In the last talk of the last session of the April 2016 General Conference Elder Jeffery R. Holland gave us hope in tomorrow. His talk was entitled “Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders Among You.”
A Daunting Future.
The title of his talk comes from encouragement Joshua gave to his people when they faced a daunting future.
Joshua 3:5 “Sanctify yourselves,” he said, “for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
Elder Holland said that after heavenly moments such as we had during 2 days of wonderful general conference, or a temple session, or a spiritual Sacrament Meeting, none of us want tomorrow to come and destroy the wonderful feelings we are feeling. We want to revel in and hold fast to spiritual impressions and inspired teachings.
But it is inevitable that after heavenly moments in our lives, we, of necessity, return to earth, so to speak, where sometimes less-than-ideal circumstances again face us.
Elder Holland used this photo to depict tomorrow.
A Great Fight of Afflictions
Hebrews 10:32 “Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions.”
When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai after receiving the Ten Commandments he faced a great fight of afflictions when he saw his people worshipping a golden calf.
During Jesus’ earthly ministry He took Peter, James and John to the Mount of Transfiguration. There Peter, James and John witnessed that “his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” The heavens opened, ancient prophets came, and God the Father spoke.
But when Jesus came down from the mountain he encountered an argument between his disciples, a tax that was due, and some of the brethren disputing over who would be greatest in His kingdom.
Elder Holland offered encouragement for us to deal with our daily challenges after our peak spiritual experiences. I chose four of those messages that mean the most to me.
1. If you don’t feel you measure up to the message you have heard, please don’t be cast down in spirit and don’t give up.
Gordon B. Hinckley (Standing for Something)
None of us will become perfect in a day or a month or a year. We will not accomplish it in a lifetime, but we can begin now, starting with our more obvious weakness and gradually converting them to strengths as we go forward with our lives. This quest may be a long one; in fact, it will be lifelong. It may be fraught with many mistakes, with falling down and getting back up again. And it will take much effort.
Elder David A. Bednar (GC Oct 2007)
Small, steady, incremental spiritual improvements are the steps the Lord would have us take…the pursuit of a lifetime.
President Deiter F. Uchtdorf (GC Oct 2009)
Don’t get discouraged if you stumble at times. Don’t feel downcast or despair if you don’t feel worthy to be a disciple of Christ at all times. The first step to walking in righteousness is simply to try…Try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes possible…and becomes habit and a real part of you. Enduring to the end is to keep on trying and never give up.
2. The messages are intended to give us HOPE and Inspiration.
They are not intended to discourage you. Only the adversary, the enemy of us all, would try to convince us that the ideals outlined in general conference are depressing and unrealistic, that people don’t really improve, that no one really progresses. And why does Lucifer give that speech? Because he knows he can’t improve, he can’t progress, that worlds without end he will never have a bright tomorrow. He is a miserable man bound by eternal limitations, and he wants you to be miserable too. Well, don’t fall for that. With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed.
Hope is powerful.
Coupled with faith it is tremendously powerful.
Elder Russell M. Nelson (Feb 1997 Ensign)
Hope, fortified by faith and charity, forges a force as strong as steel. Hope becomes an anchor to the soul. To this anchor, the faithful can cling, securely tethered to the Lord. Satan, on the other hand, would have us cast away that anchor and drift with the ebb tide of despair. If we will cling to the anchor of hope, it will be our safeguard forever. As declared in scripture: ‘Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yeah, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast’ (Ether 12:4).
Lack of Hope.
Elder Holland: Lack of hope is one of Satan’s most powerful tools. If he can confuse us, distract us, or encourage us to let go of what we know to be true, if he can push us to the point of giving up, then he has won a very powerful victory not only over us but over all those we can influence.
1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”
Our God is a God of Hope.
Women’s Conference 2003/David A. Whetten/pg192
Do whatever it takes for you to feel the spiritual presence of a nonjudgmental Father in Heaven. Go home and become acquainted with the God of Hope.
Filled with hope, what we desire to happen we expect will happen because we trust God’s promises. We can hope in tomorrow.
Hope in Hope.
Abraham was told by God that he would be the ‘father of many nations.’ When he and Sarah were beyond being too old to have children his faith and hope weakened. In Romans 4:18 we read:
“Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken.”
Who against hope believed in hope.
Abraham’s hope was stretched beyond his mortal limits, but he still believed in hope, and he was not weak in the faith. Abraham and Sarah lived to witness God’s miracle: the birth of their only son Isaac, through whom comes the lineage of the House of Israel, from which we all descend.
3. We have help; we have help through the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the strength of heaven.
Elder Holland (An High Priest of Good Things to Come/GC Oct 1999)
This is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us, especially in times of need. There is help. There is happiness. There really is light at the end of the tunnel. It is the Light of the World, the Bright and Morning Star, the “light that is endless, that can never be darkened.” It is the very Son of God Himself. Even if you cannot always see that silver lining on your clouds, God can, for He is the very source of the light you seek. He does love you, and He knows your fears. He hears your prayers. And He expects you to believe!
Through the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven—we will always have help!
4. We can improve, and the great thing is: we get credit for trying even if we don’t always succeed.
CS Lewis explained the spiritual truth of the power in always trying in a way that helped me understand it better. He said [Virtues—or basically what we are striving to become] will not be attained by any mere human efforts.
“You must ask for God’s help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again.” (Mere Christianity)
So the power that comes from trying is that we learn to depend on God for help.
CS Lewis also said:
God knows our situation – He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them. (Mere Christianity p.99)
This is what Elder Holland is teaching us; keep trying! There is power in never giving up.
Seeketh So To Do.
When there was a controversy in the early Church regarding who was entitled to heaven’s blessings and who wasn’t, the Lord declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Verily I say unto you, [the gifts of God] are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep … my commandments, and [for them] that seeketh so to do.” Boy, aren’t we all thankful for that added provision “and … seeketh so to do”! That has been a lifesaver because sometimes that is all we can offer! We take some solace in the fact that if God were to reward only the perfectly faithful, He wouldn’t have much of a distribution list.
Please remember tomorrow, and all the days after that, that the Lord blesses those who want to improve, who accept the need for commandments and try to keep them, who cherish Christlike virtues and strive to the best of their ability to acquire them. If you stumble in that pursuit, so does everyone; the Savior is there to help you keep going. If you fall, summon His strength. Call out like Alma, “O Jesus, … have mercy on me.” He will help you get back up. He will help you repent, repair, fix whatever you have to fix, and keep going. Soon enough you will have the success you seek.
The First Great Truth.
Every word in Elder Holland’s talk was something of great importance. It was something to sustain us in the times ahead. However this next comment may have been the most significant. He said:
The first great commandment of all eternity is to love God with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength—that’s the first great commandment.
But the first great truth of all eternity is that God loves us with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength. That love is the foundation stone of eternity,
God Will Always Stand By Us.
Elder Holland: Now, with that majestic devotion ringing from heaven as the great constant in our lives, manifested most purely and perfectly in the life, death, and Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can escape the consequences of both sin and stupidity—our own or that of others—in whatever form they may come to us in the course of daily living. If we give our heart to God, if we love the Lord Jesus Christ, if we do the best we can to live the gospel, then tomorrow—and every other day—is ultimately going to be magnificent, even if we don’t always recognize it as such.
Why? Because our Heavenly Father wants it to be! He wants to bless us. A rewarding, abundant, and eternal life is the very object of His merciful plan for His children! It is a plan predicated on the truth “that all things work together for good to them that love God.” So keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.
Wings As Eagles.
“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard?” Isaiah cried.
“[God] giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. …
“… They that wait upon [Him] shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. …
“For … the Lord … God will hold [their] right hand, saying unto [them], Fear not; I will help thee.”
Isaiah 40:28, 29, 31; 41:13
Elder Holland: “Sanctify yourselves,” he said, “for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” I declare that same promise. It is the promise of this conference. It is the promise of this Church. It is the promise of Him who performs those wonders, who is Himself “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, … The Prince of Peace.” Of Him I bear witness. Of Him I am a witness. And to Him this conference stands as a testament of His ongoing work in this great latter day.
Hope in Tomorrow.
Elder Holland’s talk and the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ give us much hope in tomorrow. For we are the miracle of this church! Because of that we can and should keep trying and never give up. With all our heart we should believe that we will receive the help that we need through the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and with the strength of heaven. And best of all we have the knowledge of God’s love for us.