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Trials Teach.

May the Lord give us all the spiritual and physical strength to survive these times. Send, O Lord, Thy mercy to every one of us. Enlighten all of us, O Lord, and give us enough time for the salvation of our souls through repentance.

Confusion, bewilderment and anxiety seize the souls of people not only at challenging and confusing times, but also in everyday life. The thing is that all our fears, in one way or another, resurface and become evident at the moments of particular instability or danger. So, how should we continue with our lives? How can we endure those times?

Generally speaking, a human soul always anticipates the imminent approach of certain events and sometimes shows a certain level of anxiety beforehand. What’s important here is to prepare ourselves in the right way.

God is the source of our spiritual power.

Of course, if we leisurely waste our time, what we get as a result is something like a spiritual inner revolt. Man begins to flounder, or even grossly overestimate the scale of this or that problem in his life. The holy fathers counsel us to live life according to faith. As for the fears resulting from certain events and personal situations in life, they arise from mistrust towards God and the lack of living faith.

It is easy to talk and think about it, but in practice, everything is much more complicated. We can see how some people, seemingly devout Christians, suddenly break down once they end up feeling pain or have some emergency. This is also a kind of test of the firmness of our faith, whether it is a living faith, as we typically spend much time talking about it. But in actual practice, it often happens that we distrust God and lose ourselves in this cycle of events.

So, what are we to do? Above everything else, we should make an effort to pray. Even if we don’t want to, we must force ourselves to pray, and the Lord will see our zeal and bestow the gift of true prayer upon us, along with the power to cope with difficulties.

“Anything that comes from our enemy expels peace of mind and our hope in a better outcome. Why don’t we live in peace, pray to God and trust Him! Doesn’t the Lord know how to protect His children from times of calamity, as long as our hearts stay faithful to Him? A life replete with adversities teaches us how to pray. It was during my time in prison that I learned to pray genuinely, and it happened that way because I was on the brink of death every day.”

This also tells us that we are now learning to pray genuinely, not just with our lips, but also in our hearts, and we direct our prayer up towards God, with every breath and every word. Even in our time, many people wonder: “Why do we need all these tribulations? Why can’t God take it all from our life at once? He is God, after all, and He can do this!” But have we fulfilled His commandments? Ah, how many more questions can we ask ourselves? Woefully, the answers will be far from positive.

The elder says the following in response:

“By no means, this is an idle question, and all men face it sooner or later; and our life itself provides an answer for us. It is because life is taught by life. Besides, the answer depends on one essential point, namely: “What kind of faith do you have?" I will not tire of saying the words of the holy fathers who walked the arduous path of a life full of sorrows and discovered peace and joy in God. The core of our strength hinges on their teachings, so that we don’t grow weak: ‘There is nothing that was created on earth that was not created by God, because God is at the beginning of it all’."

Nothing happens in this world without God, and we must acknowledge this before all else. The Lord knows what we are supposed to have, and we shouldn’t blame one another for anything. Moreover, we shouldn’t murmur against God.

Archimandrite John Krestiankin repeatedly taught:

“Our hope and strength is in the unshakeable conviction that there is absolutely nothing in the world that happens without God, but that everything that happens is either according to His will, or He allows it to happen. It is by His will and by His action that all good things are made. The opposite happens only because He allows it to happen, when the omnipotence of God leaves us alone because of the filthiness and hardness of our hearts, and allows the devil or unrighteous passions of the flesh have tyranny over us. It so happens that it is in these heart-wrenching moments when we should unshakably realize that God is all-encompassing love and blessing. Anything that comes from Him is for our benefit. As for the Lord’s method, it can’t be scrutinized, but we should never get discouraged or murmur when we cannot understand what is going on with us. It is in such moments that man manifests the work of faith and aquires the crown of salvation.”

May the Lord give us all the spiritual and physical strength to survive these times. Send, O Lord, Thy mercy to every one of us. Enlighten all of us, O Lord, and give us enough time for the salvation of our souls through repentance. Glory to God for everything! Amen.

Glory to Thee our God.

+ Glory to Thee for All Things! +

Translation by Liubov Ambrose


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