My beloved sisters, I wish to speak of hope today. I can think of many instances in my life where I learned firsthand the power of hope. I know that many of you have lost hope because of what has been done to you since you were little and for many of us, abuse continued into the later years of our lives. I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to include brothers here as well, for there are many who have suffered as we did.
I remember the days in my youth and early childhood encompassed by the horrors and despair of a family where I was not wanted and treated poorly. The lack of educational opportunities because I was a female child and had to work so I would not be sold to those whom I had been trained to please. Life-threatening health issues during my early youth because of those who did not want me to survive. As I grew older, each time I tried to get an education, my way was blocked by evil. It seemed each time I found happiness, there was evil to twist and turn my life into a nightmare. I was filled with despair.
After joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints, I learned that it is knowledge of who I really am, and that Jesus Christ died for me personally, that I began to have hope for something better. Until I learned who God really is, I had no hope. Lucifer used the tools of “Despair” to discourage me. I know that many of you face this same type of despair.
As I read or listen to the prophets of God speak to us about truth, I have found hope. They say these truths much better than I do, so I share with you what prophets have said:
“Blessed is the man (or woman) that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” (Jeremiah 17:7)
“The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” (Joel 3:16)
“Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men (and women). Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” (2 Nephi 31:20)
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons (and daughters) of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
“Beloved, now are we the sons (and daughters) of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
“And every man (and woman) that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself (or herself), even as He is pure.” (1 John 3:1-3)
In more recent times (2008), we have these words, spoken by our dear living Apostle of Jesus Christ and Second Counselor of the First Presidency in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-saints, even Dieter F Uchtdorf:
“Hope sustains us through despair. Hope teaches that there is reason to rejoice even when all seems dark around us.”
“The Lord has given us a reassuring message of hope: “Fear not, little flock.” (D&C 6:34) God will wait with “open arms to receive” (See Mormon 6:17) those who give away their sins and continue in faith, hope, and charity.”
““And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.”
“Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.”
“Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.”
We are all brothers and sister in the family of God. Yes, even those who abused you. God loves each and every one of us. Jesus Christ died for each of us individually. They want us to be happy. They want us to have all they have, and that is a truth that Lucifer does not want you to know. Satan wants you to believe that he is more powerful than he really is. He may win a few battles, but he is going to lose the war. In fact, he has already lost, and that is why he is running amuck in the world right now. He is a child having a temper tantrum. I wish a squirt of cold water could end his tantrum, don’t you? And yes, we all make mistakes.
When we listen to the words of those who came before us, and see how others pulled through and repented, and then look up towards God, we can know for ourselves that this life is only a short time (no matter how many years you live) and that eternity is much longer. This time of testing we are going through is not going to last forever. But eternity does last forever.
Hugs from a distance. Your sister with Jesus Christ.