Day two lockdown, and reading the news to Kea did not fill us with joy. The doom merchants are in full swing, and though we have not gone as far as the Australians have, we are heading there real quick. This is the beginning of a time of affliction.
New Zealand is tardy on this path: and the solutions offered to us have problems. But enough on that. Two daily traps posts in two days was enough.
What we have forgotten is that affliction is the usual state for those of faith. We are usually shunned, and persecuted, and the wicked take what we have, and are not caught.
Our fear of this virus implies we have also forgotten that Christ will preserve us, beyond death.
15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous,
And His ears are toward their cry for help.
16 The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
To eliminate the memory of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears
And rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 The afflictions of the righteous are many,
But the Lord rescues him from them all.
20 He protects all his bones,
Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil will bring death to the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous will suffer for their guilt.
22 The Lord redeems the souls of His servants,
And none of those who take refuge in Him will suffer for their guilt.
Verse 20 is a Messianic prophecy. It was quoted by Satan at Jesus during the temptation, but it was fulfilled at the crucifixion. As the world hated Christ, so they will hate us.
5 Now as to the periods and times, brothers and sisters, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord is coming just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction will come upon them like labour pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness, so that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then, let’s not sleep as others do, but let’s be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who are drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, let’s be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you also are doing.
This is a time when we are being deliberately separated from each other, to the point where we are being told not to talk to our neighbours and to mask outside the house. All meetings are banned.
Which is deliberate, for it is bad for the faith. Meeting face to face is good, even for introverts like us, because we need motivation and support. Iron cannot sharpen itself. it needs Iron. Those of us in families have spouses, who can support and comfort and pray. I fear for those alone at this time.
Married people who have God in their lives (and I include monastics in this category) are the most mature, loving, altruistic, caring, and thoughtful people I’ve met. The grace that God has given them from marriage has allowed them to reach the height of Christian life that I simply don’t see in single believers, even ones who read Christian books all day like myself, because reading books or writing about God like I’m doing now are not sacraments and not enough on their own for salvation unless it coincides with a living faith. It is in God’s wisdom that he created marriage to essentially be a 24-hour church where you can constantly serve your neighbor (i.e. family) through love to help you be saved, and what a risk it is to try a novel and non-sacramental path to salvation by being a Christian hipster farmer or Christian content creator who takes down low IQ heretics. If maturity is an aid to serving God, and the only way to attain that maturity is through marriage, either to another person (the right person) or to the Church directly through monasticism, that should be a hint to us that we should be wholly unsatisfied with being single as a Christian life plan.
When I was received into ROCOR, I asked multiple priests and monks what advice they had for a newly baptized 41-year-old man with no wife. I was struck by the similarity in their response: “Stay close to the Church and don’t go it alone.” From their experience, a Christian is doomed to fall if he doesn’t take Church life seriously, and even I have seen firsthand how men who received God’s grace and believed they didn’t need the Church went on to fall for ancient heresies or other delusions that damaged their faith.
We need to be together, with people who are like minded. We don’t need the woke or the hypocrites with us. We need those who seek God.
This world wants that not to happen. But this world knows its doom. Destruction. Our hope is founded in Christ, that he will preserve us through this affliction, and bring us to glory.
When you understand this, the counsel of the world is obvious. The fear.
We have truth and love, which drives out our anxieties and fear: we are commanded to bring them to Christ, who assues us he will not forsake us despite our current pain, affliction, rage and despair.
For he knows how this evil will be turned into good.