Viewpoint: Maintain “A Brightness of Hope”
Contributed By the Church News
- Be confident that all things will work together for your good.
- Increase hope by developing faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.
- Reach out and support those with lost or weakened hope.
“The exercise of hope enriches our lives and helps us look forward to the future. … It is imperative we, as Latter-day Saints, have hope.” —Elder Steven E. Snow of the Seventy
The fifth chapter of Luke offers a timeless testimony of the power of hope when anchored to faith in Jesus Christ.
The Savior’s reputation and renown, according to the gospel, had stretched near and far. His ministry prompted “fame abroad,” and massive crowds gathered “to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities” (Luke 5:15).
One day Jesus was teaching to an audience replete with Pharisees and lawyers “which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem.”
Counted among the many who wished to be with the Lord was a group of men carrying a bed that held a man—perhaps a relative or a beloved friend—who was “taken with a palsy.” The men believed in the Savior’s divine love and authority. They knew He could heal the suffering man, “and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.”
Unfortunately, the home where the Savior was ministering was filled beyond capacity. It’s easy to imagine a New Testament-era house with people occupying every inch of space in the abode. There was simply no room for the men to carry in their sick loved one. Their path to the Savior was troubled by many obstacles.
But they were undeterred. Fueled by equal parts faith and hope, they persevered.
“And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus” (Luke 5:19).
The Healer surely greeted this faithful disciple and his rooftop companions with joy and love.
His first words: “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.”
Jesus then cleansed him of his infirmities.
“I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.
“And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God” (Luke 5:24–25).
Faith and hope had preceded a miracle. A man who had been confined to a bed was made whole, physically and spiritually. His hope in the Lord was rewarded.
How often is our own path littered with obstacles, briers, distractions, and diversions? The path might be clouded and dark. Like the man with the palsy, we might even find ourselves dependent upon others for support.
Still, the Savior awaits. His love and healing touch are promised to all who take that leap—or, perhaps, weakened step—of faith. Our hope in the Lord will be rewarded.
Hope, the guide teaches, is “an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. … When you have hope, you work through trials and difficulties with the confidence and assurance that all things will work together for your good.”
The source of hope in God, added President James E. Faust, “is that we are sons and daughters of God and that His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, saved us from death” (“Hope, an Anchor of the Soul,” Oct. 1999 general conference).
Like any treasure or reward of great value, hope is a rarity. More than two decades ago, Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of an increasing and profound sense of “existential despair” in the world. A “grumpy cynicism,” he added, often pervades politics. “Holocausts, famine, pestilence, and tides of refugees have taken a terrible toll on human hope, with much of that toll coming from man-made, avoidable disasters.”
Does hope, asked Elder Maxwell, really matter—or is it merely an antique virtue?
“As societies trivialize traditional values, we witness a flow of immense suffering,” he said. “We anguish, for instance, over what happens to the unborn, who cannot vote, and to children at risk. We weep over children having children and children shooting children. Often secular remedies to these challenges are not based on spiritual principles. To borrow a metaphor—secular remedies resemble an alarmed passenger traveling on the wrong train who tries to compensate by running up the aisle in the opposite direction.
“Only the acceptance of the revelations of God can bring both direction and correction and, in turn, bring a ‘brightness of hope.’ Real hope does not automatically ‘spring eternal’ unless it is connected with eternal things” (“Brightness of Hope,” Oct. 1994 general conference).
The sick man who was healed by the Lord never surrendered to despair. He was sustained by his own “brightness of hope” and by his faith and by the support of loved ones. He followed Paul’s admonition “that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope” (1 Corinthians 9:10).
“The exercise of hope enriches our lives and helps us look forward to the future,” said Elder Steven E. Snow of the Seventy at the April 2011 general conference. “Whether we are plowing fields to plant or plowing through life, it is imperative we, as Latter-day Saints, have hope.
“In the gospel of Jesus Christ, hope is the desire of His followers to gain eternal salvation through the Atonement of the Savior.”
It is essential, he added, that all disciples of Christ exercise such Christ-anchored hope.
“Our hope in the Atonement empowers us with eternal perspective. Such perspective allows us to look beyond the here and now on into the promise of the eternities. We don’t have to be trapped in the narrow confines of society’s fickle expectations. We are free to look forward to celestial glory, sealed to our family and loved ones” (“Hope”).
The hope of the sick man from the book of Luke was strengthened by those who loved him and carried him. Elder Maxwell taught that all who are hopeful share their hope with others through action and example.
“Being blessed with hope, let us, as disciples, reach out to all who, for whatever reason, have ‘moved away from the hope of the gospel’ (Colossians 1:23).
“Let us reach to lift hands which hang hopelessly down.”