Once upon a time, I used to hate to read. It was always so tedious to me. But when I think about it, I realize I hated to read text books. History and other topics never interested me when I was in school. Now, I can’t seem to get enough of it now. My interests are vastly different from when I first began to read. I love to pick up a book with meaning – with a purpose than just reading a story for story sake. Romance novels hold no interest for me. But give me a story of someone’s real life; I am fascinated especially of those long ago. I love to understand the history behind the story as well – like the time period and the ways of the world at that time.
Case in point, I just finished reading the biography of Joan of Arc. I have heard the story long ago of this famous girl who rode in front of armies and then was burned at the stake. But I didn’t know the real story or even if the tale was a real story. Joan believed God sent her on a mission to free France from English bondage. (I have often wondered why the French and English don’t get along – there is a long history there.) As I was finishing this story, my heart became so distressed about this young girl. The story occurred long ago, but I felt tears welling up because of the treatment by these powerful “church” men. They had in mind to do her harm from the very beginning of her capture. They were never going to set her free. They believed they were doing right, but their hearts were so dark. The main judge had the idea if he destroyed this young girl he would get the most promising position in the church. Seriously?
I am in distress about this because times really have not changed much. Oh, we live in surely a better world than the dark world of long ago. But man’s heart is still such a dark place. I see the believers today under some extreme conditions in other parts of the world where evilness delights in torture and ruin of God’s people. The shame they bring on young girls by their evil hearts. The torture that women endure – rape, watching their children brutalized, husbands beheaded and such. How can a person be so depraved? My heart hurts. And I realize that the darkness is in me too. I could easily have fallen into that dark place and stayed there. I am just as guilty as any other person today or six hundred years ago. It’s only through the grace of God that the darkness doesn’t rule my heart anymore.
We are meant to feel this injustice so that we will stand up to it. Those of us who call ourselves followers of Christ are meant to be warriors for the cause of Christ. We have the armor that God gives us so that we can go into the battle field and wield the sword with accuracy to defeat the enemy. We can have the same authority that Joan had as she rode to defend her King. She believed she was doing it for her King and country by the will of God. We know that as followers this is not really our home. We are just here for a little while. Our King and country is not of this world. And we have the same conflicts to fight for the injustices of this world. We are here for the poor and needy. We are to make the most of what God wills for our lives. We have a purpose just as this young girl did so long ago. God is waiting on us to join the battle.
Joan heard voices to lead her in her battles. She knew things that were impossible to know. We too have a voice that we are to follow. The Holy Spirit will teach us those things we need to know so that we can fight the good fight. Things are not too different now – the battle is still on. Warriors are still needed. But we have been asleep for far too long. It’s time for us to wake up and be ready to join in God’s work. Are you ready? God’s waiting.
Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight.
Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good.
Seek justice. Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. Isaiah 1:16-17 (NLT)