Ether 12b – A more excellent Hope

Moroni continues the weakness/strength lesson by saying God will show unto the Gentiles in the latter-days our weakness, “and I will show unto them that faith, hope, and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness.”

Faith, hope, and charity.

In the last post, we focused on faith. In this one, we’ll focus more on hope.

Moroni is comforted by God’s words and knows He works His will through men’s faith. Mahonri Moriancumr moved the mountain Zerin through faith in God. Christ showed Himself in His glory to His apostles AFTER they showed forth faith and spoke in His name.

Now Moroni delves deeper into Hope:

And I also remember that thou hast said that thou hast prepared a house for man, yea, even among the mansions of thy Father , in which man might have a more excellent hope; wherefore man must hope or he cannot receive an inheritance in the place which thou hast prepared.”

Ether 12:32

How can we obtain this “more excellent hope” of which Moroni wrote about? It sounds vital to our salvation.

In the past, I’ve taken hope for granted, not understanding its significance. Faith and charity made sense. But sometimes, hope seemed the same as faith. And they are interrelated. Here are some things I’ve learned about the power of hope in our lives.

Paul, when speaking to the Romans, told them that the scriptures help us have hope.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

Romans 15:4

But why is hope so important? How it is different from faith?

The apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a talk about hope that helped me appreciate it more.

Hope…is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear.”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, The Infinite Power of Hope, Ensign Nov 2008, 21-24

He went on to distinguish how hope is different, but connected, to faith.

Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is confidence that if we live according to God’s laws and the word of His prophets now, we will receive desired blessings in the future. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered.”

ibid, Uchtdorf

Hope seems to be crucial to faith.

Application:

Let’s say you’re having trouble with your family (extended or nuclear). Maybe some gossip and you don’t trust them with what’s important to you, which makes you feel lonely. Maybe there are some toxic behaviors, such as labeling, bullying, anger, pride, judging, or whatever, that keep you from wanting a close relationship with them. You don’t feel united, as God wants families to be.

This is where hope can help lead to greater faith. If we write down or try to visualize specifically what we wish our family could be like (more united, more kind, more empathetic, more understanding), then that becomes a hope we hold onto in our heart.

For me, when I visualized my hope, I began working on me to help achieve that hope. And WE are where change must start. It might not come about in a weekend. It might take years or the rest of your life for that hope to be realized, but that hope of a united, loving family can help you not give up when things get bad, to forgive when family hurts you, and to pick yourself up and keep moving forward, trusting that your hope will come true if you keep doing your part to make it so.

When we hope for a brighter eternity, because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that helps us make better choices today. It helps focus our faith in Him, and love others because we realize that is how we do His will.

No matter how bleak the chapter of our lives may look today, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we may hope and be assured that the ending of the book of our lives will exceed our grandest expectations. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)”

ibid, Uchtdorf

Elder Uchtdorf went on to say that “Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness.” Who doesn’t want that?

From Preach My Gospel (p 117), I learned that hope is a deep trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to us. Hope manifests in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. “It is believing and expecting that something will occur. When you have hope, you work through trials and difficulties with the confidence and assurance that all things will work together for your good. Hope helps you conquer discouragement.”

Elder Uchtdorf explains it further.

The things we hope IN sustain us during our daily walk. They uphold us through trials, temptations, and sorrow…We hope IN Jesus Christ, IN the goodness of God, IN the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, IN the knowledge that prayers are heard and answered. Because God has been faithful and kept His promises in the past, we can hope with confidence that God will keep His promises to us in the present and in the future.”

ibid, Uchtdorf

Moroni wrote that faith, hope, and charity are all needed. Elder Uchtdorf showed how this works:

Faith, hope, and charity complement each other, and as one increases, the others grow as well

Hope is critical to both faith and charity. When disobedience, disappointment, and procrastination erode faith, hope is there to uphold our faith. When frustration and impatience challenge charity, hope braces our resolve and urges us to care for our fellowmen even without expectation of reward. The brighter our hope, the greater our faith. The stronger our hope, the purer our charity.

The things we hope FOR lead us to faith, while the things we hope IN lead us to charity. The three qualities—faith, hope, and charity—working together, grounded on the truth and light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, lead us to abound in good works.”

ibid, Uchtdorf

Moroni writes that Christ’s atonement—laying down His life for mankind—is “charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father.” (34)

How can I gain greater charity?

Can I visualize a hope of what I’d look like or do if I was filled with charity, and then work to fulfill that hope with faith in Jesus Christ to help it become reality?

Moroni prayed that God would give us charity to receive the Book of Mormon in our day. If we don’t, God will take our blessings from us and give them to a more humble, charitable people.

God comforts Moroni by saying he has done His will and our choices won’t be his fault. His garments are clean before God.

…because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.”

Ether 12:37

Repentance is part of having hope. When we hope to become pure like our Father in Heaven, we repent so that Christ can cleanse us and change us. This is how our weakness is made strong, in Him.

Moroni bids us farewell, saying he will see us before the judgment bar of God and we will know that he has seen Jesus “and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things.” (39)

Though Moroni was hunted and alone, the entirety of his people destroyed by his enemy, God blessed him abundantly. His hope was rewarded.

And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen.”

Ether 12:41

Let us anchor our lives in faith in Jesus Christ, and use the power of hope to get us through hard times. Let us seek for the gift of charity to balance everything out and seek this Jesus of whom Moroni spoke about.

Hope is one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time.”

ibid, Uchtdorf

 ~~~

Resources:

Come Follow Me manual – Book of Mormon 2020

Dieter F. Uchtdorf – The Infinite Power of Hope, Ensign Nov 2008, 21-24

Get a FREE copy of the Book of Mormon to study and gain your own hope.

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