From: Francis Harper
Endurance by Francis Harper
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold; but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark 3:13).
In spite of the afflictions and oppositions which are sure to come, the Lord expects us to endure and be strong finishers. “Wherefore, settle this in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach and command you. For which of you intending to build a tower sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have money to finish his work? Lest, unhappily, after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish his work, all who behold, begin to mock him, Saying this man began to build, and was not able to finish. And this he said, signifying there should not any man follow him unless he be able to continue . . .” (Luke 14:28-31).
Jesus blazed the trail of endurance for us. “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). Nothing could deter him. At the end he could say, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
Paul was another trail-blazer for us. He wrote to Timothy, saying, “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
What is the key to being able to endure in following the Lord to the end of our mortal lives? Isaiah wrote, “I hid not my face from shame and spitting, for the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded [dissuaded]; therefore have I set my face like a flint [rock], and I know that I shall not be ashamed, and the Lord is near and he justifieth me. Who will contend with me? Let us stand together [in the fellowship of the Saints]. Who is my adversary? [it may be myself—the natural man]. Let him come near me . . . for the Lord God will help me” (Isaiah 50:5-6).
The Lord expects us to follow him “with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent . . .” (2 Nephi 13:16). Doing this requires much self-discipline and endurance.
Alma gave up the prestige and security of his office as chief judge, “that he might go forth among the people of Nephi, to preach the word of God unto them” (Alma 2:22-28). “Alma labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God [like Jacob] in mighty prayer, that he might pour out his Spirit upon the people . . .” (Alma 6:11). In spite of this, in one city the people “withstood all his words, and reviled him, and spit upon him and cast him out of their city . . .” (Alma 6:16). Alma endured. “While he was journeying toward the city of Aaron, being weighed down with sorrow, wading through much tribulation and anguish of soul, because of the wickedness of the people . . . an angel of the Lord appeared unto him, saying, blessed art thou Alma; lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice: [at this point I may have asked, ‘Are you kidding me?’] for thou hast been faithful . . . (Alma 6:17-19).
Alma, like Paul, with the faithful and enduring strength of the Lord, was able to endure; having the strength to finish his course, giving him great cause to rejoice because he remained faithful. We can do the same—in the strength of our mighty God, who stands by to help us. “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation”—to be less than we are called to be (2 Peter 2:9).