This is a Gospel of Hope

Area Leadership Message

Elder Markus Zarse
Elder Markus Zarse Area Seventy

At the end of September 2019, my father fell and broke his femur. Misdiagnoses and inappropriate therapy at the hospital caused his condition to deteriorate and we feared for his life. Being a doctor, I arranged for a transfer to the hospital where I work, because I was absolutely determined to heal him. My compassionate and supportive colleagues operated on him and treated him with extraordinary personal commitment, however, my fatherʼs health did not improve significantly. In the middle of November, my mother told me about a certain conversation that she had with my father. 

She said to him, “It is hard for you to lie in bed here.” — “Yes!” — “I know how much you loved rushing around in the temple getting things done.” — “YES!” — “You donʼt need to stay here because of me. Would you like to go?” His whole being seemed to glow and he said, “Yes!” Then he took my motherʼs hand and said, “Wherever we are, we belong together forever!”[1]

I am so grateful for my fatherʼs hope. He never knew his earthly father, and when the missionaries taught him that he had a Heavenly Father and a redeemer who loved him very much, this new knowledge became the guiding light in his life. I am equally thankful for my motherʼs hope. Her personal connection with her Heavenly Father and her knowledge about eternal families is deeply rooted in her heart. They both hope “for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God.”[2]

Both were aware of their personal flaws and shortcomings, and yet, this did not lessen their hope and trust in the mercy and goodness of our redeemer. The Prophet Ether also knew how important hope is for the repentance of men, which is why he taught in the last days before the destruction of the Jaredites that “hope … 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.” Ether is using the word “would” here because the people did not believe in this at the time.[3] 

Do our children, youth and young adults today have this type of hope that allows them to approach the throne of God with confidence?[4] This type of hope has nothing to do with the reality-denying proverb “Hope dies last”. No, it is the divine power that brings us back to God. Satan knows this as well, and his efforts to destroy our “Youth Battalion of the Lord”, our “Hope of Israel”, begin right there. Elder Klebingat said, “[Satan] will seek access to your heart to tell you lies—lies that Heavenly Father is disappointed in you, that the Atonement is beyond your reach, that there is no point in even trying, that everyone else is better than you, that you are unworthy, and a thousand variations of that same evil theme.”  

President Russell M. Nelson warned us that these attacks will increase at an exponential rate.[5] However, the Lord protects us by inspiring his modern prophets. All of the changes in the Church and the new program for children and youth are designed to give us and our youth this divine hope — that Jesus will walk beside us and help us overcome difficult things.[6] Now, as we prepare for the Easter season, please never give up bearing your witness to your children of our Saviorʼs unchanging love for you. He loves to be merciful, especially to those who have strayed far away and who do not expect it[7]

I also have this lasting hope that our Father in Heaven, through his goodness, mercy, and love, will one day welcome us with open arms. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

[1] Personal communication

[2] Ether 12:4

[3] Ether 12:4

[4] October 2014 General Conference, Jörg Klebingat,  Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence 

[5] October 2018 General Conference, Russell M. Nelson, Opening Remarks

[6] Face to Face with Elder Gong, November 17, 2019

[7] Jeffrey R. Holland (“The Laborers in the Vineyard,”  Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 32–33).