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Faith (During Adversity/Struggle)

“…the apostle writes that “we are not those who draw back to perdition” (Hebrews 10:39.) The word in the Greek refers to those who “shrink back”…like those who pull back from battle. Rather than quit the fight, the apostle writes, we are those who “believe to the saving of the soul” (vs. 39). The word in the Greek text is “faith,” the conviction of the truth, the reliance on God…It is the opposite of surrendering to the trials that we face. The thoughts of confidence, boldness, assurance, and belief are all summed up in the overarching theme of faith. In short, faith is the shield that we should never cast aside. Thus, St. Paul instructs us “to take the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16).” (Fr. Basil)

“To follow Christ is to be his disciple and his witness. To be the witness of Christ is not easy, it takes a lot of patience, discipline, and determination. We witness our faith through our lives and actions…The faith that we hold so dearly. Your only concern is to save people who are lost, give food to the hungry, give cloth to the naked, visit the sick. You sacrifice yourselves trying to make this world a better place to live. You choose to fight evil. And you know this fight will not be easy, but you do it anyway…Through our lives and our actions we demonstrate our beliefs as Christians.” (Matthew Budiharjo)

“Deep within every human person is the desire to be like God—to be immortal, to achieve and experience the fullest possible potential, to see reality as it truly is, to be elevated above the mundanity and struggle of this earthly existence. We all want this, though we express it variously. God places the path before us to receive what we desire as a gift from Him—and that path is faithfulness. This is the second path that Abraham takes when he trusts God’s providence and conceives a child with Sarah, even though biological law told him that that was impossible. Isaac, the child of promise, is born by God’s gift and through the faithfulness of Abraham and Sarah. Likewise, we follow the same path of faithfulness even when it does not make sense to us, even when we do not see how the life in Christ actually leads to becoming like the angels. How many times have we worshiped over and over in church, given our tithes and offerings to the Church and to the poor, given our time in sacrifice to others’ needs, and yet wondered, How can this really be the right path? This seems so hard. Yet this is indeed the path of faithfulness, to receive the promise.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“It is easy to assume that we have strong faith when it seems like everything is going our way. All too often, that means that we have come to trust in ourselves for following a religion that we imagine will give us what we want. When difficult struggles come, however, the truth about our weak souls is revealed. Then we come to see that real faith in God is not about serving or congratulating ourselves, but something entirely different.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“The person that is struggling to the best of his abilities, who has no desire to live a disorderly life, but who—in the course of the struggle for faith and life—falls and rises again and again, God will never abandon.” (Robin Phillips)

“…he [St. Paul] prays that they “may know the love of Christ which passes knowledge” and that they “be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). But why does he pray in this lofty way? Paul was concerned that the believers in Ephesus would lose heart when they thought of all the tribulations that he suffered. Such despair would be natural because Paul was their teacher and shepherd. Like the women who stood at the cross, they would have great sorrow for him. And spiritually and emotionally, they would share his suffering. And that sorrow and experience of suffering might wear their faith down.” (Fr. Basil)

“…Psalm [38] talks about the symptoms David is feeling, arrows that have sunk into him (v. 2), overall feeling unhealthy (v. 3), feeling the weight of iniquity that burdens his soul (v. 4), an overall feeling that he is getting worse (v. 5), a perpetual state of sadness (v. 6), his body aches (v. 7) and he feels spent and crushed (v. 8). Many of us are feeling these kind of symptoms these days, not as a consequence of a sin necessarily, but because of the anxiety related to covid-19 and civil unrest…Many of us will relate to Psalm 38 right now. We are tired, we are frustrated, many of us are worn down to our last nerve. We might even feel that God is distant right now. But this is precisely when we need to double down in our prayers to God, to lay out ourselves before His mercies, to ask for His help and trust in Him.” (Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis)

“It’s easy to feel like a wreck in life. To be able to come before God and just say, “I’ve been a wreck, and yet you still receive me, after all of this.” What a relief. It doesn’t feel like groveling, or getting beat up (as I used to struggle that the penitential language was). No, groveling and getting beat up is that to which life has often reduced me. So it feels freeing, like “coming to my senses” and being honest, naked before the One Who created me. I do not have to be anyone but who I honestly am before Him, even in my brokenness.” (Priest Joel Weir)

“…if we find ourselves amidst long and difficult struggles, sicknesses, passions, or sorrows, if we are worn out and in danger of slipping into despondency or despair, if it seems that God has forgotten or forsaken us, if it seems that the Lord has left His promises to us unfulfilled, if it seems that He has not come to us in time, let us call to mind today’s Gospel [Luke 8:41-56] …faith, hope against all hope – that has always brought the people of God not merely to their deliverance, but to their deification. Never did faith in Christ seem more absurd than when He hung upon the Cross. Yet it was precisely through the Cross that “joy has come to all the world.” So when we ourselves are on the Cross let us neither weary nor waver, but rather remain steadfast in the knowledge that our salvation has never been nearer at hand, as we hear the voice of Christ saying to us once again the words of today’s Gospel: “Be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Hieromonk Gabriel)

“A kind of spiritual fatigue overtakes us and the secular model of reality begins to look ever more tempting; unbelief, moral and religious relativism gain ever more credibility. What do we do then? Where can we take our doubts?… ask Christ to give you the answers, and reveal Himself, and bring you the truth. If you really want to know the truth, Christ will give it to you. But be clear: you must want to find the truth like a starving man wants to find food, like a man dying of thirst in the desert wants to find a watery oasis. If you merely wouldn’t mind knowing the truth, there is no reason to think you will hear from Christ, for you are trifling with God…If you really want the truth, Christ will reveal it to you, for everyone who seeks finds.” (Fr. Lawrence Farley)

“For this is faith. When things are turning out adversely, then we ought to believe that nothing adverse is done but all things in due order…It is the mark of a courageous and noble soul not to despair in adversity.” (St. John Chrysostom, St. John of Karpathos)

“How readily we conclude, because we find ourselves in degrading or demeaning circumstances, that God is neither present nor active in our lives…we are encouraged to trust God with determination. We accept moments of discomfort and refuse to give up (Hebrews 11:15). In those difficult moments when we face the choices that come with faith. when we struggle to go forward, we ‘declare plainly that [we] seek a homeland’ (Hebrews 11:14).” (Dynamis 11/8/2019, 12/21/2018)

“We don’t believe instead of doubting; we believe while doubting…even as faith endures in our secular age, believing doesn’t come easy…Evolutionary psychology and expressive individualism are in the water of our secular age, and only a heroic few can manage to quell their chatter to create an insulated panic room in which their faith remains solidly secure.” (James K.A. Smith)

“We must learn to offer the struggles of our lives to Christ in the same way. Instead of thinking that our problems will magically disappear if we ignore them and pretend that all is well, we must cultivate the faith to reach out to touch the hem of Christ’s garment as best we can, even if we do so with faith only the size of a mustard seed. Instead of accepting that evil has an unbreakable hold on our souls or any circumstance in life, we must offer even our deepest pains and most embarrassing weaknesses to Him again and again. That is how we will open ourselves to receive the healing mercy of the Lord in humility. We must learn to entrust ourselves and our loved ones to Christ, even when we are most strongly tempted simply to give up. Otherwise, we will never acquire the faith that is necessary to share in His life.” (Fr. Philip Le Masters)

“Because a long period of “working” is required before growth becomes manifest, we must not lose heart if we do not obtain immediate results. After all, spiritual growth is not a matter of applying liquid to a dry cube which suddenly swells and doubles in size. Nevertheless, we should not underestimate the potential of small beginnings, whether in ourselves or in the world…God does work in us despite our tiny faith, our instability and timidity!” (Dynamis 7/15/2020)


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