The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 9 years ago

Learning to Trust God When You Feel Helpless

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God's mysterious Providence, hearranges circumstances which are beyond us in order to change us in order to expose us to our need forhis help to call us to a greater faith in him. How will we increase our faith,brothers and sisters if we're not regularly in circumstances that demandmore than we have ancient faith? Radio and patristicnectar publications present the arena Sunday Homilyes and theologicalreflections with father, Jossiah Trena, Father Jessiah is the pastor of SaitAndrew Orthodox Christian Church in Riverside California. He is also thefounder of Patristic Nectrapublications, a nonprofit organization committed tonourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathersfor more information on patristic nectrar publications. Please visit ourwebsite at www, dot, patristic nectar, Dodorg and now Father Jessiah, an the name of the father and of theson of the Holy Spirit won God, brothers and sisters. I had lunch this week with very fine riverside paft er named Raol Diaz, pastor, Dias overseas, the hewlan shelter, where we serve the homeless in our parish, aswell as many other churches ind riverside. Is He also oversees a numberof transitional homes? Working on the ground in a verybeautiful and a successful way with people who have run into very difficultdays, helping them to put themselves...

...back on a road of stability personally in theirfamilies, with their jobs, helping them to connect to God through the midst ofit. All I admire him, and one of the reasons Imet with him was to, besides to build a network for mutual encouragement, was to process my own aunst as a pastor, because one of the great challenges,one of the most challenging pearts of the Pastorat, is livingthrough difficult circumstances and feeling inadequate feeling that you are not able toaddress the need that is before you. Sometimes. I feel that way. Just this week, this was manifested, and the irony ofthe circumstance was poignant. I was approached by one of ourparishioners who is trying to help a friend get out of the gang life, a life of violence and a life of drugsand of instability, and we were discussing. Could thisperson come here? Could this person make a successful transition if hedesired it to find e Holy Orthodoxy at SaintAndrew? We were discussing this. I wasn't certain. Neither was theperson with whom I was speaking. We were discussing what the best way to goabout. This was what was the best way for us as a parish and myself as apriest to minister to this person. Could we actually do it? Do we have that breath yet of diversityso that we can, minister, at the same time, to the educated and theuneducated to the stable and the...

...unstable to those who come to thechurch, perhaps from a different religious background, but with theirspiritual life intact and those who really are in a wretched condition? Canwe do this? There's no easy answer to that. This is something we're growing intoand I think the the more our parish grows in soul in love in diversity that Godprovides the more we can chare that kind of grace to help, but I wasn'treally sure I wasn't really sure I feel very pleased, I'm rejoicing at the fact thatthe Lord is the center of our parish and that allows us to unite around thefaith. People who normally would not be together, but this is asking what I wascontemplating- is something much more serious, much more serious. So this is, on the one hand this sameweek I was blessing a house and a story was related to me from the exactopposite angle. I was blessing this house and one ofour parisioners related to me a very sad interaction that she had had at one of our sister parishes. While at this parish she was discussingwith one of the parishioners there why they attended that parish instead ofour Paris Saint Andrew, even though, geographically we were closer and she heard something she neverdreamed. She would ever hear- and I'm emperassed almost to say it from the pulpit the person lookd at herand said I'd like to come to Saint Andrew, but you have too many blacksand Mexican. My scandalizing you, I hope not. I hopeyou all know that the church is very big,...

...very big and a great feeld that has init both the wise and the foolish, both the smart and the idiots. Yes, this kind of satanic racism isfrightening, even to mention, I think, I'd rather be an addict and ina gang than a person who looks upstanding. Butin his heart is a man hater depending upon the color of one's skin. How uncomfortable this person will bein the Kingdom of Heaven where there will be persons from every tribe tongue,people and nation there as a marvelous collage of the Lord God's creative work. But my point is this: its not just thatyou can never win for losing, which is exactly how I felt I thought on onehand we're not diverse enough yet to be able to address all the ministry needsthat are potentially before us and, on the other hand, were twodiverse for some can't win can't win, but what it leftme feeling was somewhat paralyzed. I felt very muchlike the apostles in the account to day the apostles had been given the powerof Christ. They had been given his word. They had been given a charge to heal,to raise the dead, to cast out demons to cleanse lepers all in the name ofChrist, and they were about doing that until today, until they met this grieved father, whohad a son who was a lunatic, it was demandpossessed and he was ill and he was on the verge of deathconstantly being thrown into fire and thrown into water,...

...and the apostles met this man and theywere ineffective. They could not help him d. They weredistressed by this. The father said to Jesus. I brought myson to your disciples and they could not cure him, and the disciples didn'tdispute this, but they later asked the Lord Lord. Why could we not cast thisout and the Lord? Let them know that it wasabove them that they were facing at that time in their life, a ministrythat they could not execute. They did not yet have the faith or the asceticism that was necessary toeffect the Cure. Their faith wasn't large enough andthey weren't fasters and prayers in sufficient zeal with sufficient zeal toaccomplish this work. They couldn't defeat the devil in him. This left them feeling, undone, undone and confused. You know to have the priesthood is one thing to have the faith to exercise thepriesthood fully. This is something else. Anyone who has read the life of SaintJohn of Cronstat knows that to possess the priesthoo is one thingand to live it in faith is something else to read his life. To read that life ofthat humble priest from Kranstat, whose accomplishments and good deeds can'teven be numbered. They can't be listed his own autobiography. Is this thick. I re. I've read accounts of himentering into people's homes. To do a normal house blessing. He went intopeople's House to do a house blessing, but t there was nothing routine abouthis house blessing. You absolutely had no idea what he was going to say to youwhat he was going to do. What posture...

...he would ask you to assume on the floorbefore the icons. Was He going to ask you to prostrate? Was He going to askyou to go? Get your neighbor to visit their house, the person who was sickmicthor. He was a man who was living by faith, who saw the power of God and thepotential to live his priesthood beautifully, and the fruit was immense.The fruit was immense. It is very challenging not just forpastors BFOR, all of us to find ourselves in difficult andpainful circumstances that sometimes we can't do anything about. We find it ourselves over our heads.This reality faces us in our families. It faces us in our relations with ourneighbors in our businesses. Sometimes we want to be of assistanceand we can't be. We ought sympathized with the father.He deeply loved his son. The son was so tormented so near death.Can you imagine a more miserable condition than wondering every day if your child would die, the child was literally thrown intoflames and into pools of water? Constantly every parent has a collection ofmemories, maybe two three four, hopefully not more than that. Everyparent has a collection of memories of near death experiences for theirchildren, where they almost were loft or almost run over by a car. Some of US carry even more grievousmemories in which it actually happened. This man lived it every day, that's how miserable he was. He wasliving it every day in this kind of fear outside of Hell. I don't think,there's a greater misery to see our children in Satan's grasp like thiscaptive to do his will.

We can sympathize with him and if it'snot possession like that, maybe we don't have that same kind ofdemonic possession so obvious today, although we certainly have some but slavery to Satan can show itself ina lot of different ways, especially amongst the young, through abandonmentof any regard for character, for holiness, for the Church for the family,for one's name, a disregard for health, a disregard for the normal use of timefor work and sleep of reputation and a sudden, a refusal to take wisecouncel instead, a jumping into drug use or sexual proflicacy, or in acomplete enslavement to doing one's own will at every moment the worst kind ofslavery. We see this kind of satanic slavery, all around US brothers scestall around us. We can mourn with his father as we feel so helpless, but I want you to see in this accountwhat this is really about. You know our Lord engage this man and his son, just aftercoming down from the Mount of transfiguration, it's very similar to what happened tothe prophet Moses was, and he was on the top of Mount Sini. He went up underthe top of Mount Saini saw. The beauty of the Lord himself participated in theuncreated energies of God was radiant and then came down the mountain to what unbelief and idolatry so grieved was he that he broke thecommandments into pieces. The Lord did the same thing. He was onthe top of the mountain. He came down the mountain and this is what heconfronted. He confronted disciples who didn't have enough faith to exercisetheir gifts and a man who didn't have...

...enough faith to trust him to heal hisson and Jesus exclaimed one of the few places in the Gospels. Would you see anexpression of exasperation from the Lord like this? He says: Oh you ofunbelieve. How long must I put up with you? This gospel account seems to be about ason, but it's not really a Bedison. The Sun is the occasion for the meetingof the disciples and the father with Christ and for the revelation of thereal issue, and that is that the providence of God is behind all of thecircumstances in our life. Every suffering, every difficulty is in thehand of God, and what we're called to do is toengage in every one of those circumstances in faith to trust, with full confidence in theLord's plan for our life, regardless of what we see in front of us at thatmoment. This shows us that the process oftransfiguration is a process of self discovery. If wewant to shine, we have to discover ourselves. We haveto embrace the humiliation that comes from challenging circumstances ofeveryday life, leaving US grasping. We have to acquire a profound sense ofinadequacy in our own strength, our own power and our own abilities, andthrough this grasp, rely on the Lord confidently that he will take usthrough. He will be our strength. He will grabour hands, pull us through the challenging circumstances in which wefeel helpless and put us on a solid rock lift us from the ABYSSE and affixourselves to himself. It looks like the accounts about a son,but it's not really about that. It's about the father and it's about thedisciples and it's about both of their...

...lack of Fateh in lack of trust. In God. This is often the case with us, God's mysterious providence. Hearranges circumstances which are beyond us in order to change us in order to expose us to our need forhis help to call us to a greater faith in him. How will we increase our faith,brothers and sisters if we're not regularly in circumstances that demandmore than we have? We can allow the cloud of despondencyto lay on our heads because we feel like we can't do anything or we cantake that cloud and we can turn that cloud to spiritual progress. O Lordincrease my faith build confidence in my heart in thyworkings. He allowed all of these things toencourage a CETICISM. Did you notice what he said? The disciples after he revealed theirlack of faith and he told them to just try to get a little solid, true faith. He then told them, and this kind youreally want to be serious. This kind only comes out by prayer and Fastin. That was a word to encourage thedisciple to evaluate their enemy more seriously, and that is a word. We needbrothers and sister to take our enemy more seriously, to appraise who were fighting againstwith greater so sobriety and to recognize that we need to engage inthis war more wholeheartedly when we run up against the wall and youwere not able to push through maybe its time to dedicate special prayer, not just our normal prayers, not justasking father to pray. Maybe it's time...

...to dedicate special PRAER. Maybe istime to fast, not when the church asks you to fast there's nothing specialabout keeping that Fath that's normal, but when we face unique circumstancesthat are greatly challenging us and we feel the presence. We see that demon-maybe it's time to fast and to say no, so that we canconcentrate our powers and our strain on this problem and seek the help ofGod. The Gospel record ends with a beautiful tatant from Jesus that shows that he's not just talkinghe's not just trying to tell us have faith. Trust me in the mysteriouscircumstances of your life and engage the enemy seriously. Hemodeled it for us, he modeleit for us the end of his account. It says Jesus told his disciples that he wouldbe betrayed into the hands of men. He would be killed and he would be raved again on thethird day and then it records and they were all deeply grieved. They were all deeply grieved. Oursavior was living it. He himself was embracing the will ofhis father, the circumstances which appeared too much for him so much thathe when he was on his knees and get semony wanting to escape his fate feeling thecloud of despondency fall onto his head when he had to look at the cop that hewas going to drink for our salvation. He pushed himself like he wants us to pushourselves. He turned that cloud into prayer. He turned to his father and he saidfather...

...rat that this Cup might pass me by that.I might not drink this cup, but not my will. Thi will be done. This is the example that our savourprovides us not just in his teaching, brothers and sisters, but in his life.God help us to be people like that. People who have the faith to endure with confidence in God through all ofthe challenging circumstances that often make us feel so powerless God strengthon us Inba on them. We hope that you have enjoyed and havebeen edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar,Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing the spirituallythirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. If you are interested in otheravailable titles or if you would like more information on patristic nectyourpublications, please visit our website at the www dot. patristic nectar, DodOrg. Again, that's www dot, patristic nectar, dodal.

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