Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
We know that patience is a precious virtue which makes us please God. But the exercise of patience is not easy at all. It is necessary a full mobilization of our spiritual powers. It is necessary to have a fervent zeal and a lot of prayer so that the grace of God would come and strengthen the soul. But the spiritual reflections are also needed so that the soul would receive comfort and strength.
I shall tell you a story about something that happened once and this offers the opportunity for a lot of reflection in order to find an answer for the question: why does God allow hardships in our lives?
Once, on a winter night a small fishing boat was wrecked on the shores of Canada. The fisherman and his son, the only people in the boat, reached the shore by swimming, but they had wet clothes and were in a pitiful condition.
They had escaped the drowning danger but now they were to die because of the cold and of the frostiness caused by their wet clothes. The father was overwhelmed by despair but he saw in the heart of the forest which was before them a dim light. It was their only hope. The place was desert and unknown. There could be seen no house at all. The father and the son started to walk towards that light they saw in the forest, shivering because they were soaking wet. If they could reach that place in time and find assistance they would escape from certain death.
But while going ahead the son started to stiffen because his wet clothes froze. His walk became very slow and there was the danger that his legs might have got stiffened and then he couldn’t have walked anymore.
The father tried to strengthen and encourage his son to continue his walk. But unfortunately the stiffening of his legs grew and he walked harder and harder.
Then the father thought of the following solution: he broke a branch from a tree near him and started to hit the legs of his son with that because he couldn’t walk anymore. The son at first opposed resistance to the blows from his father but this one with a grieving and loving voice said:
My son, you have to go on walking! Overcome the stiffening of your legs and go further!
I can’t, father! cried the child. My legs are stiffening even harder!
Then the father started to hit even harder the legs of his son. His son’s legs covered with blood but he was forced to gather his last strength and resume his walk. In the end, hobbling and after strenuous effort they reached the house where was the light they had seen.
The legs of the boy were bloody and wounded from the blows and the child himself was in a terrible state of exhaustion…but they had reached that place. There they immediately found an assistance full of affection. And thus they saved their lives.
What did the father do? Hard duty! He had to hit his son so hard so that they could reach the house of their salvation. The method was painful but life saving.
Many times in life it happens the same. God, our Father who loves us, wants for sure our salvation. Sometimes we, people remain careless and even deaf to His voice. Then God, out of His love for men allows us be hit and thus we wake from the stiffening of our soul which is like death. God allows troubles and trials for our spiritual benefit.
For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth: and as a father in the son he pleaseth himself.
The cup of pain is bitter but life saving.
Nothing is adventitious. The fact that God allowed this trial you are facing it means that He has a wise plan. Obey the will of God. Pray to God to save you from the trial and pain. And pray over and over again with perseverance and faith so that God would free you from your pain. But if His kindness does not free you from your trouble, then prove patience and obedience. You said in your heart: God, Your will be done. Not as I will but as You will.
There are so many people who saved themselves from a sure spiritual destruction due to this spiritual awakening brought by a trial in their life. I heard some saying: I lost the health of my body but I found the health of my soul. And I am happy. Or: I came to know God due to this pain of the trial. I was in the depth of the sin and God allowed losing my wealth and experiencing poverty. My eyes opened at the light of faith! And now I am living much more poorer but much more happier.
 Solomon’s proverbs 3, 12.