So that we finally believe in Him.
The unit for measuring faith has not been invented yet, but its value determines the degree and the character of a person’s closeness to God. There are fewer convinced atheists than we think. When asked whether or not they recognize the existence of God, most of your personal respondents will answer in the affirmative, even if they are not Christians or actively practicing representatives of any religion in general. What kind of God they would bear in their minds and how actively they are growing in the knowledge of Him is another story, which however determines the clarity and depth of faith.
It is not difficult to agree that God exists. It is much harder to accept His laws at the level of your own convictions. To do that, one needs to explore Christian teaching, regularly analyze what the Savior said, conduct an internal dialogue with God on this score, and then effectively accept it. The Lord says that we can move mountains if we have faith in Him as small as a mustard seed. But we don’t move them. Moreover, as soon as we run into a more ore less serious problem in which our faith is tested, cowardice becomes our second “I”.
So, faith is based on trust. We believe in the existence of God as the Highest Power, we believe in the Holy Scriptures, in which God is revealed to us. Consequently, we must trust God completely, listening carefully to His voice and trying to read it between the lines of our life story. After all, a single hair will not fall from our head without God’s will. It means that we are safe as long as we trust God and strive to act in accordance with His will. If we fail that and do not use our efforts to fulfil the commandments spending our time on reflection, introspection and correction of life towards the Heavenly Kingdom, it is obvious that confidence in God in our hearts will waver and fade away.
To avoid that God puts us through trials, kind of a “shock therapy” through which our inner rebirth occurs. Sometimes it is difficult for us to keep the bar of spiritual life high solely by the power of self-persuasion. This is when the Lord sends us a stressful occurrence or even a turn of events to maintain the light of faith in our hearts. God awakens us from spiritual slumber, calls us to realize the temporality of earthly life and the obsolescence of material values, so that we can finally separate ourselves from that colossus on clay feet that today’s world is. It was the same with the apostles during Christ’s taming of the storm.
As the Gospel says, the miracle of feeding the five thousand did not strengthen the Savior’s disciples in faith. For them that event seems to have been some kind of a marvel, albeit unusual, but not so deeply experienced. The apostles’ hearts of stone (Mark 6:52) did not awaken from hibernation until they experienced terror in the face of possible death. What were their thoughts about while they were in the boat at the time of the storm? Were they paralysed by fear? Did any of them pray? We do not know that. But soon the Savior (whom they at first took for a ghost) walked across the water and approached them from the shore. He stopped the storm and joined them in the boat. Only on the brink of inevitable death Christ succeeded in reaching the apostles’ hearts.
People sometimes ask why there is so much evil, sorrow and suffering in the world. The answer is simple: everything begins with man decisively violating the harmony of the world. God wishes every person the happiness of eternal life, but man often behaves like a maniac refusing to hear good exhortations trying to reach him either through words of a sermon, or sounding from the Internet, or written in books, or coming from the lips of fellow Christians. The human soul is dearer to God than the whole world, and that is why sometimes He knocks on our hearts’ doors a little louder, sending us certain trials.
There are countless cases when religiously indifferent people came to God through illness or otherwise difficult situations. Gradually, the Lord would help them overcome their health problems (often in a manner inexplicable for modern medicine), sent prosperity and domestic harmony, blessed with children and careers, money and prosperity. In the end, a completely different person emerged from that epic of trials. There is a world of difference between that person’s faith at the beginning of the mournful path and after the situation was resolved. An atheist has turned into a Christian, a lukewarm believer – into a passionary, a righteous one – into a saint, grateful for the suffering on his or her way to find God, the most precious treasure in the world.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds