There’s an article in June 2009 Ensign entitled “Hope: The Misunderstood Sister”, and it mentions how hope is not wishful thinking (which is how most people use it). Rather, Hope is an expectation of results which comes from recognizing the results of things we’ve experienced before. When we experience trials over and over again, and our response to those trials are either the same or better than before, there are results we can expect…positive or otherwise. Hope, during our trials, is knowing what to expect before those results even happen…and you can remain anchored and centered because of that hope, because you know what to expect already!
I mention this because, time and time again, when I’m in a pickle…whether by my own doing or not…I know I can get help from the Lord as long as I recognize where I’ve done wrong, I’m repentant of my wrongdoings, patient in my weaknesses, and persistent in my efforts to work things out on my end…while waiting for the Lord to do His part. And eventually, He does, time and time again. At least, He does for me. And I know I’m not the only one who can avail of that assistance (immediate or delayed) from Him… anyone can.
Our nation’s situation is looking dire by the minute…not just economically or politically…but also in the physical safety of our nation and the principles this nation has been founded upon. I see this from many people concerned with the welfare of this nation and her people…as well as from those concerned with the welfare of their own nations and peoples. There are those from without who prowl, just waiting for this vulnerable country to fall. There are those from within that would rather see the enslavement of their own people and gain as much power as they can while numbing the people to complicity.
However, despite the predicament we’re now in, there is a pattern in the scriptures that I can remain grounded in….it’s that the Lord will preserve/save those who are willing to recognize where they’ve gone wrong, who are willing to change and improve, and ultimately…are willing and ready to trust Him….even when they’re already in that ‘bad’ predicament. He may even go as far to the point of physically protecting them or removing them from the very danger/destruction that is to come. Such was the case with Lehi and his family, Moses and the children of Israel, Alma the priest and those who followed him, the brother of Jared and his clan, Daniel in the lion’s den, Shadrach/Meshach/Abednego, David with Goliath, the 2000 Stripling warriors, the widow and her son with Elijah and the cruse of oil and last bit of flour, Joshua against Jericho, and much more. We will not be spared from experiencing some of the suffering, but we can be preserved, protected, and bolstered and uplifted as we go thru it. If ever there was a chance for us to show the Lord in whom we really put our trust–whether in man’s ways/solutions/programs/laws/whatever, or His ways—now’s the time.
An interesting scripture in Alma 58:11 on ‘hope’ that just came to mind:
Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.
In v. 10 we read about what they did BEFORE they received ‘hope’ and ‘assurance’:
Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.
(I’ve actually found myself praying like this…come to think of it…now that I read this verse…Interesting.)
In V.12, what they did AFTER they received ‘hope’ and ‘assurance’:
And we did take courage with our small force which we had received, and were fixed with a determination to conquer our enemies, and to maintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children, and the cause of our liberty.
Because of these things, I have hope in the Lord that deliverance will come to those who will listen to Him, trust Him, and follow His instructions…despite the concerns for this land and even this world. Yes, I’m concerned with what’s to come. There are much harder times ahead, harder than we–and our children–have ever imagined. However, I have that same peace to my soul that He will deliver us as long as we do what we can, take courage, and get to work.
In fact, we can expect it.