The world is changing so rapidly, it’s quite steals your breath away at times, doesn’t it?
Hey, it’s Lauren. It’s been about two months since my last post. February was a blur of writing-related activity, catching up on new queries and client-related tasks, and then came March and we all know how the sociological landscape has changed in a month. And then March lasted for what felt like, years, and we’re finally, blessedly, in April and quickly approaching the end of Lent and the start of the Easter season.
This has been a peculiar Lent, a time of a spiritual desert. For many of us, our churches are live-streaming services, if not shut entirely. The Bible studies, youth groups, men/women’s meetings are cancelled, and for us Catholics, a priest that is willing to dispense any of the sacraments in person has become scarce. Grocery shopping yesterday, fear and control were evident everywhere I went. Perhaps you’ve told yourself that it’s worth this sacrifice, for a little while, to protect our families, and our neighbors from the prowling beast that we can neither see or hear or smell, but we are told it’s here, and it’s sniffing at our doors, and looking to prey upon the weak, or the unlucky. You already know its name.
And I go online and there’s such squabbling right now, angry, fearful people asking, “is it worth dying for?” This is one person’s question, being critical of a parent choosing to take their child to an empty playground when both are healthy. Or someone getting the evil eye for purchasing new flowers and mulch, “non-essential” purchases, perhaps, but the stores are still open and maybe, just maybe, it’s the little bit of beauty they need to keep going for another day, and not lose their sanity. I could name other stories I’ve seen, but you get (I hope) where I’m going with this.
There’s a lot of fear right now. Fear for oneself. Fear for one’s family. Fear of death. And some folks are looking at their spending habits differently now, and asking themselves, “If I get exposed to the virus while out shopping, is this worth risking my life over? Is this worth dying for?” I think that’s an interesting question, and I’ll get back to it, but first, a story.
If you’ve had any extra free time lately, like me, chances are high that maybe you’ve been revisiting some old hobbies of yours. I’ve been crocheting, writing, reading, cooking (yes, really!), and we’ve pulled out some board games and a deck of cards. I think it was around the time that I was attempting to build a card pyramid that my husband realized that I might be bored. He claims it was earlier, when I was playing solitaire with physical cards… but when these new Windows models don’t come with solitaire and minesweeper pre-installed, of course you have to resort to physical cards! When I’m not sketching, and I’ve been doing a bit of that as well.
I started sketching when I was a child, and for whatever reason, dropped it and didn’t pick it up again until a few months ago, but one of the earliest sketches I can recall doing (sadly, now lost) was of the French saint, Joan of Arc. Although I am not French by birth, I have always had a fondness for St. Joan of Arc. I remember one year borrowing a biography of her from my grandmother, one of the many dusty books in that corner of their house, and it had a highly detailed drawings of her, the kind of ancient book that has a rice-paper thin page over the drawing to protect it. You know what I mean, probably, although I’ve momentarily forgotten the technical term. But, one lazy afternoon, I attempted to do a drawing of her. I ended up tracing the outline, and drew in all of the details myself.
Was it just out of laziness and boredom, or why that figure specifically? Well, the thing of it is, I chose her as a drawing subject, because I admired her for being a young person so totally devoted to God and country, that she would willingly sacrifice her own life to accomplish His mission for France. That kind of patriotism and radical faith is inspiring to me, even today, but sadly lacking I think. St. Joan’s story is not dissimilar from the biblical story of King David, both confronting their Goliaths. Even though her story ended in martyrdom and his in kingship, they both received their crowns — David’s during his lifetime, Joan’s after death.
Which brings me back to my earlier question: “Is it worth dying for?”
In both of these stories, we see that God will use people of any age, if they are willing to be radically led by him to break the conventions of the day and be led by Him alone. But what does that look like today? Maybe it ends up being a quiet life of obedience to God, or maybe you could be on the battlefield, like Joan and David. If either sounds like a life you want, begin today to open your hearts to hear His voice, and don’t harden your heart. In the end, we all die anyway. Don’t fear death, fear the Lord who is master over death. He’s worth living and dying for!
May the Lord bless your families and keep you safe, and as we enter Passion Week, may you draw closer to Him still, uniting your suffering with Him, and trust in God alone.