This year, when I purchased my chores calendar from Motivated Moms, I bought the version that included daily scripture readings. Supposedly, by the end of the year we will have finished the Bible.
Right now, we are in the midst of Judges and Joshua. These are not usually books one turns when looking for comfort or daily worship. Hearing about how the Israelites cut off the thumbs and big toes of all their enemies (Judges 1:6) isn’t exactly what gets me into a prayerful mood!
But today, I rather enjoyed it. If you aren’t OCA, then you probably aren’t aware, and if you aren’t Orthodox, you most definitely AREN’T aware, but the OCA has been experiencing turmoil as of late. The details aren’t important– so far, it has yet to affect anything about our doctrine or the way in which we worship Christ on a day to day basis. Mostly, it affects financial and administrative stuff– and, as far as scandals go in the history of Christianity, those are very minor things.
What I have found interesting are various people’s reactions. Some bury their head in the sand and want nothing to do with it. It disturbs them spiritually, and that’s okay. Others throw themselves into the thick of the fight and make a mess while doing it. That’s not okay, but it’s understandable. We love and care deeply for our church and for our Savior. Christianity has a long list of martyrs for a reason!
But I think it’s definitely important to remember that there are times when God conquers for us, and there are times when He will use us to conquer. It is not one or the other, it is both. Sometimes, both are occurring so interchangeably, we don’t know which is which. And that’s okay. For the Israelites, this varied on a case by case basis! God obviously never wants us to get comfortable with one or the other.
It’s also good to remember that there are some God calls to lead the fight. He feels very strongly about who should lead the charge– it can’t be just any willing individual. I’m sure there were many Israelites who would’ve preferred to lead instead of Joshua or Judah. But being willing doesn’t always make one qualified. God provides special grace to those He calls to lead an attack. Without that grace, an attack is just an attack– sinful and damaging to everyone around. So it seems necessary that one has to be called to fight. This isn’t a “many are called, few are chosen” sort of moment. It’s a “few are called because FEW are chosen”.
As we prepare for Pascha, this is especially comforting to me. I am not called to fight this battle, but I am clearly called to uphold and bless those who are. And that is not just “okay”, it’s a victory. Being “led” by others is no easy task, as it requires prayerful obedience and trust. Sometimes, I know that it would be way easier for me to vent all of my rage and frustration over the issue by leading the charge. But since I am not called, this would be selfish and harmful. It is clear that the Israelites were hot and cold when it came to actually following directions. If each of them had gone rogue and tried to take out the Amalekites on their own free time, things would have gotten even uglier than they did. Following does take being informed, to a certain extent, but “being in the know” isn’t usually the problem. Ever since the Tree in the garden, we’ve been trying to know too much!
No, there is a definite virtue in following directions. It’s one of the reasons we became Orthodox– we were tired of trying to make every single spiritual decision for ourselves. It was time to trust. Again– NOT EVERYONE is called! I should be taking spiritual direction from someone who spends 90% of their time in prayer, NOT from myself, when I spend most of my day battling my selfish thoughts and desires, unable to even GET to a place of prayer!
Who knew that Joshua and Judges had so much to offer? 🙂