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Providence

“Is your life a series of accidental occurrences? Do things happen to you by chance? The Book of Acts denies these suppositions. In today’s reading [Acts 8:26-39], we found that the Holy Spirit was the prime mover of the life and growth of the church. He was the inspiration and power that lead the church and its individual members to accomplish the will of God. Our secular age believes that life began and developed by random incidents. But for those who look at the world through the witness of Luke, there is nothing haphazard about the creation or about history. Thus, if we are to follow the Word of the scriptures, we must recover the trust in God’s sovereignty. Within all that exists and behind all that happens is the rule of God, who governs it all…St. Paul said, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).” (Fr. Basil)


“Divine providence surrounds all persons at all times, but it is not visible except to those who have purified their souls of sin and think about God at all times. To these it is luminously revealed at that time; because when they have undergone great temptations for the sake of truth, then they receive the faculty to perceive sensibly as if with eyes of flesh also when necessary, even palpably, according to the kind and cause of the temptation, as if for greater encouragement.” (St. Isaac the Syrian)


“Do not say, ‘this happened by chance, while this came to be of itself.’ In all that exists, there is nothing disorderly, nothing indefinite, nothing without purpose, nothing by chance… How many hairs are on your head? God will not forget one of them. Do you see how nothing, even the smallest thing, escapes the gaze of God?” (St. Basil the Great)


“…usually the reasons for the Lord’s work remain obscure and even confusing. Why didn’t He save Dietrich Bonhoeffer from hanging? Why didn’t He save six million Jews from the gas chambers? Why doesn’t He save us from whatever suffering we are currently experiencing that feels overwhelming and crushing? We don’t have the answers to these questions, and this often compounds our suffering. Like Mary and Martha, we feel that the Lord has let us down or even betrayed us for no apparent reason. In these times of confusion, Jesus’ response to Mary and Martha is comforting. When Martha shared her feelings with Jesus (John 11:21), and later when Mary did the same (11:32), He did not rebuke them for complaining and feeling confused. Instead, He identified with their pain, even weeping with them, while gently directing their attention to God’s presence (John 11:35, 40–41).” (Robin Phillips)


“Perhaps few things can cause interference in our relationship with God more than hypervigilance and overcontrol. Hypervigilance fixes our gaze on threats that have not materialized, and overcontrol can prevent us from seeing God’s providence. Hypervigilance prevents us from living in the present moment and from seeing the beauty and gifts God has given us. This includes our family, our loved ones, and our neighbor. Hypervigilance also disrupts our prayer life, as we find it difficult to focus completely on God for a significant period of time.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“Do I really and truly believe that no hardship can separate me from the love of God? Do I really and truly believe that everything that happens—however difficult it is for me—has been arranged for my benefit?” (St. Dorotheos)


“Even though God arranges all trials for our benefit, we do not always understand how. In most of the trials we face, the ultimate purpose remains hidden from view. That is where it is so stabilizing to place confidence in God’s promises rather than in our own reason. God’s promises assure us that there must be a positive purpose to even the most difficult trials, regardless of whether or not we understand it…To believe in God’s promises…does not mean you will never feel confused, lonely, vulnerable, anxious, or insecure. Rather, it means that you can turn to God in and through these difficult conditions. The more you turn to God, the more you can begin seeing all that happens to you as organized by Divine Love for your benefit. Consequently, you can believe that there must be a positive purpose to even the most challenging circumstances. You can begin to see all trials as opportunities instead of obstacles (James 1:2–3).” (Robin Phillips)


“The work of God’s providence surrounds us at all times, though our hearts are frequently out-of-tune with the eternal hymn of its working. We are deeply aware of every offense against goodness, every tragedy, every rumor of evil, while we constantly ignore how we are preserved in health, delivered from danger, and overshadowed by God’s brooding goodness. In the math of good and evil, the miracle of our very existence seems to be factored as a zero.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“Is your life a series of accidental occurrences? Do things happen to you by chance? The Book of Acts denies these suppositions. In today’s reading, we found that Holy Spirit was the prime mover of the life and growth of the church. He was the inspiration and power that lead the church and its individual members to accomplish the will of God. Our secular age believes that life began and developed by random incidents. But those who look at the world through the witness of Luke, there is nothing haphazard about the creation or about history. Thus, if we are to follow the Word of the scriptures, we must recover the trust in God’s sovereignty. Within all that exists and behind all that happens is the rule of God, who governs it all.” (Fr. Basil)


“We should hope in God’s providence, and since we believe that God is watching over us, we should take courage and throw ourselves into His love, and then we will see Him constantly beside us…” (St. Porpyrios)


“We have a deep, fearful resistance to the notion of Divine providence. The fear is that nothing good will come unless we make it come, and that dependence on Divine providence is the same as doing nothing. It is a tragic circle in which we believe that only our exercise of power can order the world, coupled with the fear that it will not be enough. Any yielding in our drive for control is seen as an invitation to disaster.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“…success is only found if we are all true to the purpose and work which has been “prepared in advance” for us to do; if we are content to act within providence, rather than take matters into our own hands.” (Greg Wright)

“The all-good Providence of God always arranges what is most beneficial for us, while in our ignorance, we very often strive for the very opposite.” (St. Ambrose of Optina)

“One should furthermore bear in mind that the ways of God’s providence are many, and that they can neither be explained in words nor grasped by the mind.” (St. John of Damascus)

“If the providence of God does not preside over human affairs, we have no need to busy ourselves about religion.” (St. Augustine)


#FatherStephenFreeman #GregWright #StAmbroseofOptina #StJohnofDamascus #StAugustine #StDorotheos #RobinPhillips #FrBasil #StPorpyrios #FrBasil #StIsaactheSyrian #StBasiltheGreat #RobinPhillips #FrJoshuaMakoul

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