Saturday, October 3, 2009
Fortitude, Sunshine, Admire, Pickles, Faith (part 2)
Okay, so as I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted, the way this meme works is I received the above five words from Rosezilla down in sunny Florida. Someone had given five words to her to write about (Moment, Finish, Sound, Carry, and Fact) and now I’m supposed to write about five more words she has given to me. Rosezilla changed the rules a little bit and I will follow her lead. Anyone who wants to can participate; I am not going to choose people. Let me know in a comment if you want to play and I will send you five words of your very own to write about. The point is to reveal something of oneself to others.
Here are my five little essays:
Fortitude - I hardly know where to begin. Buried deep in my gray matter is the phrase “Patience and fortitude!” but I cannot say where I first heard it or when or from whom. I think I was being told to hang in there, stay the course, finish the task, don’t give up the ship and all that. Some people say there are four Cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude) and three Theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity), making a total of seven. We’ll leave the other six for another time and concentrate on fortitude. Fortitude is not courage exactly, but what is it? One dictionary defines it as “mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously” and another as “strength of mind that allows one to endure pain or adversity with courage.” The Latin root, fortis, means strong or brave. I think of a Bible verse, I Corinthians 16:13, where Paul tells the people of Corinth, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” I also think of the first nine verses of the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua, where the same instruction is repeated several times, once in negative form:
“After the death of Moses the LORD’s servant, the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, “Now that my servant Moses is dead, you must lead my people across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Everywhere you go, you will be on land I have given you--from the Negev Desert in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River on the east to the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and all the land of the Hittites.’ No one will be able to stand their ground against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. Be strong and courageous, for you will lead my people to possess all the land I swore to give their ancestors. Be strong and very courageous. Obey all the laws Moses gave you. Do not turn away from them, and you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed. I command you--be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
Some people say that if you hear voices you are loony, and that if you think the voice you hear is God’s, you are especially loony, perhaps even certifiably insane. I am 68 years old. I have lived a long time. I have not always acted with courage and fortitude. I have not always been strong. But in these troubled times it is not loony to follow God’s instructions as best you can, especially when what you believe He is telling you to do is to watch, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, and be strong. The world needs more people, both men and women, who are willing to do that.
And I know this also: When I admit that I am weak, that I need help, that I can’t do it myself, then I am strong, because God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. And the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Click here to listen to a song that says it better that I can.
I have written only the first essay. The other four should be along shortly.