Building our endurance and confidence
“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise (Hebrews 10:35-36)”
When we find ourselves caught up in what we want, or what we think we need, we become despondent that things are not going the way we’d hoped. Disappointed, we start to wonder why God has failed to give us that which we’ve so sought after, that thing, or situation, that became the dominate theme of our prayers. Caught up in trying to reach a goal, and failing, we forget that it may not have been God’s will for us from the very beginning. Relying on our own notion of what we need, we end up disappointed, or even disillusioned, and we blame God.
Much of what we think we need is born from our own immaturity, for as we’ve focused on what we think we need, we fail to quietly surrender to the will of God, and fail to trust in the knowledge that God knows what we really need. We fail during such times to trust God, and surrender to His will for us. We forget that God knows what we really need, and fail to consider the long term good. When we quit struggling against the will of God, we find the grace sufficient to prayerfully enduring our trials, knowing that God gives us that which is salvific. Like a loving earthly father, our God allows us to endure that which will make us strong, and He will lead us to victory over our fallen nature. Prayerfully enduring trials will, in God’s time, make us stronger, and we will become more faithful children of the Most High.
This kind of faithful living leads us to know the truth of the words, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).” When we trust God, those moments of disappointment make sense, and the bigger picture is clearly set before us.
With love in Christ,
Photos: Monk Peter sounding the simandron, a monastic percussion instrument used as the first call to worship in monasteries. Tradition has it that Noah used a simandron to call the animals into the ark.
Sunday May 20, 2018 / May 7, 2018
Seventh Sunday of Pascha: The Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council. Tone six.
“Chelnsk” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos named “Tenderness”(movable holiday on the 7th Sunday of Pascha).
Commemoration of the Apparition of the Sign of the Precious Cross over Jerusalem in 351 A.D.
Martyr Acacius the Centurion at Byzantium (303).
Repose of Venerable Nilus, abbot of Sora (1508).
Venerable John of Zedazeni in Georgia, and 12 disciples: Venerables Shio Mgvime, David of Gareji, Anthony of Martq’ophi, Thaddeus of Urbnisi or Stepantsminda, Stephen of Khirsa, Isidore of Samtavisi, Michael of Ulumbo, Pyrrhus of Breta, Zenon of Iqalto, Jesse (Ise) of Tsilkani, Joseph of Alaverdi, and Abibus of Nekressi (6th c.) (Georgia).
Uncovering of the relics (1815) of Venerable Nilus the Myrrh-gusher of Mt. Athos.
Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos “Zhirovits” (1470) and “Lubech” (11th c.).
New Martyr Pachomius of Patmos (1730) (Greek).
St. Domitianus, bishop of Maastricht (560) (Neth.).
St. John of Beverley, bishop of York (721) (Celtic & British).
St. Lydia of Philippi (1st c.).
Uncovering of the relics of St. Euthymius the Great.
The Scripture Readings
Breakfast by the Sea
21 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself:2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”
They answered Him, “No.”
6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.
7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.”
11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.
14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.
16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.
The Ephesian Elders Exhorted
17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. 18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you,
28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.
Jesus Prays for Himself
17 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
Jesus Prays for His Disciples
6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, andYours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.