Very often, when we find ourselves feeling unequal to a particular task, we'll offer a short prayer, "Lord, give me strength."
In these times, I wonder if that prayer is enough.....
I just read an article from a "like" link on Facebook from a guy who is a minister (i.e. NOT Orthodox), but who is nonetheless immersed in his vocation, and wanting to live according to what he's preached for a long time. But in his own life, there was strife, turmoil, disease and sickness, failure, troubles of all kinds, to the point of his being himself broken. And it brought him to the realization that in fact the oft used platitude, "God won't give you more than you can handle," is in fact a lie. He goes to prove the non-scriptural nature of this platitude. Indeed, there is in Scripture the following from the pen of Saint Paul: "God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear." (1Cor 10:13) But this is not about spiritual burdens, it's about temptation! What happens when literally everything in our lives get turned upside down, and we don't know where to turn? It is a times like this that we as priests don't necessarily have the right words to offer. And yet, we must offer what we can. What is that?
Saint Paul answers the question of "burdens beyond our ability" later, in Second Corinthians, when he says, "We do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life." (2Cor 8)
Saint Paul sounds pretty conquered there, I think. But his teaching doesn't stop here. He continues. "Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God, who raises the dead." (2Cor 9)
God allows burdens to come our way. Some are light. Some are heavy. Never forget that our Lord could not bear the physical burden of His cross as He went to Golgotha. "But when they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross." (Mat 27:32) And so a servant, one whom He had created, helped Jesus bear that physical burden to the place where He would give up His life.
If Jesus as God is able to accept the help of His creation to overcome a burden in the flesh, we then too must be ready to accept the help of God to bear our burdens in the spirit! There will be times when we aren't able to carry them alone.
If God the Son vouchsafed to lean on us, His creation, to help Him carry a physical burden too hard for Him to bear, will He not be standing by to help us carry our spiritual burdens when they become too hard for us? Yes, there will be times when we have been burdened beyond our ability. There is no sin, but rather only virtue, in seeking help! God's help can come in many ways, and most of them (after the burden is removed) will appear to us to have been miraculous! But let us never reject God's help, in whatever form it may be offered.
He will be faithful to give us the strength we need to go as far as we can and then to rely on His help.
Give us the strength to do both, Lord!
Welcome to Saint Herman's, Hudson, Ohio
This blog is a partial compilation of the messages, texts, readings, and prayers from our small mission community. We pray that it will be used by our own people, to their edification. And if you happen by and are inclined to read, give the glory to God!
The blog title, "Will He Find Faith on the Earth?" is from Luke 18:8, the "Parable of the Persistent Widow." It overlays the icon of the Last Judgment, an historical event detailed in Matthew Chapter 25, for which we wait as we pray in the Nicean Creed.
We serve the Holy Orthodox cycle of services in contemporary English. Under the omophorion of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Bulgarian Patriarchal Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia, we worship at 5107 Darrow Road in Hudson, Ohio (44236). If you are in the area, please join us for worship!
Regular services include:
Sunday Divine Liturgy 10AM (Sept 1 - May 31)
930AM (June 1 - Aug 31)
Vespers each Saturday 6PM
We pray that you might join us for as many of these services as possible! We are open, and we welcome inside the Church all visitors who follow state COVID guidelines. See our most recent COVID statement at our Parish web page: