “endure well” to the end-knowing that the end is but a glorious beginning! It is this same hope that is such a vital and helping virtue when we must “continue the journey” notwithstanding our weaknesses.

We are, therefore, grounded in the grand hope that the gospel provides. Our tactical hopes, however, are sometimes another matter. We may, for instance, hope to become a doctor or for a certain dating opportunity-outcomes that may not occur in spite of our best efforts. Our hopes of the latter kind, like our prayers, may or may not be granted. If they are not right for us, they may be withheld. If such hopes are subject to the agency of others, and so many are, they may not be realized. But our hopes for the things that really matter will not be blasted by men or circumstance.

If, however, we have this precise and basic hope, insofar as such strategic things as immortality and individuality are concerned, then the spirit of hopefulness will pervade our lives, giving to us a quality of life that is characterized by hopefulness. Real hope also gives us a tactical toughness that befits those who have ultimate hope. Job knew that “my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” (Job 19:25.) Job’s hopes did not focus on next year’s crops!

If we have this kind of ultimate hope, there is no room for proximate despair. If the big things that really matter are finally going to work out in eternity, then the little things that go wrong mortally are not cause for desperation but perhaps only for a little frustration and irritation.

Ultimate hope and daily grumpiness are clearly not reconcilable.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Notwithstanding My Weakness
Deseret Book Company, 1981

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