Sunday, April 11, 2021

President M. Russell Ballard on finding hope in Christ

President M. Russell Ballard (born October 8, 1928) was called as a Seventy in 1976, and has served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles since 1985. He became acting president of the Twelve in January 2018.

"Because we are the spirit children of God, everyone has a divine origin, nature, and potential. Each of us 'is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents.' (The Family: A Proclamation to the World) This is our identity! This is who we really are!

"Our spiritual identity is enhanced as we understand our many mortal identities, including ethnic, cultural, or national heritage.

"This sense of spiritual and cultural identity, love, and belonging can inspire hope and love for Jesus Christ.

"I speak of hope in Christ not as wishful thinking. Instead, I speak of hope as an expectation that will be realized. Such hope is essential to overcoming adversity, fostering spiritual resilience and strength, and coming to know that we are loved by our Eternal Father and that we are His children, who belong to His family.

"When we have hope in Christ, we come to know that as we need to make and keep sacred covenants, our fondest desires and dreams can be fulfilled through Him."

- M. Russell Ballard, "Hope in Christ," General Conference April 2021

President Ballard acknowledged in this message that we live in complicated, challenging times that can bring loneliness to many of us; and that "the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted this sense of isolation and loneliness for many." In order to be able to cope and carry on, we need divine help.

Hope is one of the most powerful, and perhaps least understood, aspects of the Gospel. "Hope in Christ" is a divine expectation of Christ's ability and willingness to bless our lives. President Ballard teachings that this hope is essential in our world. It will help us overcome the adversity of life by building within us awareness of God's love for us, and faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Hope in eternity and faith in Jesus Christ will bring to us "our fondest desires and dreams" because those dreams will be focused on eternal truth.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2020)

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