It can be difficult to have faith during hard times. It may feel like things will never get better, and hope might seem too far out of reach to grasp. We can have hope, even when things are at their worst.
Despair can come into our lives for a variety of reasons. It may be from something we did, something we witnessed, or something that happened to us. Despair can come after the death of a loved one, long-term unemployment, or from a variety of other triggers.
No matter what the cause, the solution can be the same. Having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can help lift us out of despair and hopelessness. In the Mormon church, we profess to:
The coupling of the word hope and the word endure is no accident. It can take a great deal of endurance to make it through difficult times. But it can be done, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a leader in the Mormon church, recently made the following statements:
Hope is one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time.
The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart. Despair can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward.
Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear.
Just as despair may touch all of our lives, the hope that comes from the knowledge of the Plan of Heavenly Father may be ours if we will hear and understand it. That Plan is contained in the Holy Scriptures. It is in the Bible, and it is reiterated in the Book of Mormon.
That Plan of Happiness, also known as the Gospel, outlines how we might pass through this “veil of tears,” that we call mortal life, and return to live with our Heavenly Father in peace and repose again after this life. Everyone who comes to this earth will have an opportunity to embrace the Gospel, even if they don’t have the opportunity to do so while on the earth.
When we embrace the Gospel, we do all that we can to live in accordance with its teachings. We first have faith, and we let that faith work in us toward the goal of repenting from our sins. With repentance comes baptism by immersion by one having authority, which washes us “as clean as the driven snow.” This is the gift of the Gospel, and the gift that our Savior Jesus Christ provided for us through His life and death here on the earth.
Once baptized, we continue in faith, enduring til the end. But we are not alone. The Holy Spirit can be our constant companion, to lead and guide us in this life. We can feel that Spirit as truth comes to us, and it can be a source of strength to us in our darkest hours.
Despair will come, but the hope and light of the Gospel can dispel any darkness. I know that through faith, I have been able to overcome the darkest times in my life. I know that through that same faith, I will be able to overcome all things. I also know that anyone else can do the same.
Please feel free to ask any questions you wish about Mormonism, the Plan of Happiness, or the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I’ll do my best to answer on this site. The LDS missionaries are also available for appointments or just to answer questions, or get free materials to read or watch on mormon.org or lds.org.