Recently, I have pondered the second verse of the classic hymn, sung by early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (referred to as the Mormons) as they journeyed across the plains.

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
’Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell—
All is well! All is well!

(Come, Come, Ye Saints, Hymns 1985)

MP3 Recording of Come, Come, Ye Saints

Mormon JesusCourage is a principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is perhaps an overlooked virtue. In a modern world in which we have challenges less physically demanding than our ancestors, we have a greater need of courage. Yet we seem to have a less sure view of what true modern courage is.

We can agree that great acts of faith require courage, like crossing the United States on foot for the freedom to worship without persecution. We can also look back at the acts of early Christian martyrs and admire their courage. However, these great things are not asked of all of us, and they are perhaps less important than the little courageous ways we demonstrate our faith daily.

The refrain of another popular hymn by noted Latter-day Saint composer Evan Stephens (1854-1930) proclaims:

Fear not, courage, though the enemy deride;
We must be victorious, for the Lord is on our side.
We’ll not fear the wicked nor give heed to what they say,
But the Lord, our Heav’nly Father, him alone we will obey.

(Let Us All Press On, Hymns 1985)
MP3 Recording of Let Us All Press On

Perhaps courage does not consist so much of heroic acts as it does obeying God. Of course we will improve the world, sometimes in seemingly heroic ways, as we keep the commandments of the Lord. However, seeming brave is not the goal; living as He would have us live is enough. As Elder Richard G. Scott, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said:

True, enduring happiness, with the accompanying strength, courage, and capacity to overcome the greatest difficulties, will come as you center your life in Jesus Christ. Obedience to His teachings provides a secure ascent in the journey of life. That takes effort. While there is no guarantee of overnight results, there is the assurance that, in the Lord’s time, solutions will come, peace will prevail, and happiness will be yours.

(”The Atonement Can Secure Your Peace and Happiness,” October 2006)

May we each take fresh courage through obedience to God’s commandments.

About Nathan H

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