Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Troubled Soul, Do Thy Work

Reviewing the news over the last few months concerning the financial crisis, in at least one article I read that church attendance had increased in the areas around Wall St.  ...pub attendance increased, too.

Intense times of turmoil and difficulty have this effect; we either drop to our knees and renew our relationship with the Almighty or we wring our hands and fret looking to ANYTHING else that will seem to ease the inner stress.  Worst of all is halting all fruitful activity in lieu of constant self-examination, condemnation and the path of destructive thinking -- the delight of demons.

A pearl of wisdom that I’ve known to be true for years but am just now prayerfully asking God to make real in my life is eloquently described by George MacDonald:

“Troubled soul, thou are not bound to feel but thou art bound to arise.  God loves thee whether thou feelest or not.  Thou canst not love when thou wilt, but thou art bound to fight the hatred in thee to the last.  Try not to feel good when thou art not good, but cry to Him who is good.  He changes not because thou changest.  Nay, He has an especial tenderness of love toward thee for that thou art in the dark and hast no light, and His heart is glad when thou doest arise and say, “I will go to my Father” ... Fold the arms of thy faith, and wait in the quietness until light goes up in thy darkness.  For the arms of thy Faith I say, but not of thy Action: bethink thee of something that thou oughtest to do, and go to do it, if it be but the sweeping of a room, or the preparing of a meal, or a visit to a friend.  Heed not thy feeling:  Do thy work.”

Such treasures to be found there...  for me, it is armor for spiritual warfare.  Heeding not our feelings of anxiety, relentless self-examination and doubt and instead, doing our work with faith in God --carrying on-- is the defeat of Satan.  Or, as St. Ilias the Presbyter said:

“Shaking a stick at dogs provokes their fury;  forcing oneself to pray in purity provokes the fury of the demons.”  

*Painting is by Charles Grant Beauregard (1856~1919)

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