We all face battles that we can’t fight alone. Whether it be people who oppose us, health issues, financial burdens, or other challenges, we all have frequent reminders of our limitations and of our need for help.
Isaiah captured this quandary eloquently with the following poetic query: “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captives delivered?” (Isaiah 49:24, 1 Nephi 21:24). In other words, if you have an antagonist who is far more powerful than you, is there any way you can prevail? Here is Isaiah’s answer, speaking on behalf of the Lord:
Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away,
and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered;
for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee,
and I will save thy children.Isaiah 49:25, 1 Nephi 21:25
In August of 1833, the Lord reaffirmed this promise to a group of church members facing severe persecution in Jackson County, Missouri. Their lives had been threatened, their printing office destroyed, and many of them had been physically assaulted. Here is the Lord’s message to these downtrodden disciples:
I, the Lord, [will] fight their battles, and their children’s battles, and their children’s children’s…to the third and fourth generation.Doctrine and Covenants 98:37
Ten months later, things had gotten worse. They had been driven out of the county and were temporarily residing in neighboring counties, Joseph Smith led a group of 200 church members to restore these people to their homes and find peace. But when the governor of Missouri refused to call out the militia in their defense and when the people of the county demonstrated their continued antagonism, the Lord called off the mission. In doing so, He reminded them of His prior promise:
I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion; for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfil—I will fight your battles.Doctrine and Covenants 105:14
President Russell M. Nelson has clarified that this promise applies to us as well:
You faithful Saints do not have to fight life’s battles alone. Think of that! The Lord declared, “I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. ”Later came this promise to His faithful people: “I, the Lord, would fight their battles, and their children’s battles, and their children’s children’s, … to the third and fourth generation.”“Face the Future with Faith,” General Conference, April 2011
Then, he quoted President Thomas S. Monson: “Fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith” (“Be of Good Cheer,” General Conference, April 2009).
Today, I will remember that the Lord has promised to fight my battles and my childrens’ battles. When I feel overwhelmed, I will remember that I do not have to fight every battle and that I am not alone.