Last fall, I did the unthinkable: I became a binge-TV-watching couch potato, diving into all three seasons of the BBC adaptation of “The Musketeers” – and my newfound habit was supported by an entire global community of Twitter peeps hashtagging the same series. I was not looking for “God moments.” My only aim was to satisfy my curiosity about the love story between Musketeer Aramis and Queen Anne — and I did, and experienced all the brilliantly crafted stories, characters, action, costumes, and chivalry. It was a fantastic cinematic work, and surprisingly, peppered with quite a few “God moments” (just like God to show up when you least expect Him!).
I want to share with you one small moment in episode 1 of Season 3, so spiritually monumental that I couldn’t let it go — in fact, I rewound it multiple times because I was so awestruck by what was happening. [SPOILER ALERT!]
By the opening of the third season, Musketeer Aramis had been serving as a monk for four years, living up to the vow he made to God at the end of Season 2 that he would dedicate his life to God’s service for saving the Queen, and himself, from death for their treasonous affair. When the monastery comes under attack, Aramis is unexpectedly reunited with his Musketeer brothers —and reconnected with his purpose. After the monastery is secured, we find Aramis standing in the upper balcony of the chapel, talking to God, considering his future. He says:
“I thought I understood Your plan. Now You seem to be showing me another path. In the middle of all the danger and excitement today, You were closer to me than at any time in all my years here. I’ve never felt so… ALIVE. This is what You made me… [smiles in revelation]… a Musketeer.”
Stop! Was this character just standing there having a conversation out loud with the invisible God? And was he just in the middle of seeking and understanding God’s purpose for his life?
I love this scene because it points out very simply and beautifully how we can talk with God and how we can hear from God. I also appreciate this complex and imperfect character mirroring our own devotion to God, our own struggle with sin, and yet persevering to constantly seek God’s will. Let’s explore that for a second.
Aramis had been a conflicted character throughout the series. On one side he was a man of faith completely devoted to God, often seen praying or reading his Bible, and even his uniform reflected his minister status. He was loyal to the King’s service and his fellow Musketeers. He was merciful in battle and showed great compassion to the disenfranchised in need of justice, and even the criminals brought to justice by the Musketeer’s hand. And yet, on the other side, Aramis was drawn into forbidden romantic relationships, with Queen Anne being the most consequential and life-altering.
Conflicted, complex, imperfect Aramis represents Everyman (let’s just say Everychristian) because we, as Christians saved by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, are all imperfect, complex and often conflicted. Any one of us could complete this description:
[INSERT YOUR NAME _____________] is completely devoted to God, often seen praying or reading the Bible, loyal to friends and family, a fantastic employee, etc. and yet, drawn to [INSERT SIN STRUGGLE____________].
We can be shocked, dismayed, or judgmental about the choices made by Aramis, but if we’re honest, we are all struggling with vices, choices, and addictions that we need God’s help to overcome, whether in thought or action — and those struggles can be a stark contrast to our love for God.
Here are some points we can take away from Aramis’ prayer:
- Prayer is just a conversation with God. Prayer takes on different methods and forms. I’m not an expert, but the big idea is to communicate with God daily. Whether you bow your head in a private place, speak out loud while you’re washing dishes, or end up on the floor in brokenness, God wants to hear from you. “The Lord is near to all who call on him…” (Psalm 145:18)
- God has a mission for YOU. Since this is not 16th century Paris, God is probably not calling you to be a Musketeer, but whether it’s a nurse, doctor, architect, social worker, police officer, teacher, software engineer, janitor, chef, actor, or a million other roles, God’s mission for you is important, and it will encompass the skills and abilities that he has been preparing you to use. Much like Aramis rediscovered the joy and passion in serving God as the Musketeer he was equipped to be, God will equip you for what He’s calling you to do, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
- You don’t have to be involved in ministry or be “spiritual” to be closer to God. Every day is an opportunity to nurture and deepen your relationship with God by spending time with Him, relying on Him, reading His Word and listening for His voice. If you can take a retreat week/weekend to spend extra focused time with Him, you may be surprised at how and what He speaks to you, but the most important part is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
- God’s calling for you can fulfill your deepest passions. It’s not God’s desire for you to sleep-walk through life. He created each of us with passions and abilities. Similar to Aramis realizing the point at which he felt most “alive” was relying on God in his role as a Musketeer, the place where your passions and abilities intersect with God’s plan for you (and meet the needs of His people!) is an unparalleled “sweet spot” that will allow you to experience God in a deeper, more passionate way. “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11)
- God’s mission for you can change. God has a plan for you in all seasons of life. As Aramis said, “I thought I understood Your plan. Now you seem to be showing me another path…” God will show you His plans “when you seek Him with all of your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13), whether you seek him in the upper balcony of the monastery, the shower, or the middle of your living room floor.
If this article is sparking questions in your mind like “How can I hear the voice of God?” “How can I know what God is calling me to do?” “How do I know what I’m equipped for?” I invite you to begin a conversation with your pastor or ministry leader. None of us involved in ministry have it all together — it’s just our passion to come alongside you and help you discover God’s work in your own life.
Join me on the journey!