Saturday, May 9, 2009

May 9 and my knight in shining armor

My morning commute was interrupted yesterday by a roadblock. I saw lots of policemen and a camera crew, but there didn't seem to be an accident. As I got out of the bus to continue on foot, I remembered that I was near the "Piskarevskoye" Memorial Cemetary, which contains the graves of about 470,000 WWII casualties, about 420,000 of those- civilians. I heard the booming of the loudspeaker in the distance as a memorial service was getting underway.

Today is May 9th, "Victory Day" in Russia. When I was young, I had never heard of this holiday, although I'm sure I memorized the date in History class.

It's a big Russian holiday, especially to those few veterans who remain. But it isn't my story to tell. If you want to know more (about the history, not just the holiday), there are plenty of resources on the the Internet. I published a YouTube video on here earlier accidentally, and there are others like it. Or better yet, ask a Russian friend what the date means to him and his family.

Something about Russian patriotism is frightening to me. The fluttering of the Russian flag gives me goosebumps. It's not that there is anything inherently wrong with the idea of "homeland," I just will never quite grasp the Russian understanding. I don't think I will ever have that same "it's in my blood" feeling. There is such a rich culture of poetry and music here that I just don't have in connection with my native country.

Anyway, I suppose we are all patriotic, to a certain extent. While recalling things that make me feel patriotic, I think first of sports. Then I think of men in uniform. Isn't there something about a man in uniform? (There are exceptions here, especially in cases where authority is abused)

I suppose I like to know that someone is willing to fight for my safety. It doesn't really have anything to do with my country of origin or where I live. This verse comes to mind: "The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." (Ex.14:14) Now, this is not meant to downplay the courage of men or imply that there is nothing to do. But my God is the only hero whom I can truly count on.

I believe that Christ already has the victory, but that doesn't mean that we will not face battles of various kinds. He himself warned that it would be difficult. So I need to know that the Lord is on my side, my main defender.

6 comments:

  1. I do not really think God is protecting us from anything. He set everything in motion from the beginning of time and nothing can change it. It's too complex to explain. People, from the first day of their existence, tried to explain God away. He is not really all that intimate with us, as we think he is. He is who he is and what he did and does is what he did and does. Americans are the worst in misrepresenting and misinterpreting the God of the Torah (aka the Bible).

    But... this is not the main point of my post. I just want to wish every mom "Happy mother's day!"

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  2. BTW, if you think I am wrong, try to explain why so many innocent Jews and people in general perished in the WW2, for instance.

    Did God not care? Or was not intimate with his people?

    He does what pleases him. We do what pleases us. We are fools, he is not.

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  3. Thank you for your post, it was very good.

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  4. Very interesting question. I don't have any doubt that God protects us. It says so in His word. However, what does He protect us against, and in what way? That is harder to answer. I believe that if God is sovereign, and if I am surrendered to Him, then He protects me from circumstances that are outside His ultimate will. And He protects my heart from faltering. That is, He protects me by assuring me that everything is in His hands.

    No, God doesn't protect us from everything. Then there would be no free will. What would be the point of living?

    Intimacy comes from God allowing us to recognize our need and our response in calling to Him for help.

    Since God's protection relates to His ultimate will, I think we often lack the vision to understand the purpose of a certain event here on earth.

    Any other thoughts?

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  5. A revised version: (Liz, please, delete the same post above. I am embarrassed at all the mistakes I have made there...)

    Thank you for your reply. I had a neighbor who used to say to me, inevitably, almost every Saturday, in a very Christian-like, spiritually uptight way: "I had such a wonderful time with the Lord this morning in my quiet time!"

    I, of course, would smile and mumble something like: "Great, thank you for praying for all of us..."

    And, of course, she would, again, inevitably, mention how she does pray for all of us and how she LLLLLOVES spending time with HER Lord.

    And then I would think to myself: "What a fool..."

    To be honest with you Liz, that religious mambo-jumbo made me wanting to puke quite a few times.

    Just today, I was at a home of some Christian couple (due to my work schedule) and they (being Pentecostals) quickly switched to talking about spiritual things (something about how Israel is God's chosen nation and that the current US president is a very bad guy and blah, blah, blah).

    I was sitting there, listening to them, thinking: "These people are just crazy!"

    Why am writing all of this? I guess, I am just trying to say that we, as Christians, need more humility. We just need to live our lives, work with our own hands, raise our families, relate to each other in love, and if God, at the end, wants to use us, he will. Ultimately, it is all up to him, not to us. I agree, the free will is important, but it is not something that supersedes his will.

    My non-Christian friends are just as much protected by God as I am. I can see that he loves them just as much as he loves me. None of us is special. Arrogant...? Maybe. But not special.

    I have people, here at work, who go to bars and cuss like sailors, yet I can see how much God loves them. I don't know why he loves them, but I know he does.

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  6. There are some interesting comments in Corinthians (for example, 2 Cor. 10:17) about "boasting in the Lord." It's hard to give glory to the Lord for something in our lives without letting ourselves become the center of attention. This is true of Christians at any level of spiritual maturity. I don't even like the Apostle Paul's comments sometimes.

    I do believe in election. However, Christ, the Son of God, was the perfect picture of humility, and an example for us.

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