Orthodox Thought for the Day


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Righteous Job, a model of long-suffering

How long will you torment me
and crush me with words?
Ten times now you have reproached me; shamelessly you attack me.
If it is true that I have gone astray,
my error remains my concern alone.
If indeed you would exalt yourselves
above me and use my humiliation against me, then know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me.”

Job 19: 2-6
Holy and righteous Job lived in Avsitida, a teritory between South Arabia and Edomit.
His father was Zaret and his mother, Vosora.
The story of Job is historical and Scriptural and not merely a legend or a myth.
This is certified by the Prophet Ezekiel who calls Job – one of the greatest Old Testament righteous, along with Noäh, Daniël and Jesus, the son of Sirah.
For us faithful Christians, Job is a great model
of Patience, Love and Obedience towards God.
Suffering is a Medicine
Sufferings are bitter medicines
with blessed effects.
They cure our various sins,
especially our Pride, and humble us.
When the doctor treats a sick man,
he does not give him sweet dainties,
but medicines which are usually bitter.
If the sick man is wise, he accepts these bitter drugs with gratitude
and without grum­bling, knowing that they will cure him.
Only foolish children make faces and do not want to drink the saving medicines

because they are bitter to the tongue!
How much we resemble foolish children when we grumble against the sufferings and sorrows in life which God sends to us!
In our times of deepest grief, we must remember righteous Job who suffered
without guilt and, despite that,
accepted all misfortunes which piled upon him without grumbling and blaspheming.
He lost his property, his herds, his servants, and even his children.
One after the other came the messages which informed him of the woes
which had come upon him.
At receiving every tragic piece of news, he only repeated the wonderful words:
“The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord.
In all this, Job sinned not,
nor charged God foolishly”.
Job 1: 21-22

Patience to the End
Through his sufferings,
Job received Salvation.
However, not all suffering is beneficial
to the soul and elevates it,
taking it into the Heavenly Kingdom.
It is only that suffering which is en­dured patiently, with gratitude and trust in God,
and without grumbling.
Those who suffer must have great patience,
so that they will be able to see how the bitter green buds on the branches of the virtuous life slowly and gradually, under the care of the warm Sun of righteousness,
ripen and turn into sweet fruits of Perfection and Salvation.
Endure unto the end
Those who suffer must have great patience
lest they despair and, because of their impatience,
the fruits fall before their due time-sour, bitter, and green.
In such a case their suffering is in vain.
Only he that shall endure unto the end shall be saved”
Matth.24: 13
“The Christian must stand among
the various sorrows and temptations like
an anvil which, even though it is constantly hammered upon, does not move from its place, nor does it get ruined, but stays the same [as firm as it was in the beginning]“.
Saint Ephraim the Syrian

We cannot be saved without suffering;
how else could we be tested by God for being firm and unwavering in virtue?
God arranges many things in life in such a way that man is tempted,
so that his free will can be manifested,
and he, through the enduring of all trials, can receive Salvation.
“Because those”, according to the words of Saint Macarius the Great,
“who live in suffering and temptations
and endure to the end will not lose the Kingdom of Heaven”.

It is told about a saint that he, like the holy Apostle Paul,
was seized and taken to Heaven where he saw the bright homes of the righteous.
He stopped in front of a wondrous palace in which a righteous and blissful soul was shining, and he asked: “What were you on earth”?
It answered: “I was a leper, and I constantly thanked God for that mercy”.
Such are the fruits of sufferings
which are borne with gratitude and without grum­bling.

Some are bothered by the thought
that their suffering may be pointless and fruitless for the Salvation of their souls.
They tell themselves:
the saints endured for Christ’s sake, and that is why they were certain that through the enduring of suffering they would save their souls.
But we, unlike the Saints, suffer either for our sins,
or because of the envy of evil people, or by some chance;
and because we do not suffer for Christ’s sake
our sufferings
weigh us down with their aimlessness and torment us doubly
because of their uselessness.
To this we should answer that nothing in this world happens by chance
-without God’s Will or God’s Permission.
Even a single hair does not fall from our heads without God’s knowledge [cf. Luc.21: 18].
If we are suffering because of our own sins
but we endure and repent before God,
these sufferings free us from future punishment in the life beyond the grave and save us. The good thief who was saved was crucified for his sins on a cross
on the right side of Christ but through his endurance and repentance,
he entered Paradise.

Suffering is to the soul what fire is to ore.
Ore, mixed with dirt, gravel, and other things, is purified when it passes through fire.
The soul, muddied by sins, clears up when it passes patiently­ through sufferings.
Even though the sinner does not suffer like the martyrs for Christ’s sake,
these woes of his are counted as sufferings for God s sake
and are beneficial to him when he consumed with a yearning to be saved,
humbles himself in his sorrows, repents of his sins, and says:
“For my lawlessness, I deserve much greater sufferings than the merciful God has sent me.”
Saint John Chrysostom says that “the soul is cleansed when it suffers sorrows for God’s sake”.
Muddy water cannot be made clear unless it passes through the filter of sand.
In the same way the soul cannot be cleansed unless it goes through sufferings.

From the website:  http://www.lucascleophas.nl/; posted on 05/05/2012 by lucas

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