“Lessons from the Old Testament: Courage to Follow the Lord,” Ensign, Apr. 2006, 50–51
The word courage can be defined as the ability to be brave when one is in danger, in pain, or in a difficult situation. Life requires many kinds of courage: the courage to face facts, solve problems, accept assignments, abide by our principles, and follow through with a challenging task. The most important type of courage, however, is the courage to follow the Lord. It is this kind of courage that I would like to address.
After the death of Moses, the Lord called Joshua to lead the Israelites. He counseled Joshua to “be strong and of a good courage” (Josh. 1:9; see also Josh. 1:6). The Lord knew the magnitude of Joshua’s assignment and the stubbornness of the Israelites, who so often failed to keep His commandments. He knew that without courage, or faith to follow the Lord, Joshua would not be able to fulfill his calling and endure the hard times ahead of him.
So it is with us as we become members of the Lord’s Church. Soon after baptism—or perhaps even as we are investigating the gospel—we may be faced with opposition from others. Our friends and loved ones may abandon us, and our difficulties may even be extended to the workplace.
Never shall I forget my own experience after baptism. My family members and friends rejected me, claiming I had joined a cult. At work, I was treated badly and denied promotions and other privileges simply because of my membership in the Church. However, these difficulties did not diminish my conviction that, as a member of the only true church, I had embarked upon a good cause. My wife and I were determined to press forward despite all our troubles and persecutions. As we have continued to do so, the Lord has guided and blessed us, even though the road has been rough.
Life is full of growing experiences that teach us how to overcome opposition, weaknesses, and fear. Let us rejoice in the knowledge that as we stand with courage through our trials, the Lord will not leave us without guidance. He has given us the Holy Ghost to be our companion to abide with us (see John 14:16).
The Apostle Paul is a powerful example of courage. He labored fearlessly, he delivered a divine message, he resisted enemies; and for all this he was taken prisoner and subjected to humiliations by the administrators of the law. Yet he maintained his courage and faith to the end, declaring, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. … For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:8–9, 17).
May we too have the courage to follow the Lord even when faced with opposition. I testify that as we do so, the love of Christ will increase in our hearts, and we will be further strengthened to stand steadfast in the cause of truth.
Most Ensign articles can be used for family home evening discussions, personal reflection, or teaching the gospel in a variety of settings.
Use the information in the article and scriptures to have family members role-play the stories of Joshua and Paul. Ask what happened when they acted courageously. Share stories from your own life that testify of how the Lord has guided you as you have demonstrated the courage to follow him.
Read the definition of courage as found in the article. Have family members share a time when they acted courageously. Conclude with the italicized quotation on how we can “stand with courage through our trials.”