So today is not the day that I need a reminder about faith and courage, but surely enough that kind of day will come again and when it does I can re-read this passage from an article on Meridian Magazine about courage:
President Henry B. Eyring tells the tender story of being with his father during the famous scientist’s last days, through the end of a long struggle with bone cancer. In great pain, it was hard work to move him from a chair to his bed, and the nights were long.
President Eyring said, “One night when I was not with him and the pain seemed more than he could bear, he somehow got out of bed and on his knees beside it—I know not how. He pled with God to know why he was suffering so. And the next morning he said, with quiet firmness, "I know why now. God needs brave sons.”
It takes brave sons and brave daughters to live with faith in a difficult world. It is easy to be cynical, easy to give up. It demands nothing of us, if our faith blows over in the first strong wind. Our faith and courage have to surmount strong winds of even gale strength. That’s how we know who we are. That’s how we find out who He is, when he encircles us in the arms of his love.
But we must be warned too, that it is in our deepest exigencies that Satan comes calling. He would like to zap our courage, turn our insides to putty. He wants us to think our faith is unwarranted and useless. He wants our memory to be marred so that every trace of what we know about God is revised out of our life by our terror or discouragement.
Brigham Young used to describe our challenge: "The men and women who desire to obtain seats in the celestial kingdom will find that they must battle every day."1 We battle not just against the conditions of a fallen world, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood,” but more significantly, “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Satan is ever nipping at our heels with his insidious suggestions that we should fear, that we cannot do it, that we are all alone, that our lives will come to nothing.
He is a tenacious sort who does not give up. Thus, on our journey, even after we’ve received times of revelation and conviction, even after we’ve been to the mountain and felt God, even after we’ve seen rescue before, he will still send his fiery darts at us attempting to make our hearts faint. Courage is not just for one time when we’ve been assaulted or one moment of desperation; it is the mode we must have for every, every day.
Paul said in Hebrews, “Call to remembrance the former days, in which after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions” (Hebrews 10:32). What? Again and again we must exercise courage, and again and again we must seek deliverance? Yes!
It is not once, but becomes the pattern of our lives, that even after we’ve received revelation, even after we’ve seen God’s hand, we will be assaulted by Satan, tempted to despair, and must look again for the Deliverer.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said we need encouragement because we face opposition often “after enlightened decisions have been made, after moments of revelation and conviction have given us a peace and an assurance we thought we would never lose. 2
We know it well. The job we were inspired to take becomes more difficult than we imagined. The way we were shown to go is fraught with thorns and thistles. The marriage we were impressed to enter includes illness, economic deprivation and times we are strangers to each other. The child we feel so connected to at birth becomes our biggest problem in life. The investigator slated for baptism does not show up.
Paul therefore advises, “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” This is a powerful admonition because he makes it a question of our own agency. He says, “You decide to ‘cast not away therefore your confidence.’” You choose to be brave. It is in your hands to be courageous and faithful—even if you must wait and then wait again for deliverance.
He says, “If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38). Even in our difficult times we can choose to draw back or press forward with hope.
He assures us that we can have courage because God will come. “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10: 35,36).
When the wait seems long, I think of what the Duke of Wellington, who won the Battle of Waterloo, said of his British soldiers. He said they were not braver than other soldiers; they were just brave five minutes longer.
When our courage and faith, flag, we can choose to be brave five minutes longer, five days longer—or if need be, and things are tough enough, we can take it minute by minute with our hand in the Lord’s.
Joseph Smith, who always impresses with his faith and boldness, said it this way, “Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage...and on, on to the victory” (D&C 128: 22).
Again, a choice, a decision. We decide to cast away our fear, instead of cast away our confidence.
Joseph Smith can say that, because he knows God, and courage for life’s journey will always be a product of that knowledge.
When life is too much and courage would falter, remember what you know. Remember Who you know, the One whose face will be so familiar to you when you see your Father again. He is perfectly capable of doing His own work which He proclaims is saving you.
To add to this beautiful message, if you need some soul soothing music try these beautiful songs (scroll down in the blog post and you will see the link for download) that you can download for free that I am enjoying immensely.