I’m not a big fan of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. But I do like this quote of his: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Spend any time with my writings and you’ll see me say this and more often about being Orthodox on Purpose.
Having a purpose transforms a daily life from drudgery to meaning. And when a purpose is missing, well, life lives you rather than the other way around. You may be asking “how do I discover my purpose?” And the best place to start is by answering this question: “What do you love?” Find out what you love, find out what you want, and then you can start the process of evaluating whether those things are your purpose or hindering you from finding your purpose.
But, guess what? God, our Creator, has a purpose for the whole earth. And knowing that purpose will go a long way in helping you discover your ultimate purpose as well!
Look at our lesson today in Isaiah 14:24-32:
The LORD of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand, that I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains trample him under foot; and his yoke shall depart from them, and his burden from their shoulder.” This is the purpose that is purposed concerning the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back? In the year that King Ahaz died came this oracle: “Rejoice not, O Philistia, all of you, that the rod which smote you is broken, for from the serpent’s root will come forth an adder, and its fruit will be a flying serpent. And the first-born of the poor will feed, and the needy lie down in safety; but I will kill your root with famine, and your remnant I will slay. Wail, O gate; cry, O city; melt in fear, O Philistia, all of you! For smoke comes out of the north, and there is no straggler in his ranks.” What will one answer the messengers of the nation? “The LORD has founded Zion, and in her the afflicted of his people find refuge.”
We continue our Lenten journey in the wisdom of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. And here the prophet gives us a peek into God’s ultimate purpose for the whole world!
And he starts by giving us an insight into the very hard life of the Jews under the control of foreign powers, specifically here the power of Assyria. The Assyrians were constantly threatening Judah with attack and invasion. They were the greatest military power of that day and they wanted to conquer Judah and make Judah part of their Empire. They had already cost the Jews tribute and subjugation in negotiations, and now the prophet was telling the Assyrians and the Jews God is about to intervene!
God is going to bring an end to the Assyrian Empire and the burden that this powerful nation had imposed on His people. And then the prophet let’s slip a powerful insight: “This is the purpose that is purposed concerning the whole earth…”
What was that purpose? Nothing less that freedom from oppression. Nothing less than the downtrodden getting relief. Nothing less than the reality that God’s Nation will become a refuge for all who struggle!
And that, dear ones, is what Jesus Christ offers you today: Freedom. But not some mere political freedom or material possessions. No, this freedom we are offered today in the midst of our Lenten journey is a freedom from the slavery of the passions that keep us locked away in the subjugation to the fear of death and the desires of our unruly heart! That freedom illustrated here in God intervening on behalf of His oppressed people in the Old Testament is seen as God’s purpose for the whole world, you included!
So, today, are you ready to hear that God’s ultimate purpose for you is your freedom? Are you willing to learn that the path to freedom runs through the paradox of the disciplines of the Faith so that your passions no longer oppress you so that you can become by grace what Christ is by nature, and finally be Orthodox on purpose!