THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON – ENDURING COURAGE

In the early 1800s, the Napoleonic Wars ravaged the European countryside seizing most of Europe for France.  Napoleon Bonaparte commanded an army and military system of a scale never before seen in the history of the world.   After years of endless siege throughout Europe, Napoleon was defeated and exiled to the island of Elba in 1814.  But this would not be the end.

In March of 1815, Napoleon re-entered France and reinstated himself as Emperor and quickly amassed his forces.  During that period know as the ‘Hundred Days’, Britain and Prussia assembled their armies to bring down Napoleon’s troops one final time.  Commanded by the Duke of Wellington, the British army, along with the Prussians, finally and completely defeated Napoleon’s forces at the Battle of Waterloo on July 18, 1815.

After the battle, the Duke of Wellington was reportedly questioned as to how he was able to finally put an end to Napoleon’s reign after so many armies before him were unsuccessful.  They asked him:

“Were your soldiers better trained than those of Napoleon?”

“No.”

“Were they better equipped than those of Napoleon?”

“No.”

“Were they stronger?”

“No.”

Finally the question came:

“Were they more courageous?”

“No… But they were courageous for 5 minutes longer.”

According to Wellington, Enduring Courage won the day.  Not just courage, but persistent, enduring courage- the kind of courage that weaves its way through every great legendary tale, every super hero, every Rocky, Rudy, and Karate Kid story through the ages.

Rocky endures 15 brutal rounds with the Russian before knocking him out in the final seconds; Rudy, after two years of punishing practices, runs onto the field to the wild cheers of 80,000 Fighting Irish fans; Daniel Caruso, on one good leg, pulls out the ‘crane technique’ to win the final point of the tournament.  In the end, against all odds, enduring courage prevailed.

Andy Stanley, senior pastor at Northpoint Community Church, keeps a card on his desk that reads:

What in my life today demands courage?

Enduring courage is a daily act, a moment by moment decision to persevere to the end.  May we know that the difference is often made in the final moments, that history is shaped by men who refuse to surrender, and that we are called to be “courageous for 5 minutes longer.”

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” – God

(Joshua 1:9)