The life of every Christian is like a sea. Many times on this sea there are bursting storms and rising waves which threaten our life. When so many temptations assault and frighten us it is the same as when a stormy sea endangers the ship and the people raise their hands and pray to God to be escaped it. Many storms, many difficult problems, many times without solution, unbearable sieges, everywhere darkness without any ray of light and hope.
And there comes the demon, the other storm, the horrid and dark one to tell us that we have no escape. `This temptation – he tells us – is so big that you will be lost.` And if the man has no experience in temptations he believes this lie and deceit and despairs. And when he loses his direction it is natural to be thrown from the rocks and crushed.
What must someone do when everything in his life is black ? What he must do in such moments is to find his escape at the Only Savior and Redeemer, to kneel and raise his hands in prayer to the Most Kind God Who takes care of the whole universe and Who at a sign can melt everything.
We see this in His Holy Gospel. Once Christ was in the boat with His disciples on the Lake of Gennesaret. He was squatted and rested. He seemed to sleep but he didn`t sleep. A strong windy storm burst and there were very high waves (Luke 8, 23). The unexperienced disciples not knowing who they had beside them – because their spiritual eyes were still closed since the Holy Spirit hadn`t descended yet to open their minds and make them understand the Scriptures got terribly frightened and they went to Him woke Him and told Him:
`Teacher, are you sleeping? We are dying, we are drowning!`
He looked at them sympathetically and ordered to the winds and sea to be quiet. And the sea and the winds stopped and there was a great stilness. The disciples seeing the miracle got stunned. And the Lord told them:
`Why did you lose your faith? Why are you so fearful? Where is your faith?`
In our life it happens the same. Many are the waves which cause the wobbling and quake of the hut of our soul and we are afraid not to be destroyed. Then it is necessary to cry like the Apostles: `Teacher, I am dying! My Lord, help me cause I am lost. Send Your grace to help me cause in this moment I am just a man made of clay, a nothing, a melon peel in the ocean. If you don`t stretch Your hand in this very moment to quiet the waves and the sea and chase away the demons who are near me I am going to die!` Many of us experienced this prayer. Our life is nothing else but temptations, troubles, agony and needs. If we pray fervently God answers. He gives assurance to the man in his soul.
My starets left this life and I undertook many responsibilities. Once I had a very big and horrible temptation. There was no light in sight only dangers from everywhere. On that hard and dark day I knelt down and prayed fervently. A ray of light came to me and gave me the assurance in my heart: `This temptation will end. Don`t be afraid!` And suddenly in my soul peace and stillness were restored. And indeed the result was that the temptation ended with a great avail. When the man endures any temptation proving patience and opposition and he will fight with his entire being ultimately the temptation will stop and Christ will overcome it. Cause only Christ overcomes these big temptations. But we are helpless and have the eyes of our soul closed. We don`t see what hides behind each temptation, that it hides a great benefit there.
Saint Andrew the Fool for Christ when Christ called him to accomplish this role, to become a fool for Him and endure insults, ironies, poverty, suffering wanted first to see if it was His will to assume that foolishness. Being young he had the desire to confess for God but in those times there were no martyrs. He was wondering how to please God and he fell asleep with this thought in his mind.
Then he saw an arena where fights were fought. On one side there were some men dressed in white clothes and on the other side there were dark demons. A big demon stood up and started to speak with arrogance threatening the people in white clothes. Among them the saints said: `I fought with him in that time, another one on another time, one with his martyrdom, another one with his confession, another one with his strive and another with his virtue. Now who`s left to fight with him?` And there was a voice saying: `Andrew.` When Andrew saw that big demon got frightened. Then he saw sitting at a table such a bright young man that everything shone around Him. On the table He had two wreaths. One was of pearls and another one of the flowers of heaven.
`For how much do you sell them?` Andrew asked Him.
`Young man, these are not bought with the money of this world but won by the man who fights with that dark demon. Who defeats him receives both of them.
`I will fight to win them.`
Since you want to fight come to teach you the fight.`
And started to teach him how to fight with that dark demon :
When he will twirl you, hit him squintingly and you will defeat him.
Then he went forward and called him to fight and they began that fight. In the beginning the devil seemed to defeat him but then remembering what The Lord had taught him hit him squintingly and killed him. Then those in white clothes took the winner and led him to the Lord and the Lord gave him the two wreaths saying:
`From now on be a fool for me, poor and ragged and I will make you worthy of My Kingdom.
And from that moment on he was given the grace to feign foolishness for Christ and he made himself poor and ragged and in the end he won the wreath of victory.
Excerpt from the book The Art of Salvation published by Evanghelismos.