Thursday, September 9, 2021

President Russell M. Nelson on hope in our challenges

Elder Russell M. Nelson (1924- ) was an internationally-renowned heart surgeon when he was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984.
"Happiness comes when scriptures are used in shaping our lives. They speak of the 'brightness of hope' (2 Ne. 31:20) for which we yearn. But if our hopes were narrowly confined only to moments in mortality, we should surely be disappointed. Our ultimate hope must be anchored to the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, 'If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God' (D&C 14:7).
"An understanding of that objective should help us approach the future with faith instead of fear, (see D&C 6:36) with a more excellent hope in place of despair. God sent each of us here to be happy and successful (see 2 Ne. 2:25; Jacob 2:18-19). Meanwhile, he also needs us. We are to 'seek not the things of this world but seek... first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness' (JST, Matt. 6:38). He decreed that 'no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things' (D&C 12:8)....
"Our hope is in our 'Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel—the God of the whole earth' (3 Ne. 22:5). His hope is in us. We are literally the 'Hope of Israel, Zion's army, Children of the promised day' (Hymns, no. 259).
"May the 'God of hope,' in the words of the Apostle Paul, 'fill [us] with all joy and peace in believing, that [we] may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost' (Rom. 15:13)."
- Russell M. Nelson, "A More Excellent Hope," BYU devotional, 8 January 1995; see Ensign February 1997, pp. 60-64
Click here to read the full talk

I find hope to be one of the most fascinating and fruitful topics to study and ponder. It means so much more in the gospel context than in our colloquial use. Elder Nelson suggests the critical and distinguishing focus - a hope anchored to the Atonement of the Savior:

Elder Nelson then provides a scriptural summary of the blessings that come from a righteous and inspired hope, one that enables us to:
  • approach the future with faith instead of fear
  • find hope in place of despair
  • be happy and successful in mortality
  • assist in building the kingdom of God on earth
And ultimately, in the words of Paul, it is "through the power of the Holy Ghost" that we can be filled "with all joy and peace" as we begin to "abound in hope." What a beautiful and desirable promise!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
May 27, 2015

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