We must have our gaze fixed on heaven. Then nothing here can shake us. When tribulations come of their own accord, do not fear them. Do not think they came by chance or coincidence. No, they are engulfed by the incomprehensible Providence of God.
Priest Dimitry Vidumkin
Among Orthodox Christians, there is a well known saying - an excerpt from a poem by the famous Russian poet Apollon Maykov: "The deeper the sorrow, the closer is God." It's about how in moments of life's trials, heavy sorrows, and illnesses, we need to feel the presence of God in our lives reliably, clearly, and convincingly. This feeling, together with the understanding of God's close sympathy to our sorrows should be found living in our hearts, actively strengthening and consoling us.
It should... but do we truly feel this in these moments? Priests today are increasingly confronted with the opposite; the abundance of sorrows and trials makes a person very troubled: "Why is this happening to me? Why me? Why now? What's the purpose for this pain?" It oppresses him, leads a weak person to doubt the reality of the Providence of God; it causes weakness of faith, and as a result, brings people to the brink of despair. And I'm talking about believers and church people, those who in the event of spiritual problems are the first to run to a priest for an explanation.
Why is this happening? Why do the poet's important words, which sound like an indisputable, obvious truth to the believing consciousness, often remain for the Christian only a formal truth that does not have a personal, empirical conformation for him?
Why does it become "dead" truth, on which he can't rely? This is an important question that requires a clear answer.
Our time is filled with sorrows, they are by the grace of The Creator an instrument of God's Providence, at the same time, they also manage to serve "two masters", becoming "loyal servants" of the enemy of the human race. It is this weapon that our enemy uses most effectively, undermining the faith of the weak in the wisdom of God's Providence, causing cowardice, murmuring, and despair.
All of this leaves a person with only sorrow itself alone, depriving them of a saving fruit, which can also come from moments of sorrow.
The Holy Scriptures call upon a person in moments of sorrow to turn to God: "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me." Psalm 49:15 Our Lord Jesus Christ fully experienced all of those sufferings and tribulations that we face in our lives, and He has shown us an example of the fulfillment of the Psalmist's call. He often departs from the disciples to pray for a long time in solitude, and not uncommonly this happened at night. It was deep, long, and zealous prayer to the Father that strengthened Christ on His Way of the Cross. And this is the first thing we need to contemplate and comprehend. The holy Hierarch St. Ignatius Brianchaninov calls Christians to the same work of prayer in moments of sorrow:
When sorrows surround us, it is necessary to hasten to prayer to attract the special grace of God. Only with the help of special grace can we trample all temporary disasters.
When tribulations come of their own accord, do not fear them. Do not think they came by chance or coincidence. No, they are engulfed by the incomprehensible Providence of God.
Only when we calm down, and understand that the Lord has everything under control, can we then, inspired by this truth, become open to prayer. But this prayer should be zealous, long, heartfelt, and full of unshakeable hope that it will be heard. Only such a prayer will lead to deliverance:
From out of the pressing circumstances that compass us about, we must force ourselves to remember God, to turn to God with the most zealous prayer for deliverance. Deliverance will NOT be slow to come.