I learned something a few weeks ago that I'd like to share with you. The Sunday School and Relief Society lessons that were taught at church were about faith, then hope. I love it when the lessons work out like that. Superman actually taught the lesson on faith and it was wonderful. Faith is one of his favorite topics, so it was an exceptionally well-prepared lesson. The RS lesson that followed was taught by a substitute teacher, but I have no doubt in my mind that she was supposed to teach that lesson. She basically gave us a brief overview of her marriage, and the role that hope played in it.
Superman's lesson was on Helaman 5, which contains the scripture:
"And now, my sons, rememver, remember that it is upton the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea all his hail and his might storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
Following this, the sweet sister in RS opened her lesson talking about boating. Her family owns a boat and they get good use out of it in the summer. Once when they were out boating, they cast their anchor and just stayed out on the lake for a while. After a short time, the woman looked around and thought the boat had moved. She mentioned it to her husband, who said that it hadn't moved and he had set the anchor correctly. Another hour later, she looked around again and told him she definately thought the boat had moved. Sure enough, it had. They hadn't set their anchor properly.
We then read Ether 12:4. "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world...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."
Hearing these two principles taught so close together and so beautifully helped me to better understand the roles that faith and hope play with each other. I've always been a bit vague on the difference between the two, and how one builds on the other. But here's what I learned:
We must first build our testimony on the rock, Jesus Christ. He is a firm foundation. He is unchanging, and will never fail us. Building our testimony is like unearthing the rock. We have to dig in and discover more and more of the rock. It's always been there, just waiting for us to find it. Once we've accomplished this, we must cast our anchor of hope to this ever-sure Rock.
I think I used to believe that hope was just a weaker version of faith. This belief is contradicted by that scripture in Ether that says "hope cometh of faith." But it makes sense now. We must build our faith in the Rock first, and as we learn of Christ and his promises to us, we gain hope. Elder Uchtorf taught in our most recent General Conference that "hope is the abiding trust that the Lord will keep His promises to us."
So we cast our anchor of hope onto the Rock of our salvation. The Rock will not fail us, but it's up to us our strong our anchor is. It may be strong enough to get us through the easy times of calm waters, but what about when the devil sends his hail and whirlwinds and mighty storms? Is our anchor strong enough for that? Have we uncovered enough of the Rock to cast our anchors on?
Elder Uchtdorf also taught that hope is "believing and expecting that our prayers to be answered." Do you expect answers to your prayers?
Is your faith in Christ able to withstand the storms that will come in your life? Is your anchor of hope strong enough?