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We often repeat the words: “Everything is in the hands of God,” but didn’t they just become a common phrase? Are we ready to accept God's Providence for us and abandon the sometimes titanic, but fruitless efforts to build our life the way we see it and we understand it? How can we learn to entrust ourselves to God and trust in God, to accept with gratitude what He gives us, be it joys or sorrows? The pastors of the Russian Orthodox Church answer.
We have no one to trust but God
The best way of trusting God is shown by the apostle Peter when he decides, according to the Savior, to go on water
- I think that the apostle Peter shows the best way of trusting God when, frightened by a storm and seeing the Savior walking on the waters, he decides, according to His word, to enter this stormy water on the worrying sea and go along it. And so, a person should decide to trust God - to believe that you will take a step and not drown, because the Lord will support you.
There is such a way of thinking that, of course, helps to strengthen in faith in God: there is absolutely no one to trust us in fact, except God. To trust people? But they are inconsistent, imperfect creatures, they fail all the time. Sometimes of their own free will, sometimes against their own free will. Trust yourself? But no one knows better than us how much we ourselves are unfaithful and unstable. There is no one to trust but God. The Lord loves us, no matter what we are, He always preserves, saves and protects us.
Trust in Him. And the more a person thinks about it, the more trust he has in God. Although, of course, in the beginning, trust in God requires a person to do some deed, some determination. But later, when it turns into a skill, it becomes a thread, as the reverend Elder Paisius of Athos said, a thread that is constantly stretched between us and God, a kind of unceasing prayer, bribed. Because it is possible not to utter any words, but to live in this feeling of trust. This is what connects us with God.
- As soon as you forget how to trust yourself and your kindred, nothing remains for you, how to trust the One God and His Holy Church!
Feeling God while serving your neighbor
- According to the Monk Mark the Ascetic, “grace has been mysteriously granted to those who were baptized into Christ, it acts as the commandments are fulfilled and does not cease to help us secretly. But it is our power to do or not do good in our strength. ” And according to the Savior, “those who are pure in heart will see God” (cf. Mt 5: 8). Thus, the path to God is the path that runs through oneself. That we are changing along such a path. And we are aware of these changes. And we gain new sight. And the reality of the Kingdom is revealed to us.
In order not to make a mistake on the door, not to fall into self-deception, not to break your soul, and there is an asceticism accumulating the experience of those who reached Heavenly Jerusalem, leaving us indicative signs and travel notes.
However, in consultation with the ascetics, we will not forget about the main thing - the 25th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, in which verses from the 31st to the 46th all say about what is the distance between us and God. It turns out that this is the distance between us and the closest person in need. And everything that we do for this person, the Lord accepts as done for Him.
So in Christianity there are no complex horoscopes, Talmuds or theosophies of salvation. Everything is extremely simple and clear even to a three-year-old baby. The gospel speaks of active love for near and distant friends and enemies. When we actually begin to fulfill this covenant of love, then, according to the idea of Mark the Ascetic, our conscience will wake up and tell us what to do next.
Trust in God is a gift of God that is served as the fruit of prayer
We need to constantly pray to the Lord to strengthen our faith
“You need to understand that virtues (and faith is virtue) are God's gifts.” One must constantly pray to the Lord to strengthen faith. But it is relatively easy to believe, now there are practically no unbelievers. Atheists exist, but those who consciously consider themselves atheists are only a few percent. There are a lot of believers. But to believe in God and trust God are fundamentally different states. Now, if you understand - but, again, understanding is something superficial, and we are talking about something deeper - so, if you understand that the Lord is an all-perfect loving omnipotent Person, that the Lord cares about you sinful, although you are so insignificant, small, that the Lord has a concern for each of us, that the Lord provides for each of us, the Lord desires good for each of us, and let the path that leads to this good does not coincide with our ideas - this just says that our ideas are distorted - but you are ready to go this way - this means trust in the Lord.
Such trust must be prayed to the Lord. In the Psalter, King David has wonderful words: “Tell me, Lord, the way, I’ll go stinker, so that I can take my soul to you” - “Show me, Lord, the way I should go, because I handed you my soul to you” ( Psalm 142: 8). Here, hand over your soul to the Lord - this is complete trust, like that of King David: wherever you lead, I’ll go there, I absolutely trust you, without doubt, without thinking. But at the same time you need to have some kind of pure soul in order to feel: the Lord leads you, not your “troubles”! It is exceptionally difficult, and it is a gift from God, which is the fruit of prayer. And the prayer is: "Help, Lord, give me wholeheartedly hope in You!", "Lord, give me the strength to trust You." And it must be a constant prayer cry. Constant prayer work! And then in response to your sincere request - and it should, of course, be sincere - the Lord will give you this.
Be mindful of your life
- The question is very correctly formulated. This is what you need to learn. This is not given to us immediately, but it is comprehended as we live in faith.
How does the realization that everything happens according to the will of God? How to learn to trust Him in everything?
To do this, you need to be careful about your life and notice how wisely and carefully God arranges all its circumstances. There is an old French proverb: "Case is the god of fools." And right! There is nothing accidental. Just as mushrooms in the forest are connected by the threads of the mycelium, which extends beneath the topsoil from mushroom to mushroom, so all situations, all so-called “accidents,” are all really connected by the invisible graceful threads of Providence and God's care for us.
And you need to learn to notice it.
I came to this realization only after a few years of being in the faith and in the Church. And since then, every day I am strengthened in this awareness.
Sometimes life shakes quite noticeably, and for a while you can even be embarrassed and not see God in these circumstances. It is important to find the strength in yourself to stay with Him anyway. Without even understanding, not even containing what is happening. As His Mother at the Cross, as disciples ... And the meaning will be revealed. In my time. You just need to stay faithful to Him and wait.
Trust in God Strengthens Spiritual Life
- In order to learn to believe and trust God, we must learn to sincerely turn to Him as the Father. "Lord, you know thatabout better for me. I betray my life in Your hands. ” Openness to God willingly accept His will and leads to trust. But a person ceases to trust God when he relies only on himself, when he thinks that he will best arrange his life.
Trust in God is strengthened as one progresses spiritually. This is facilitated by the experience of the prayers you heard, when you asked earnestly and the Lord answered you, you really did submit what you were looking for and asked. But often we make a mistake by stubbornly requiring God to fulfill one or another of our wishes. We do not always understand thatabout it is useful to us. Only the Lord God knows exactly whatabout we need at one point or another in our lives.
We should not tell God how to save us. In prayer, it’s important not to demand, but to ask God to help, if He pleases
And this means that we should not tell God how to save us. In prayer, it’s important not to demand recklessly: “Give this and that, do this and that”, but it’s important to entrust yourself to God’s hands at every prayer appeal, ask Him to help, if it’s pleasing to His holy will, to ask to resolve the difficult situation in the ways that useful and saving for us.
Time passes, and a person begins to realize that God did not providentially fulfill some of his wishes, that the Lord led him along a path that was more useful to him, through difficulties brought him to the spiritual and led him away from fatal temptations and temptations. Such a life experience with a clear comprehension of the Providence of God in the best way strengthens trust in God.
Teach meek your mind
- Every more or less attentive and honest person, observing himself, the events of his own life, life in general, must inevitably come to the conclusion that the diversity and complexity of this world do not fit into any “smart” schemes. That the secrets of the structure of the world infinitely surpass the possibilities of the human perception of it. This simple conclusion long before us came the greatest thinker - the ancient philosopher Socrates. Summing up his inquisitive and persistent quest for truth, he said: "I know that I know nothing." And this is the most honest answer of the “natural” mind to the greatness of God's world. In a sense, it is the key to humility, which is the first and necessary step to gaining faith.
And why, in fact, I want to know something, why is this aspiration, these searches, these doubts and mental anguish? What does a person want to find, what is he so painfully lacking? The answer, as a rule, is one: a man longs for Truth. This is what a man lacks, without which his life becomes incomplete, that’s what he strives for with his whole soul, because it is in the truth, in its knowledge, that he acquires the meaning and justification of his own life.
And the next and very important step to gaining faith is a sincere search for truth. Looking ahead, we say that truth - this is not some kind of abstraction, idea or quintessence of knowledge - all this is not able to satisfy the highest demands of the human spirit, because these requests, even if they are unconsciously, but must certainly be directed towards the Supreme Person. And it is precisely in a deeply personal relationship with God that the human soul can acquire the highest meaning of its life.
If a person really seeks the truth, and not confirmation of his own conclusions and constructions, then the Lord will certainly respond to such a sincere search, such a sincere aspiration of the soul and will give good news, a good sign of His presence. And then ... if a person is attentive and sensitive, if he is ready to receive “notifications” from the Lord, then he will certainly learn that the Revelation about the spiritual life, about the ways of communion with God can be not only personal, but, so to speak, general and even universal. And this Revelation is contained in the Holy Scriptures, in the Tradition of the Church, in the Church itself, which is the “pillar and affirmation of the truth” in its entirety.
This realization - that truth abides in the Church and it is in the Church that a person learns the truth - is very, very important. Especially in our time, when many, alas, do not understand that the Church is not some kind of purely human organization, but is the Body of Christ. This awareness of the importance of the Church can serve, if not the beginning, then the continuation of strengthening and growth in the faith.
The fullness of the Revelation kept by the Church must be accepted unconditionally - even contrary to the voice of "common sense"
But how can one accept the fullness of the Revelation kept by the Church if the mind resists many facts of church history, many events and circumstances of Revelation? This dilemma, I think, must inevitably arise in front of every honest person. Who to trust: one’s own mind and experience, or what Revelation says and that does not fit into the framework of everyday human experience and habitual ideas about life? And here there is only one, but fundamentally important way out. Before you begin to study and cognize Revelation with your mind and mind, before you subject it to logical analysis, you need to take an important step on the path to God, an important step on the path of climbing the stairs of faith. The fullness of the Revelation kept by the Church must be accepted unconditionally and unconditionally. Accept even contrary to the indignant voice of "common sense" and "natural logic." One must accept Revelation wholeheartedly and wholeheartedly, completely trusting God. This is the most important decision and the most important spiritual step, testifying to genuine humility before God in His Church. Without this humility, spiritual life is simply impossible, no matter how smart and educated a person is.
This "madness" is spoken of in the Gospel. That the acceptance of the fullness of Revelation is contrary to the “normal” human reason, because it surpasses it as much as “the ways of God are far from the ways of men” (Isa. 55: 9). This self-denial, whole and sincere, is absolutely necessary, and it is on it that the right faith is based.
Another thing is that a person should unconditionally accept not some private opinions and judgments, which are also present in the Church and belong sometimes authoritative and even saints, but still prone to mistakes and errors of people, but only that belongs to all the doctrine completeness Orthodox Apostolic Church.
We can say that this unconditional trust in God is inevitably connected with the sacrifice. We sacrifice our mind to God, which, however, does not perish, but is transformed miraculously and becomes, by God's grace, different - enlightened grace. But this does not mean that he becomes so "automatically" and forever. Throughout life, the mind will try to get out of "Divine obedience" and take the place that dominates the soul. So - through the mind - acts on the soul (and continues to operate throughout life) the spirit of resistance. But our task is to follow his trepidations and again and again confess our unconditional trust in God, even to the detriment of worldly logic and rational thinking.
Constancy in doing good, patience, no matter what, and often even contrary to circumstances - this is the way to trust
When a person begins to consciously, “without murmuring and thinking” (see: Phil. 2: 14) fulfill all that is written in the Gospel, he may not immediately, but begin to see the good fruits of such obedience, the good fruits of faith. He gains a different, truly enlightened mind. This inevitably happens, but this is what is important for us to understand and remember: our “everyday” dimension of life is different from the spiritual. And the changes in life associated with the fulfillment of the commandments, with the desire to live the gospel are often manifested not immediately, as we would like, but gradually, over the course of months and even years. This is very important to understand, because we are all impatient, and when our life does not immediately begin to change for the better in response to our “good intention”, we often get annoyed, despair, lose faith and, as they say, “wave our hands” at church life . But such behavior means only one thing - we did not pass the necessary test, were not decisive enough and constant in doing good. In doing good, not for the sake of self-interest, either explicit or hidden, but for the good itself, for the sake of Christ, for the sake of God. Here is such constancy, patience in doing good, patience, in spite of everything, and often even in spite of circumstances - this is another extremely important condition for gaining faith after trusting God.
It may sound strange, but the path to gaining faith is not theoretical, but experimental. Only when a person begins to fulfill the commandments of God, tries to act in a Christian way, trusts God and His Church wholly ... when he shows patience in doing good, constantly asks God humbly for help, then faith, as God's response to His trust, patience and humility, - grows and multiplies in man and introduces him into a wonderful and incomprehensibly joyful world, which is called in Christian language the Kingdom of God.
To affirm in consciousness that God is a lover
– Рассудочное доверие возникает из исследования Писания, из углубленного изучения истин веры, из утверждения в своем сознании, что Бог – любящий, благой и премудрый. Он всё ведет к лучшему. Он не допускает испытания сверх сил.
Опытное доверие формируется, как у детей, методом проб и ошибок. Мама запретила трогать горячий утюг, но я ведь любопытный, взял да потрогал. В результате – ожог пальца. Dad demanded to keep up in the supermarket, but I did not take it seriously and got lost in the crowd. And so on. Gradually, we realize that it is better to obey God, not yourself.
But deep, unshakable trust is a gift to be prayed for.