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Author Topic: God's role in our lives here and now  (Read 1207 times) Average Rating: 0
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calligraphqueen
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« on: October 21, 2009, 04:20:58 PM »

We are discussing this in our home QUITE a bit lately. Its getting rather heated at times since we are so frustrated.
Not to mention we do have to pass on the Faith to our children, and we are struggling to figure it out.

So dh says to me that all we have to do is look at history to see that God isn't usually involved in our physical lives here. Sure we show up at whatever church services we have available and receive communion, enjoy corporate worship-but that is where it ends.  For the rest of our lives God is aloof, distant. Set the world in motion and backed off. After all, He did let millions of Jews be murdered, so why would He care about us now? Our children want to know why bother praying, when God can see how dire our circumstances are right now and could care less. What the heck am I supposed to say to that? Of course God is not going to fix everything, or make this some sort of Utopia for us-but where the heck is HE? What if a believer has looked for every possibly hoop to jump through to get His attention and he still slams the doors of Heaven to their prayers. To put it succinctly, the situation we are in  and have been facing for some time has only grown worse, but we have been desperately praying all along. I guess I need to understand God in this realm because I am about to go nuts from dh's line of thinking and my kids questions. Does God not care about us until our last heartbeat when we show up in eternity, sans this horrible flesh we are encased in?
Yes, I have asked two priests these very same questions, but I get a lot of run around. Ours can't believe our family has abandoned us and we have no support in this life. Its his culture that says family sticks together and takes care of one another. Sadly I don't share that culture. The other is just about as astounded we have survived this long, knowing that having a special needs child usually destroys the marriage and the finances in short order. (Not the child personally, just the issues of their condition)
How does one figure out the role of God in the physical life? I have the whole 'sinners in the hands of an angry God' playing in the background of my mind, since that was what was taught for so long. Would like to get rid of it.
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2009, 04:55:30 PM »

Lord have Mercy.
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2009, 05:31:33 PM »


I am so sorry to hear you are having such a hard time.  May God help you through it all.

While we seem to think God is aloof and isn't with us all the time, we are mistaken.  He is with us.  Every minute, of every day.

So, why do bad things happen to good people?  Well, that is a result of "free will".  God did not predestine bad things to happen.  He did not "cause" the Holocaust or any other genocide.  These are all results of man's pride, greed and ego.  Unfortunately the innocent suffer at the hands of the vile.

However, do not harbor ill will towards the perpetrators.  Remember God said that vengeance was His.  Keeping that in mind, makes it easier to "turn the other cheek".  You don't have to worry about revenge, for you are assured that God will take care of it.  The evil doers will be dealt with.

What about illness?  Certainly this is nobody's fault.  However, it might be due to the worsening environmental conditions our bodies find themselves in.  I would only assume that Adam and Eve didn't suffer any infirmities.  We were made for that pristine garden.  Our current surroundings, the food we eat, the air we breath, the water we drink....are not optimal for our health.  Each generation finds itself a bit worse than the previous.

Illness may also enter our lives as a way to "better" us, to humble us.  Not only the person suffering, but, those around them. 

John 9:3   "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."

Try to look for the silver lining.  There's usually some good to be gotten from every situation - as hopeless as it seems. 

Mostly, do not lose faith.  Know that God is there...this very minute, He is beside you.  He hears your call.  However, His timing isn't ours.  We may ask for something, and may receive it days, weeks, months or years later - at the time that is best for us.  We may not receive what we ask, at all.  God is not a genie in a bottle.  He doesn't grant every wish.  He is a loving and caring Father, and as such only gives His children what He knows is best for them - even if they don't agree with Him in that regard.

I know your situation must seem impossible, and everything is stacked against you.  However, in time, with patience and yes, prayer, it will turn around.  Only years later may you turn back and realize why things happened the way they did.

I will keep you in my humble and unworthy prayers.  I do hope you feel God's comfort, and that He alleviates your burden.

Lord, have mercy.


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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2009, 11:38:09 PM »

We are discussing this in our home QUITE a bit lately. Its getting rather heated at times since we are so frustrated.
Not to mention we do have to pass on the Faith to our children, and we are struggling to figure it out.

So dh says to me that all we have to do is look at history to see that God isn't usually involved in our physical lives here. Sure we show up at whatever church services we have available and receive communion, enjoy corporate worship-but that is where it ends.  For the rest of our lives God is aloof, distant. Set the world in motion and backed off. After all, He did let millions of Jews be murdered, so why would He care about us now? Our children want to know why bother praying, when God can see how dire our circumstances are right now and could care less. What the heck am I supposed to say to that? Of course God is not going to fix everything, or make this some sort of Utopia for us-but where the heck is HE? What if a believer has looked for every possibly hoop to jump through to get His attention and he still slams the doors of Heaven to their prayers. To put it succinctly, the situation we are in  and have been facing for some time has only grown worse, but we have been desperately praying all along. I guess I need to understand God in this realm because I am about to go nuts from dh's line of thinking and my kids questions. Does God not care about us until our last heartbeat when we show up in eternity, sans this horrible flesh we are encased in?
Yes, I have asked two priests these very same questions, but I get a lot of run around. Ours can't believe our family has abandoned us and we have no support in this life. Its his culture that says family sticks together and takes care of one another. Sadly I don't share that culture. The other is just about as astounded we have survived this long, knowing that having a special needs child usually destroys the marriage and the finances in short order. (Not the child personally, just the issues of their condition)
How does one figure out the role of God in the physical life? I have the whole 'sinners in the hands of an angry God' playing in the background of my mind, since that was what was taught for so long. Would like to get rid of it.


I can't give you an explanation except to speak from personal experience. God always wants what's best for our salvation. Even if a situation looks dire and hopeless in the end it is for our own good whether we see it or not.

I am a recovering alcoholic. I spent a number of years almost drinking myself to death. I did almost died on two occasions. I went through the severe pain and sickness of withdrawal again and again, the worst sickness I have ever experienced in my life.

How does this apply to your situation? Even the severe pain and suffering I went through with my alcoholism was for my own good. If I had not become an alcoholic I would  have never been put in a situation to have my ego and self-will totally broken. I would have never understood the role my ego and the resulting self-will played in my life and how it was blocking my way to communion with God. Even if it had taken me a lifetime of pain and suffering to reach that point it would have been worth it because I would have never come to that realization otherwise.

I know me saying this doesn't help. When I was in the throes of withdrawal I wouldn't have wanted to hear it either. It was only much later that I saw the hand of God in my suffering.

Just know that God is love and we love you too.


And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9


Yours in Christ
Joe
« Last Edit: October 21, 2009, 11:44:33 PM by Paisius » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2009, 12:07:24 AM »

Sister CQ,

 I have no advice, but fwiw, I'll be praying for you and your family.  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2009, 09:54:33 AM »

Don't you ever pray? It can do miracles. Wink
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2009, 10:59:43 AM »

I'm a rare poster but feel your pain.  Over at Fr Stephen's blog he has a recent post on "Poor in Spirit" that was helpful to me (not sure if links to other blogs allowed). It helped me to make some sense of life and the questions, like well, if my kids are in trouble, my marriage rocky, in debt to my eyeballs, poor health etc.?  Am I not blessed by God but those with the super kids, wonderful marriages, etc. are blessed?

The answer in short is what we confess at every Divine Liturgy: God is good, and the Lover of Mankind.

Prayers for you and your family.
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2009, 11:06:33 AM »

I believe links to specific blog posts are allowed as long as they are adding to the conversation and are not just a blatant advertisement. So in this case I would think it'd be ok to link to it.
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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2009, 12:08:50 PM »

Wow! That was an awesome answer, Liza. I'm copying it out and sharing it with my wife. Thanks.


I am so sorry to hear you are having such a hard time.  May God help you through it all.

While we seem to think God is aloof and isn't with us all the time, we are mistaken.  He is with us.  Every minute, of every day.

So, why do bad things happen to good people?  Well, that is a result of "free will".  God did not predestine bad things to happen.  He did not "cause" the Holocaust or any other genocide.  These are all results of man's pride, greed and ego.  Unfortunately the innocent suffer at the hands of the vile.

However, do not harbor ill will towards the perpetrators.  Remember God said that vengeance was His.  Keeping that in mind, makes it easier to "turn the other cheek".  You don't have to worry about revenge, for you are assured that God will take care of it.  The evil doers will be dealt with.

What about illness?  Certainly this is nobody's fault.  However, it might be due to the worsening environmental conditions our bodies find themselves in.  I would only assume that Adam and Eve didn't suffer any infirmities.  We were made for that pristine garden.  Our current surroundings, the food we eat, the air we breath, the water we drink....are not optimal for our health.  Each generation finds itself a bit worse than the previous.

Illness may also enter our lives as a way to "better" us, to humble us.  Not only the person suffering, but, those around them. 

John 9:3   "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."

Try to look for the silver lining.  There's usually some good to be gotten from every situation - as hopeless as it seems. 

Mostly, do not lose faith.  Know that God is there...this very minute, He is beside you.  He hears your call.  However, His timing isn't ours.  We may ask for something, and may receive it days, weeks, months or years later - at the time that is best for us.  We may not receive what we ask, at all.  God is not a genie in a bottle.  He doesn't grant every wish.  He is a loving and caring Father, and as such only gives His children what He knows is best for them - even if they don't agree with Him in that regard.

I know your situation must seem impossible, and everything is stacked against you.  However, in time, with patience and yes, prayer, it will turn around.  Only years later may you turn back and realize why things happened the way they did.

I will keep you in my humble and unworthy prayers.  I do hope you feel God's comfort, and that He alleviates your burden.

Lord, have mercy.



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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2009, 12:49:58 PM »

Lord, have mercy.
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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2009, 01:01:19 PM »

I'm a rare poster but feel your pain.  Over at Fr Stephen's blog he has a recent post on "Poor in Spirit" that was helpful to me (not sure if links to other blogs allowed). It helped me to make some sense of life and the questions, like well, if my kids are in trouble, my marriage rocky, in debt to my eyeballs, poor health etc.?  Am I not blessed by God but those with the super kids, wonderful marriages, etc. are blessed?

The answer in short is what we confess at every Divine Liturgy: God is good, and the Lover of Mankind.

Prayers for you and your family.

Since I don't think this violates any rules, I've taken the liberty to post it.  And I agree; it was/is very helpful.  Smiley

http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/
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« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2009, 02:57:04 PM »

Whenever people ask if God plays a daily role in our lives, or if he cares about our suffering, I turn to the story about when Lazurus died.

"When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; and he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." Jesus wept. So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" John 11:33-36

Jesus saw Mary (the sister of Lazurus) crying for her brother. He didn't stand back emotionless. He was moved in spirit and troubled. He, himself, wept over the death of his friend.

And then, in the midst of their despair, he raised Lazurus from the dead.

"Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days."
Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?" John 11:38-40 (emphasis added)

God sees and feels our pain. But if we are faithful, we will see His glory, and He will take us out of our suffering.
"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:5
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« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2009, 02:21:14 AM »

I believe links to specific blog posts are allowed as long as they are adding to the conversation and are not just a blatant advertisement. So in this case I would think it'd be ok to link to it.
This is indeed correct.  So...

I'm a rare poster but feel your pain.  Over at Fr Stephen's blog he has a recent post on "Poor in Spirit" that was helpful to me (not sure if links to other blogs allowed). It helped me to make some sense of life and the questions, like well, if my kids are in trouble, my marriage rocky, in debt to my eyeballs, poor health etc.?  Am I not blessed by God but those with the super kids, wonderful marriages, etc. are blessed?

The answer in short is what we confess at every Divine Liturgy: God is good, and the Lover of Mankind.

Prayers for you and your family.

Since I don't think this violates any rules, I've taken the liberty to post it.  And I agree; it was/is very helpful.  Smiley

http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/
Thank you, Gabriel, for posting this.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2009, 02:21:47 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2009, 09:16:01 AM »

those with the super kids, wonderful marriages, etc.

IMHO, these people don't exist. What was that poem about the guy who seemed to have everything? Other peoples' lives only look perfect to us from the outside. If we really knew the truth of it, we would probably see that things are far from perfect. We all have our own crosses to bear, problems, difficulties, pain, suffering  - that's why we should try to be gentle with each other. We never really know what is going on in someone else's life.

Based on my own personal experience (stuff I won't go into here), prayer does change things. Most of all, I think, it changes you.
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« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2009, 09:26:30 AM »

Yes, I think it is good to remember that the primary role of prayer isn't to ask God what we want, but to provide us with what we need (most often pertaining to spiritual needs).
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« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2009, 11:39:07 AM »

Here's the poem I was thinking of:
Richard Corey
 by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,   
  We people on the pavement looked at him:   
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,   
  Clean favored, and imperially slim.   
     
And he was always quietly arrayed,            
  And he was always human when he talked;   
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,   
  "Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.   
     
And he was rich—yes, richer than a king,   
  And admirably schooled in every grace:    
In fine, we thought that he was everything   
  To make us wish that we were in his place.   
     
So on we worked, and waited for the light,   
  And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;   
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,    
  Went home and put a bullet through his head.   

Simon & Garfunkle (yeah, yeah, I'm that old) did a song based on the poem

They say that Richard Cory owns one half of this whole town,
With political connections to spread his wealth around.
Born into society, a banker's only child,
He had everything a man could want: power, grace, and style.

But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I'm living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be
Richard Cory.

The papers print his picture almost everywhere he goes:
Richard Cory at the opera, Richard Cory at a show.
And the rumor of his parties and the orgies on his yacht!
Oh, he surely must be happy with everything he's got.

But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I'm living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be
Richard Cory.

He freely gave to charity, he had the common touch,
And they were grateful for his patronage and thanked him very much,
So my mind was filled with wonder when the evening headlines read:
"Richard Cory went home last night and put a bullet through his head."

But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I'm living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be
Richard Cory.
Simon & Garfunkle

http://www.nme.com/video/id/euuCiSY0qYs/search/richard
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« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2009, 07:23:20 PM »

^ I love to look for things like that when I teach poetry. I find music makes the poetry come alive for the students. I'll have to keep that one in mind.
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« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2009, 02:55:58 PM »

Calligraphqueen,

I know that I am entering this discussion late but these essays may be of interest to you. They are written by non-Orthodox, but they contain elements of truth that I think might help you converse with your children on these issues:

http://www.anthonyflood.com/griffincreationoutofchaos.htm

http://www.anthonyflood.com/letterpoe.htm
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« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2009, 03:03:06 PM »

Yes, I think it is good to remember that the primary role of prayer isn't to ask God what we want, but to provide us with what we need (most often pertaining to spiritual needs).

Okay, so what is the point of being in the physical, the flesh? Is it the Orthodox doctrine that the only purpose of the physical body is to suffer incessantly without relief? There are many that seem to do just that, throughout history, scriptures and our own recent past. Yet there are also those that seem not to suffer so much as a broken fingernail, so I am stumped for a neat answer.  How do I address the question from my older children as to meeting certain physical needs especially ones that have physical real time time limits? Say the electric bill, or some other physical need with a date/time stamp on it? Time isnt' necessary in the eternal sense perhaps, but here are are constrained by it. Are we not to come to our Father, who owns everything, when in desperate physical need? The reason I ask that is because one son is particularly frustrated on this front. I have trouble answering as my earthly father had it within his ability to help me as a child, and willfully withheld. This is somewhat reminiscent, so I am nearly afraid to discuss the matter for fear of coloring the conversation with my own frustration.
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