Some days, as I drop my “tween” daughter off to school, she expresses distress and doesn’t want to go. On one particular day she was dreading getting out of the car, I encouraged her to think of a part of her day that she could look forward to. I explained she could be optimistic about life. She is able choose; she can decide to seek out good in each day and be hopeful, or to be gloomy and complain. When I asked her if she knew what a pessimist was, her reply was, “Me.” That answer made my heart sink. As we continued to talk, I prayed that the words I shared would empower her to know that she could choose to be hopeful and happy.
How can we teach our children to choose hope over despair in such tumultuous times? We can remember the greatest source of hope, the Hope of Israel, even Jesus Christ. We can remember our loving Heavenly Father, and the Comforter that He sent to be with us always, the Holy Spirit. Then we must instill this knowledge with our children, so they may find peace through our Savior.
Dieter Uchtdorf shared, “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.”
He goes on to explain, “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.”
“Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness. Hope sustains us through despair.”
“Hope teaches that there is reason to rejoice even when all seems dark around us.”
“No matter how bleak the chapter of our lives may look today, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we may hope and be assured that the ending of the book of our lives will exceed our grandest expectations.”¹
There seems to be an epidemic of people who are suffering, and many feel discouraged, worried, or lonely. Please don’t give in to sadness. Please don’t let despair overcome you. There is hope and happiness to be found!
Our perspective has power. Although life’s challenges seem so difficult and insurmountable at times, I know I can choose to have a positive disposition. I can hope for brighter days ahead. Through the dark times I can choose to seek the Light, even Jesus Christ, who truly is the Hope of Israel, and all the world.
My wish for all of us is the same wish I have for my daughter—that we might see the temporary nature of hard things, and that we can be happy, “for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.” Let us have HOPE.