Growing up, it’s something I heard frequently:
The Lord will succor His people.
But truth be told, I didn’t know exactly what that word even meant.
I mean, seriously, how many times does the word succor come up in normal modern day conversation?
For a long time I studied scripture under the impression that the archaic phrase meant “to nurture, or to tenderly care for.” And in a way, I guess that’s not entirely false. But it’s not entirely true either.
While there is a certain element of compassion implied in the term, it’s not necessarily the intended interpretation.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks defined succor in a recent address as “to give relief or aid to.” But even this excellent definition misses just a little of the nuance implied in the etymology of the word.
Being something of a Word Nerd, I am fascinated by the lineage of language. And succor is a pretty awesome word when you break it down to its roots.
Succor comes from the Latin succurrere, which means “run to help, hasten to the aid of.” You can see the root ‘currere’ echo through various Romance languages from that Latin ancestor– through the Italian correre, the Spanish correr, and the French courir: all verbs meaning “to run.”
So it’s not just that the Lord will come to our aid and care for us tenderly– He will run to the rescue.
On Easter Sunday last year, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland elaborated:
Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, suffered, died, and rose from death in order that He could, like lightning in a summer storm, grasp us as we fall.
With our Savior, there is no such thing as slow response time. He races to our aid, deeply desiring to help bear our burdens and lighten our loads. Of course, this doesn’t mean that our trials will necessarily be lifted or even that we will always feel His presence near. Some experiences are part of our educational and growing process. They stretch us and refine us in our quest to become more like Him.But even in those darkest, loneliest moments– especially in those moments– He is there, helping us put one foot in front of the other.
He is always there.
To quote Elder Oaks again:
Our Savior experienced and suffered the fulness of all mortal challenges “according to the flesh” so He could know “according to the flesh” how to “succor his people according to their infirmities.” He therefore knows our struggles, our heartaches, our temptations, and our suffering, for He willingly experienced them all as an essential part of His Atonement. And because of this, His Atonement empowers Him to succor us—to give us the strength to bear it all.
Because of Him, we never have to go through it alone. Because of Him, grace flows constantly to our parched souls. Because of Him, we can overcome all that this mortal sphere throws at us.
His flight to rescue us in our time of need is swift and assured.
Like lightning in a summer storm.