PROVO, Utah — There is a stark difference between hope in a worldly sense and hope in Christ.
“Hope in a worldly sense is worrying, fretting or wishing,” said Sister Becky Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency. “Hope in a gospel sense is hope in Christ. And hope in Christ simply means that we trust Him and we trust in our Heavenly Father’s plan. …
“Therefore, hope is expectation, even anticipation for happiness not only in the hereafter, but an expectation that we can have joy and contentment right now, regardless of our circumstances.”
During a BYU Women’s Conference breakout session on May 2, Sister Craven shared some of the trials she and her family have faced in their lives as she addressed how to have hope through struggles.
Waiting upon the Lord isn’t easy, she said, because the phrase is often misunderstood. Waiting can mean being stifled, biding one’s time or stopping. “But to ‘wait upon the Lord’ is not biding one’s time. It is being patient while moving forward with confidence, faith and trust in the Lord’s plan for us.”
The Lord, at times, gives personalized and tailor-made challenges designed to help His children grow, Sister Craven said.
For example, when she was set apart as a missionary to serve with her husband as he presided over the North Carolina Charlotte Mission, she was promised in a blessing that their children and grandchildren would be blessed with safety and health while they were gone.
However, one year into their mission, their daughter, Jana, gave birth to a stillborn daughter, Millee. The loss was difficult for Jana, and though she was aware of many miracles, she was still filled with questions, Sister Craven said. “She couldn’t understand why she had lost her baby if I had been promised perfect safety and protection for our grandchildren.”
Then a miraculous thought came to her: “Millee is perfect,” Sister Craven said. “Jana had been blessed with a perfect daughter. Regardless of how much she would continue to miss her, she wouldn’t have to worry about her. Millee would be exalted.”
Now as Jana waits to be reunited with her daughter, she reaches out to other mothers who have lost children, and her family visits cemeteries with baskets of homemade cinnamon rolls to share with others on Easter Sundays.
“Their family is moving forward with confidence and trust in the plan our Heavenly Father has for them and for Millee.”
Sometimes, as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven, but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.”
Sixteen years ago, Sister Craven and her husband, Brother Ronald L. Craven, were prompted to adopt two young children for Russia. “We fell in love with these children and felt so right about our decision to bring them into our family,” she said.
After spending more than a year in the legal process and a “good portion of our savings” on the adoption, they were told the children were no longer adoptable. “We were not allowed to see them or contact them. In an instant, we lost them.”
Many questions remain unanswered. “What could possibly be wrong with bringing a couple of children we loved into our family? Our hearts were willing and our motives pure. Why would this happen to us? More importantly, why would this happen to them?” Sister Craven said.
However, she trusts that the Lord is aware of these children even now. She has kept their names on the temple prayer rolls for 16 years and continually prays for their safety.
“While we wait for answers, we keep moving forward with trust in the Lord and His plan for them.”
In closing, Sister Craven said, “I pray that while we continue on our mortal journey, that through Jesus Christ we may not only find peace and joy for ourselves but that we will look for opportunities to deliver much needed help … to those who also wait.”