"The case was this: my wife, who was seated near the head of the bed, when she saw the Captain step from the bed with his sword drawn, and draw back his arm to give the thrust, like a female angel, sprang like the lightning of heaven, clasped her arms within his elbow, around his body, locked her hands together, and held him like a vice, till the men took away his sword. We then took a lantern and went into the road and carried on our meeting."
John Leland, The Writings of the Late Elder John Leland p. 27
Elder John Leland preached the Gospel from Massachusetts to North Caroline. He started as a young man in 1774 and continued traveling and preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ through the War of Independence until his death in 1841. He faced many dangers and threats, but God provided for him a strong and courageous helpmeet in his wife.
When Mrs. Leland held back the captain from thrusting his sword through her husband, she did so to prevent the captain from stopping her husband's preaching. Invited to preach at a woman's house, they were stopped at the gate by the woman's son, the Captain. However, her husband let Elder Leland in and the people came to hear the preaching. When Elder Leland opened the meeting with singing, the Captain attacked. Mrs. Leland likely saved her husband's life.
Raised by an abusive step-father, Mrs. Leland endured hardships as a child, like her feet partly frozen off and an illness that left her speech impaired. Then, as a wife, she was often left alone to care for numerous children with little means and facing many dangers from soldiers, runaway slaves, and vagabonds during the war.
Though she endured much affliction, from near shipwreck to evil spirits, she did not endure them alone.
"It has been remarked of Mrs. Leland, that her faith was strong. Indeed, on some occasions, it seemed to rest on grounds that partook of the character of revelations. An instance of this kind occurred in the storm by which they were overtaken on their passage from Virginia to New England, in 1791. After twelve hours of incessant watching and agonizing prayer, expecting momentarily to go to the bottom, she appeared to sink into a slumber; but presently turning to her husband, she exclaimed, "We shall not be lost." She had received this assurance from a figure in white which seemed to stand before her, measuring off piece after piece of a long white cord, and which said to her, "The vessel cannot sink, I have undergirded it.""Two things we can learn from her life:
The Writings of Elder John Leland, p. 45.
- Affliction and hardship bring strength to those who humble themselves in the Lord
- Strength to endure hardship and affliction will come from the Lord when we look to Him.
Hard times have come and passed, and yet we will see more in the future. How we face them reveals not only our character but our faith. In this new year, we may see attacks on our faith from our government, from the community, and from individuals, not to mention those leaders of other countries who hate the Kingdom of Heaven. Each moment we must chose between trusting God and walking in obedience or compromising our faith for the 'comforts and safety' this world feigns to offer. When we chose to trust God, He will not fail to provide us with the peace that passes all understanding. I wonder if perhaps we may have opportunities to see the 'figure in white' He sends to watch over us?