My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
POSSESSED BY MISERY
When one thinks of human misery and suffering one thinks of Job in the Holy Scripture. As we remember he was a man who was blameless, righteous, and God-fearing. He abstained from every evil thing. He had seven sons and three daughters and he was very wealthy. Then one day "the angels of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and the devil also came with them…Does Job worship the Lord for no reason? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his cattle have increased in the land. But stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has and see if he will bless You to Your face. Then the Lord said to the devil, ‘Behold whatever he has I give into your hand; but to not touch him."
We know that the devil sets out to destroy all the wealth, family, faith, love of God, and health of righteous Job. Saint John Chrysostom remarks that Satan’s will is his own, but he derives his power from God Who does not allow him to act except with justice. He cannot bring harm to the faithful, and even profits those who war against him, "for tribulation makes the strong stronger." Job did not blame God with injustice for the evils he had experienced. Saint John Chrysostom says, "It is not the events but the perversity of thoughts that makes us suspect God of meanness."
Job in his misery is an image of Christ on the Cross. He came "in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin; He condemned sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3). Job images our Lord Jesus Christ as SUFFERING SERVANT, High Priest, and Intercessor on behalf of all. As we worship during the Divine Liturgy, we offer ourselves and, because Christ offered Himself first for our sake, we receive acceptance and forgiveness through Him.
Job’s righteousness and God’s faithfulness were demonstrated to all through his suffering according to the Lord’s word. Job was rewarded doubly for his faithfulness and for enduring all the suffering. "The Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before…After the affliction, Job lived one hundred and seventy years, and all the years he lived were two hundred forty-eight; and Job saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days. It is written that he will rise with those whom the Lord resurrects" (Job 42:10-18).
Life is very difficult and unpredictable but we must not allow anything to come between us and our God. We are to stop blaming, grumbling at each other, falling into despair, losing our faith, and ending up miserable for the rest of our lives. There are those who say, "misery loves company." If we are miserable, then everyone should be miserable as well. Stop being envious of everyone around you and instead seek God’s forgiveness, love, guidance, and inspiration and pray for courage. Misery is an evil trap that threatens everything good around you and yes, including people that you love and love you. Allowing yourself to feel despondent, angry, unsuccessful, lost, confused, afraid, and weak, is destructive and self-defeating. Instead, remain steadfast in your faith in God, be hopeful, be honest, be confident, be strong, be positive, be humble, and see that nothing is ever as bad as we imagine it to be.
Wallowing in self-pity does no one any good. You have God on your side and there is nothing that cannot be overcome. "Faith can move mountains." Instead of being intimated by the size of the mountain before you, do what mountain climbers do, see it as a challenge and be determined to climb the mountain all the way to the top. Our Merciful God has given us all the necessary tools that we need to overcome problems, temptations, challenges, illnesses, and hardships. What we should be looking for when we are unhappy is God’s healing. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, came "to heal the brokenhearted." Christ’s Ministry (Diakonia) was of numerous occurrences of healings of "all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease" (Matthew 4:23).
Misery is a disease, it is an illness that needs to be cured by a physician but not just any physician. Our physician can only be the Great Physician, the Heavenly Physician, the Physician of our souls and bodies. You see, misery affects not only the person psychologically, and emotionally but also spiritually. The miserable person is a tormented soul. As Orthodox Christians, we not only consider the body but the soul that gives life to the body. When the body suffers so does the soul. Free your body and soul from misery, from this illness, and from this evil possession. Pray thusly:
"O Lord Almighty, Healer of our souls and bodies, Who puts down and raises up, Who chastises and heals also, visit now in Your mercy Thy servant, N_______ who is ill. Stretch forth Your arm that is full of healing and health, and raise me up and cure me of my illness. Put away the spirit of disease, anxiety, and distress and if I have committed sins and transgressions, grant remission and forgiveness, because You love mankind. Amen.
This prayer as well as every prayer must be offered to God with sincere faith, love, and profound humility. God knows what we need and what we are going through but He needs us to trust Him and be patient and always persevere, never giving up.
As Orthodox Christians we pray, neither commanding God to heal, nor doubting His ability to heal, but pleading for His promised mercy upon all who are ill.
May God bless you and heal you. Amen.
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God