The Rest Is Up to Us

One of the goals of everyday spirituality is figuring out how to live with grace, courage, and hope—no matter what life is handing you at the moment, even in the face of the most difficult situations. Fortunate are the people who have managed to identify for themselves the elements or thought patterns by which they can remain positive and strong.

The book Not Even My Name by Thea Halo offers this kind of perspective. For more than its first half, the book is often not an easy read because of the appalling, sometimes even atrocious, circumstances of the life of a young Greek girl named Themía. Most of her family members are annihilated, and the reader often wonders how she herself can survive.

But at the end of the book, when she has nothing from her original life except scars—not even her name—she is able to tell her daughter: “even in my darkest hours, I need only watch a flower tilt its lovely face to drink the rain, or hear my children laughing, to know that life is good. Breath is God’s gift. Life is our reward. The rest is up to us.”

This true story, which is not intended to be a story about spirituality, has a lot to teach about enduring faith.

           

Moses – When Courage Fails the Strong

I noticed something in Acts the other day that fascinated me. It was a description: “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22).

I had to stop and look at that again, because what I remembered about Moses was that when God told him he was to go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses repeatedly objected, stating, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10).

Now, admittedly a lot happened to Moses between the time when he was educated in Egypt as a young man and decades later at the scene of the burning bush, but it’s likely that a lot happens to all of us between the time we are young and being educated, and the time we may be called to put that education to use.

What I find here is a message to the “educated,” to people who have gifts they have never used because they are fearful that when it comes right down to it, they will fail.

The Exodus story in chapters 3 and 4 recounts a little divine impatience with Moses, who has been chosen for a particular role, but it is God who delivers the solution: “I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:12). Even then Moses continues to protest and to ask that God send someone else, so God creates a further solution: Moses’s older brother, Aaron. You can hear the exasperation in God’s comment: “I know he can speak well.” So that is how the story goes. The two brothers go before Pharaoh; God tells Moses what to say; and Aaron delivers the message.

We’ve all heard stories about how God helps the poor, the weak, the downtrodden, but this is a story about God helping the strong and the educated who are suffering a failure of courage. This is a promise to store in your heart for those times when your confidence and courage fail: Go to your spiritual center and hear the divine message, “I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”