Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ether 12:4 - Hope Cometh of Faith

 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

One of the most common comments I hear from others after reading this verse is "Oh, I always thought of it the other way round."

This could be answered simply by saying "Well the gospel is just funny like that." But lets be honest. That doesn't answer anything. As was touched up (okay... borderline ranted. I don't want to beat the figurative dead horse) faith is pretty much trust.
There are SO many scriptures that explain faith and hope. My suggestion would be to start with Preach My Gospel, Chapter 6, sections Faith and Hope. I could tell you all that I have learned through my study, but what I learned most is that it was all stuff that I might have heard or read before, it's something that I needed to be taught, in my own language (learning language, that is), in order to really understand. It has opened up not only new doors, but a new world to me. I urge you to take the time to study these two topics.

It's hard to imagine hope without faith, and faith without hope.

I believe hope without faith is called "wishing". I've seen this phenomenon in other people as well as myself. In Alma 32, Alma is teaching a group of really poor people. He is explaining faith to them, and how it differs from knowledge. (It really is an incredible chapter! I learn new things every time I read it, and I have read it MANY times.) He explains that if you have a complete knowledge of a thing, you no longer need to believe it so your faith is then dormant.
Sometimes, we let our faith go dormant a little too soon. We say "Oh yeah, I hope the world becomes better." "I hope little Jimbo figures out his life." but we may not have faith in those things.

What about faith without hope? Moroni says you can't have such a thing. If there was, what would it look like? Hard to think of, eh? How about when we have faith in God, but not ourselves? When a missionary has faith in the power of the spirit, but no hope in their own proficiency? The have faith faith that so-and-so will come to church, but that the result may vary?

"Hope cometh of faith." In modern language, "Hope comes from faith." This is true. In my first example (two paragraphs up), I referred to it as "wishing". It's something that happens in word, but not in the mind or heart. That hope is merely figurative.

When we have faith in Christ and his Atonement, we cannot help but hope for a better world and a better life. When we faith in God's love, we have hope in ourselves and those around us.

It's a simple phrase, a small part of the verse, but it means a lot. Hope can carry us through the darkest of times and roughest of roads. What good is walking through the desert if the desert never ends? Hope is the oasis's that lead to Disneyand, or Hawaii, or whatever you see as a never ending paradise.

It comes from trusting that voice inside. The one that says God knows what He's doing. That there is good in everyone, including you. That there is help ahead. That there is happiness, and it is obtainable to you in this life. When trails come, it says "You can do it!" and you will survive for the better.

If you have nothing else to hope for, you can always hope in Christ, in a loving Heavenly Father, and in eternal peace with them. If you need help, pray for it. I promise you God will answer. He always does, and He always will.

To share a personal experience with this, I may need you to humor me. I use to have a rather grim look on relationships, at least the ones available to me. Wether it be friends, teachers, or whatever. I never thought I could obtain one of those really good ones. I even did the ultimate sin of buying into stereotypes and my own presumptions. I know! How un-21st century of me. I did think the relations might exist, just not for me. Not in the brooding shadow in the corner kind of way, it just never occurred to me. I'm awkward, goofy, loud, and have spent a really good portion of my life alone. My school friends rarely last longer than a semester, and the few friends I had in grade school were not very good to me (although I didn't mind at the time). That isn't to say there haven't been good loving people in my life. There have been! I am indeed blessed with the love of family and good neighbors. I can even name them off!
Artist Credit: David B
So I'm sitting in an empty classroom with my companion. My world is already being rocked in the best of ways. I love everyone around me, and they love me! I feel so comfortable in my own skin and I belong. I have an unbelievably perfect partner-in-MTC (no crimes on the mission) who is also studying in the same room. In order to be the best companion in return and be a better missionary, I decide to study Chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel, Christlike Attributes.
So the room is quiet. The spirit is there. I'm writing notes down and studying like mad. Then I noticed a common theme. "Faith is hope in things which are not seen which are true."
It hit me all at once like a pillow in the face. Things which are not seen which are true. Like other the kindness and love in others. This became a prevailing motto for me. Whenever I start getting down on myself or doubtful or wishful, I would remember to hope in that unseen thing.
You would think I would be prepared for miracles, right? I'm hoping and expecting what are miracles to me. Nope. I was still surprised daily by the love shown to me by others. Someone brought me strawberries, because they remembered I once said I like them. Someone else wrote me a kind note with a friendship rope-bracelet thing. A teacher said something nice. Someone tackled me with a hug while I was in bed. This may seem like really small things to you, and they didn't think twice about it, but it meant the world to me. There are a few that I still never got to know or talk to, but it's okay. It did not hold matter to me. I now knew what life could hold and became excited by the future. I was so excited to love everyone I came in contact with.

On this same note, I think it was Elder Scott who said, "The children of Father in Heaven can do amazing things when they feel trusted." You you believe in the unseen potential in others, you are opening your life to surprises.

Faith and hope. Study the word. Share the word. Spread the word. Be the word.

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