Some food for thought

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
Hi everyone,
                Here is something that got me thinking during the weekend. My neighbor, is a Christian (protestant) who tragically lost her husband in January this year. Since then, she has been working hard at an average-paying job to support her children and herself. Despite the odds, she has been bravely carrying on, tying up the numerous loose ends, sending her children to high school and college, paying rent etc... People familiar with residency rules in the Arabian Gulf states will know that it is extremely hard for an Asian non-Muslim expat woman and her children to live here without the husband sponsoring the family. Hence I had assumed that she would be packing up and leaving the country for good as she wouldn’t be able to stay here with children as legal residents.

        Now, during these months following her bereavement, she has almost unbelievably taken over the reins of her family. Almost magically, God seems to be working in unbelievable ways, clearing legal hurdles, helping her children through the exams, securing a job for her elder son in these hard times…etc. Things slowly seem to be falling in place for them after all the agony and grief in losing their dear one. However, rather than drown in self-pity or drift with the tide, she seems to be guided by God in leading the family on the road ahead. She always has a word of prayer and encouragement whenever I meet her at the gate.  I tend to realize that such peace and calmness in the face of tribulations comes from being firmly grounded in the Lord, having courage to make hard choices, faithfully persevering through hardship, knowing fully well that He will not let go of us if we seek Him constantly. Such instances tend to awaken us from our complacent, judgmental and self-righteous tendencies while interacting with people from faiths somewhat different from our own. I am inclined to ask why some people (myself included) waste time and resources arguing about peripheral issues when so much can be learned from just watching certain people respond to trials that life throws at them. 

        Consider the story of the prostitute woman who was on the verge of being stoned to death. Our Lord asks him who has never sinned to cast the first stone. When we make note of how we neglect our prayer life, how much our equation with God leaves undesired, how we take His blessings for granted, that’s when we realize how less we have traveled and learned in our journey of faith.



  • Your account also shows that we are best keeping silent when we want to ask where the grace of God is, or is not. It is always better to judge ourselves saying, I alone deserve the eternal punishment of hell, than to point at others and say, this person is not Orthodox and so has no hope.

    On the contrary we see the grace of God where it bears fruit and give thanks that the Spirit works where He wills and He chooses and not according to our limited understanding.

    Thanks be to God that this woman has a relationship with Christ that sustains her, may she come to know the fulness of life in Christ within Orthodoxy as God wills. Indeed may we more fully appreciate what we are offered in Holy Orthodoxy and often choose to neglect.

    Father Peter
  • -sigh-

    Why does everyone deviate from the point?

    I asked for a reason for my creation and the free will behind that - I would never have suffered or rejoiced had I not been made.

    I know I'm free to do whatever I want but thats not the point.

    I am trapped in this body and am forced by this 'loving father' to do his will or when this life passes, I get to suffer for eternity.

    Well if this is the case, then why did he just create the peole who would go to heaven - then he would be 'loving' as all go to a better place and are happy.

  • [quote author=epshiri link=topic=8038.msg103913#msg103913 date=1244464854]

    Well if this is the case, then why did he just create the peole who would go to heaven - then he would be 'loving' as all go to a better place and are happy.

    Ha ha... how many people would that be? 

    Maybe in the few thousands? 
  • He wouldnt be loving if he only created the people that would go to heaven, that would be called slavery because he created certain people and chose their life and their eternal life for them. It is like a teacher who only allows smart kids in her class but doesnt give a chance to those who have failed before to improve. It is out of God's love that he created man in a free will and he gave us a mind to think with, not like animals. It is out of God's love that he sent his only begotten son to die for our sins, to give us hope and salvation. It is out of God's love to give us all the remedies needed for our salvation, moreover he helps us, we do 0.00001% of the work and he does the rest. We walk one step towards him and he runs miles to give us salvation. Indeed it is out of God's love to allow us to fall so we can taste his love compassion and mercy towards his. finally, it is out of love that we dont comprehend all the divine matters because our human nature cannot bear all this great glory of understanding God's wisdom.
    Why would you look at it as if God intended to punish you, why cant you look at it as you are one of those getting to heaven one of the people that will enjoy God's divine glory and the company of all the saints. I look at it like this, I am a free man to do whatever I want, I dont think about God's predestination because I dont understand it, I choose to follow God's path because I am sure that if I overcome at the end God will grant me to sit with him on the throne. Being positive is what it takes, why would I keep thinking about going to hades, if I have all the power to choose to go to heaven? Many people lose hope and dont want to try to get to God and then blame it on God predestination. If a person sincerely tries to reach God, they would not be thinking about an issue like this. If St Ba2esa thought about it like this, she wouldnt have repented in the last few hours of her life.
    I hope that God grants us wisdom to understand his mysteries as much as we can comprehend. Pray that God may enlighten your mind and heart
    Pray for me
  • He wouldnt be loving if he only created the people that would go to heaven, that would be called slavery because he created certain people and chose their life and their eternal life for them. It is like a teacher who only allows smart kids in her class but doesnt give a chance to those who have failed before to improve.

    Improve what???  If he already knows they would go to hell, then that means there is no hope or chance for improvement. 

    I have a question for you 'I am all yours Lord'.  Do you think you are going to heaven or hell???  Answer me honestly.  I think it's simply to understand that even not all Orthodox believers are going to heaven. 

    What kind of god would create a rule forever that would make his own creations suffer in hell? 

    Let me tell you something.  There won't be a second coming.  In about 20 years, heaven and hell will cease to exist and we will have free will.  That's Jehovah's plan. 
  • No one knows where they are going, but I am sure that through God's mercy, if I continue stuggling as I am right now then I will go to heaven. If I keep fighting satan then God will grant me to be in his kingdom. Not all orthodox christians are going to heaven and not all non orthodox christians are going to hades. We are not God to decide who gets in or not.
    There is always room for improvement, we can always get better and closer to God until we reach perfection if ever. We all have the tools and talents to succeed in life but some of us choose the easy way and justify their actions by blaming others including blaming God. While others, like the saints, work really hard to reach God and they reached their goal.
    Do you understand God 100%? do you have 0.000001% of his wisdom? I dont think anyone can say yes to either questions; so if we dont comprehend the mystery behind God's actions, then why do we accept some and neglect/condemn the others?
    God didnt create a rule to make us suffer, he created us and gave us commandements and guidelines to follow, but we simply refuse to do so. It isnt like God forced certain people to not follow his words so his predestination is fullfilled. God created everyone equal and he gave us all the chances we need to follow his path.
    God is love, merciful and just. Out of his love and mercy, he came and died for us and gives us everyday and every moment a new chance to repent. But because he is just, those who, with their own desire, wish to refuse his teachings will be subject to judegement. It would not be fair and just if God treated all on judgement day the same.
    I am sorry if it seems harsh, but if I choose not to follow God's path because I believe that God predestined me to go to hades, then I am a lazy person that enjoys the pleasures of this world and do not want to work hard enough for eternal rewards.
    About the second coming, I wont even comment, but when we both die we will know for sure whether there is a second coming or not. But then, we will have no chance to repent or change our philosophy about God and his wisdom.
    pray for me and forgive me
  • It's good that you think you're going to heaven. 

    For me, it is weird how some people around the world have died before even hearing about God or Jesus.  Where do you think they went to?  Heaven or hell?  I'm pretty sure they went to hell.  So would it be sane to let them suffer over there for eternity?  What kind of wisdom is that?  So like I was saying, heaven and hell are only temporary. 

    I just hope that I won't die for the next 20 years. 
  • Hailemikael,
    we are not God, we dont know what criteria he will use to judge everyone, but what we know is that God is merciful and just, he is perfect in all that he does. As for christians they will be judged on their own belief and whether they followed it or not. As for non christians, God will judge them according to certain standards and these standards will not be the same for everyone because not everyone got the same opportunities in life. So I agree with you that it is not fair to treat everyone the same, but I disagree when you say that they went to hades, we dont know that for sure. All I know is that I am an orthodox christian, I know the commandements and what I should do/dont. So if I follow them with God's help then I will enter through the narrow door.
    In regards to eternity, its up to you whether you believe in heaven and hell or not, but to be fair there has to be a judgement day to reward and punish every person according to his/her own deeds. May God guide all of us in understanding him and his wisdom and I hope we are all ready for judgement when we die
    pray for me
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