My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ God,..
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
TRUSTING IN GOD
"IN THOU, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame… You
are my trust from my youth. By You I have been upheld from birth;
You are He Who took me out of my mother’s womb…" (Psalm 71:1, 5-6).
"They are tripped up because they fear and stand in awe of men;
but he who trusts in the Lord will rejoice." (Proverbs 29:25-26).
"And we have such trust through Christ toward God" (2 Corinthians 3:4)
As we grow and mature spiritually we come to the realization that human intellect and power are not sufficient to obtain all those things which we desire and hope for in life. We need to set our pride aside and with true humility ask the One Who we trust more than anyone in the world, the Almighty God.
One needs to overcome the temptation to attribute all that is accomplished in life to his/her intelligence, hard work, indivdual talents, and sound business choices or prudent investments alone. A wise person is a person who understands his or her human limitations and seeks to trust in God for HIs guidance and inspiration. The spiriutally mature person is the one who acknowledges his weasknesses and as he progresses spiriually becomes more dependent on God and less on himself. Jesus Himself says, "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it" (Mark 10:15). Childrens hearts are pure, innocent, and in their openness and genuine trust. This is what the Orthodox Christian should be like "a little child." A child is totally dependent on his or her parents for everything and indeed, his/her relationship is based on love and trust.
Being in the presence of Geronda (Elder) Ephraim of Philotheou and Saint Anthony’s in Arizona one sensed not only his saintliness, humility, love, but also a childlike innocense. I felt the same way when I met Metropolitan Antonios of Siatista, Greece some years ago. Before me was a Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Church but at the same time when speaking with him it was as though you were in the presence of a child. He did not act like a child but he had this purity and genuine honesty and innocence about him. Meeting both of them I was reminded of Jesus’ words of how a Christian must become "as a little child" in order to enter the Kingdom of God. In my mind that was truly manifested in both Geronda Ephraim and Metropolitan Antonios. Therefore, my friends, it can be done by the grace of God.
How can ayone of us claim to believe in Jesus Christ and to not trust Him? How can we profess to be followers of Jesus Christ and not to trust Him? How can we faithful, be willing to confess our love in Him but not trust Him? How could we be willing to die for Him and not trust Him? How can we be willing to abide by His commandments and not to trust Him? How can we openly confess that He is our Savior but not trust Him? How can we be obident to Him and not trust Him? How can we preach His Gospel and not to trust Him? Trust is necessary if our faith in God is true and real. There cannot be a personal relationship with our Savior and God without trust. As a matter of fact no relationship is possible without trust whether between husband and wife, between friends, among co-workers, relatives, between priest and parishioners, between teachers and students, between fellow soldiers who protect eachother during battle without real trust.
The problem with human beings is that we have shown to God again and again that we cannot be trusted. Our Creator has always kept all His promises to us throughout time and space. Mankind has betrayed God and His Divine Commandments consistently and often without any shame or repentance. There is no justification for ouir actions and to lack of our fidelity to Him. Our sinful lives proves our deliberate defiance to God’s will and disobedience. We at times say that we trust Him except when things go wrong and then we tend to lose both faith and trust in Him. This reminds me of the time "when Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side… but the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary… Jesus went to them walking on the sea… they were troubled, saying ,’it is a ghost!’ But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! IT IS I; DO NOT BE AFRAID.’ And Peter answered Him and said, LORD IF IT IS YOU, COMMAND ME TO COME TO YOU ON THE WATER. SO HE SAID ‘COME.’ AND WHEN PETER HAD COME DOWN OF THE BOAT, HE WALKED ON THE WATER TO GO TO JESUS. BUT WHEN HE SAW THAT THE WIND WAS BOISTROUS, HE WAS AFRAID, AND BEGINNING TO SINK, HE CRIED OUT, SAYING, ‘LORD SAVE ME!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O YOU OF LITTLE FAITH, WHY DID YOU DOUBT?
It is true that when we find ourselves in the stormy sea of life, we too lose our faith and trust in Christ we begin to also sink out of fear. We too hesitate and "doubt" because of our weak faith and trust and by taking our eyes off Christ and instead focusing on the storm or storms in our lives. The believer makes every effor no matter what the conditions are to have our Savior on our sights. When that becomes a reality then we will have the strength to meet the challenges head on and to surrender to the immediate threat. Fear as we know it can do a lot of damage. Fear renders the person unable to act, it makes one freeze in place, and it paralizes the person. Our Lord helps us overcome fear when we reach out to Him and cry out to Him "Lord save me!" Jesus does just that. We clearly see here how quickly the Lord answers our prayer and stretches out His hand and catches us. Prayers do not have to be long but prayer ought to be sincere and founded on faith. Just the words common to all Orthodox Christians "Kyrie eleison" ("Lord, have mercy") is enough. Or the more extendent prayer we say, the Jesus Prayer or the Prayer of the heart, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."
"Glory Be To GOD