06 May 2007

Patience & Trust

An excerpt from the sermon preached today at Holy Incarnation Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church.


There are two kinds of sorrow, two types of grief. One kind we bring upon ourselves, because it traces to the sins we have done and the hurt we have caused. For these offenses we should be brought to contrition, and feel sorry. We should know true sorrow and heartfelt grief for what we’ve done wrong, and for the good we’ve failed to do. And with a contrite heart and a humble spirit, we should seek mercy from God our Father and from those whom we have hurt or offended.

The other kind of sorrow, the other type of grief, is the sorrow and grief we experience when something happens to us. Sometimes we are grieved by the sins of others. We often we grieve because of loss—because someone has moved, or departed this life, or turned against us, or ignored and forgotten us. The sorrow and grief we feel in these instances is different than contrition and remorse. Instead, we feel left alone and forsaken.

Our Lord God does desire that we sorrow and feel contrition for our sins. And such sorrow, such grief, such contrition He does not despise or belittle. For a sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, [God will] not despise; and The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a contrite heart: and he will save the humble of spirit. And so, when Our Lord sees that sorrows fills our heart, He quickly comes to our aid and rushes in with His mercy and embraces us with the full measure of His love and pours upon us the abundance of His loving-kindness.

The same is true when Our Lord sees that we sorrow and grieve because of what has happened to us, or because we have suffered some loss. At these times also, Our Lord is ready and willing and quick to comfort us, to soothe our troubled spirit, to calm our anxious heart, and to console us with His unending solace. This is especially true when He is the cause of our sorrow and grief; when we are heartbroken because of something He has done. For this you should always remember: Our Lord doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. Rather, when He causes grief, when His actions produce sorrow, when His plans—however mysterious—cause us to weep and lament, then there is Our Lord once more, ready to soothe our hurt and give us His comfort and peace which surpasses all human understanding.

Yet the Lord’s comfort and consolation does not always come quickly. Not because He is unwilling or unready, but because He wishes to strengthen our trust and confidence in Him; and because He desires to produce godly patience. Patience and trust—that is the way of all those who hope in the Lord. Patience and trust—that is what draws us closer to Our Lord and urges us to love Him all the more. Patience and trust—that is what our life in God is all about. For when we have patience and trust, then we have true freedom—freedom from fear, freedom from anxiety, freedom from grief and heartache. And when we have patience and trust, then we have put aside our selfish desires, and our passions are aligned to Our Lord and His will.

2 comments:

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Amen.

One thing I am learning is that there is only one real sorrow in the Christian life, and that is my own sin. Nothing else can hurt me. Everything else I suffer is compassion and there's a certain sweetness in that, because it is union with Christ's compassion.

Likewise, there is only one real Joy, and that is Christ.

And there is nothing to fear except insofar as I fail in love. Perfect love casts out fear because perfect love has already given away EVERYTHING. Perfect love gives God and neighbor everything we have, everything we are, everything we do. To the extent we have given it all away, we have nothing more to lose. And having nothing to lose, we have nothing to fear. Or to the extent we do fear, we have not loved.

When times get rough, that's what it all boils down to.

Anastasia

Lvka said...

Thank You, Father. This sermon was posted at the exact time for me, precisely when I needed it, in the same hour of my (rather insignificant) ordeal. I'm only thanking You now, because I only just yesterday made a Google-account. Thank You again, Father, and God bless.