Life is hard. As members of the Church, we sometimes find living our religion can seem to make life even harder. How can this be? There are certain morals and ethics embedded in us, but as God-fearing people we also have commandments and guidelines we’ve dedicated our lives to following. It can seem weighty and pressing. We are not perfect and when challenges come our way the struggles of abiding by rules and covenants can be overwhelming. We may often find ourselves asking, “Why did we agree to this?”
Something in this equation that does not add up. An essential piece is missing and that is hope. Following all of the commandments can be hard and living a righteous life is not easy. However, the hope of the Resurrection makes it all worth it. With the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, we have hope and a kindling of a fire that can keep us happy in our darkest of days. We agreed to the things we did because we had faith in our Savior and hope in perfection. We had faith in Him and knew that if we trusted in Him, He would give us the strength and hope we needed. He died for us and lives for us to seek and have faith in that glorious promise.
Where does that faith come from? Faith is often discussed and explained, but we cannot have faith unless we first have hope. We are told in Moroni 7:41: “And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.”
We should hope to be “raised unto life eternal.” Easter is a celebration of that raising or Resurrection and we can use Easter to remind ourselves of the hope that keeps us going. We must not only put that hope in ourselves, but put it in Him because we know that in Him, we can rejoice and be saved.
Rejoicing, though, is not always part of life. When loved ones die, grieving often replaces such rejoicing. The Resurrection gives us an assurance that we may see our loved ones again. We grieve and we cry over death, but the Resurrection gives us faith and hope necessary to keep going. We can rejoice in the knowledge that one day families will be reunited. In Doctrine & Covenants section 42, it says: “Insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection.” It is so hard to watch a love one pass away, but here it says that we should weep especially for those who do not have the hope to get them through such a trying time.
Mary Magdalene came upon an empty tomb. She must have felt so scared and uneasy. However, she was told by an angel that He was risen. In Matthew 28, Mary Magdalene ran to tell the other disciples. It was news that gave her hope and encouragement to run and spread the rejoicing. She was faithful to Christ and yearned to tell others of His resurrection.
In Joel 3:16, it reads: “The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.”
Sometimes the Earth really does seem to shake around us but as Joel says, the Lord is our hope. Through Christ’s life and His resurrection, we learn that there is a purpose to this life. We do not live to simply grow old and die, but we live to grow wise, to make ourselves richer in spirit and faith.
A synonym of hope is achievement and this face is exemplary of the relationship between the two. Christ achieved salvation and we can have hope in that salvation. That kind of hope is one of the things that makes our rule-abiding, covenant making lives worth it. We are given purpose and we are given strength through it.
We know and can hope for a better life. We can look ahead to brighter days because He died for us and lived again. May we run like Mary Magdalene did to tell others of His resurrection.