“Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” (1 Peter 1:21)
This is about hope.
It is different and deeper than the feeling of what we want or for events to turn out for the best, i.e. “I hope the Jazz win tonight,” “I hope I can make it through another day,” or “I hope she starts listening to me.”
It is about true hope in Jesus Christ, the Savior of humanity.
Bishop Desmond Tutu explained this kind of hope is being able to see that there is light, despite all the darkness.
Last week, I attended a Saturday evening session of our stake conference — you know the meeting you have a zillion excuses to skip. After a long day and a short weekend, I am grateful my wife Janna pulled her guilt trip card and persuaded me to accompany her.
Hope in Christ was the dominant topic of the one-hour, 53-minute meeting.
Two deeply personal stories shared by two speakers, both in tender years of young adulthood, touched me.
Sarah told her story of being born into a family who abandoned her before she turned 2 years old and how a couple adopted her in Arkansas.
After moving to Missouri, the father tragically sexually molested her two to four times weekly when she was between the ages of 7 and 17. She even experienced the trauma of having a miscarriage at 13.
Throughout the ordeal, her family attended church, but Sarah continued to search for additional gospel truth. When her family turned their backs on her, she lived with the family of her minister in Missouri.
It was a blissful experience for some time, until she expressed a desire to explore the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That family then kicked her out of the home and into the streets.
Sarah desperately turned to her boss — who happened to be LDS — for a place to stay. She eventually joined the LDS Church and recently moved to Stansbury Park.
Dillon shared his story of parents raising him in an LDS home. However, at 14 he turned against all the teachings of his parents and church.
Several years later and reaching the pits of despair, he made a decision to return to Christ and His teachings. However, nearly all of his friends were atheists and deeply involved in illegal practices.
Dillon decided to give up on life. In the middle of the night, he laid down on the railroad tracks east of Lake Point.
It was at this point that he visualized and felt the pains and anguish of the suffering of Jesus on Calvary and the Savior’s love for him. At the low point of his life, he described Christ’s eternal love.
After rolling out of the path of the oncoming train, Dillon turned his back on his lifestyle and returned to Christ’s teachings.
Few of us will come close to reaching despair that Sarah and Dillon experienced; however, we all need to grasp that eternal hope that only Jesus provides.
The words of Dieter F. Uchdorf shared in the October General Conference summarize my feeling about hope in Christ:
“It is a hope that through the atonement of Jesus Christ and the power his resurrection, we shall be raised unto life eternal and this because of our faith in the Savior.”
Charlie Roberts is a former LDS bishop of the Tooele 6th Ward.