President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, described hope as one leg of a three-legged stool. The other two legs are faith and charity. “These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Infinite Power of Hope,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 21-24)

Jesus Christ Mormon Today, the world feels pretty unstable to many people. With unemployment rising, a world at war, and crime on the rise in many areas, many people are afraid and this fear can become paralyzing. How do we keep going when things could fall apart at any moment?

Believing in God and in Jesus Christ can give us hope. It’s hard to feel hope when everything depends on mere mortals who can never be sure their plans will work. But when the world is in the hands of a loving Father, we can feel secure. A belief in God gives meaning to the life we’re living and a reassurance that in the end, we’re being watched over and there is a reason for us to live, and even that every trial has a purpose that makes it worth getting through the trial and on to the next stage of life.

The Bible and the Book of Mormon both offer us hope. They promise us that God won’t leave us alone, and in the darkest times, He will give meaning to our lives and promise us something better in the future if we hold on to our faith and try to make the right choices.

When we have a complete understanding of how God operates, we realize this life is a test of our ability to learn, progress, and make wise choices. When you play a video game, obstacles are constantly put in your way, and the challenge of the game is to learn how to overcome them. Without those challenges, most people wouldn’t bother to play the game, because there would be no purpose. In real life, we also need challenges, because they push us to be more than we once were, and help us appreciate the good and easy days. Whether we win or lose the game of life is up to us, and it’s largely a matter of attitude and choices. When we choose to face challenges and something to work on, and search the experience for how they helped us, we win, because we’re overcoming difficulties placed in our way and becoming more fit to live with God.

The Book of Mormon tells the story of a man named Lehi who was a prophet in Jerusalem at the time of the prophet Jeremiah. He was commanded by God to take his family into the wilderness to preserve his life. His two oldest sons faced the challenge of leaving behind their wealth for a life of primitive living badly. Instead of seeing it as a great opportunity, they constantly whined and complained. On the other hand, the fourth son, Nephi, saw everything as a chance to grow. He assured his father he understood God would never give them commandments or trials without also showing them how to succeed if they asked for His help. As a result, although Nephi’s life was filled with trials-many the result of his abusive older brothers-he came to the end of his life feeling he had been blessed and feeling he’d had a great life. Laman and Lemuel spent their entire lives simply fighting everyone else and complaining. They learned nothing from the experiences they had and never found the peace their younger brothers all found by facing trials with faith.

Combining hope with faith makes even the hardest life bearable. Adding the third leg of the stool, charity, keeps a person who is facing trials from feeling too picked on. When they serve others, they understand they aren’t the only people with problems, and that many of the problems faced by others are worse than their own. It takes them outside themselves and keeps their spirits up.

When you’re looking ahead to the economic trials and the other challenges of the world today, keep in mind the three-legged stool and look for the blessings tucked into the trials.

About Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.

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