The Hand of God
My beloved, you ought to never despair, because in the worst circumstances of your life, the Lord will stretch out His hand to deliver you. I could speak to you of hundreds of instances in my life when everything seemed lost on the horizon, when I saw no hope for me, yet at that very moment God opened a door…. Countless times in my life, especially when I was imprisoned [in the gulag-tr. note], God delivered me form sin and from this world.
I remember when I was appointed professor at the theological seminary. It was during the summer time and in the fall, the Patriarch Justinian came to me at the seminary and said:
“Prepare yourself for the priesthood!”
I did not have enough theological training at the time, as I completed only the college training, not yet the Seminary, so I had some knowledge but I wasn’t too confident! When I reflected on how Saint John Chrysostom fled when he was to be ordained a priest, and on St. Gregory [the Theologian], who also wrote of his experience, I too feared! If these saints fled from the priesthood as been a great responsibility, who was I not too? Then the patriarch came to me the second time that fall and said:
“Thursday you’ll be made deacon!”
As that following Thursday was dedicated to the seminary; and I was troubled again, especially when he added:
“And on Sunday, you’ll be ordained priest.”
And it was so. I tried to pray…. but he said: “You’re ready.”
And I was ordained a priest.
Many [terrible] things have happened in life, which can trouble many people. But God freed me from all as if my guardian angel would have pulled me by the neck and deliver me from everything; from great spiritual temptations while imprisoned, threats, etc. They all passed over me like a cloud, which God drove away. And even though I was in prison with no hope to be freed, God delivered me from this also.
When I go to visit my village and meet with my fellow primary-school mates, there are only two or three left [alive], and they have not lived the gulag experience, and from my fellow high school colleagues, there are only ten left.
All these things that God works with us, we ought to see. We must see the hand of the Lord over us in all circumstances. Let’s not be carried away by temptations that we’re strong, or wealthy, or smart, or that we can accomplish much…
My brother, let’s not give into any temptation, but we ought to always say: “God willing it will do this and that” … And it [His] will be done. Do not imagine that chance, luck or fate governs your life, as our life is in the hands of God. Let us remember what our Savior said:
“Not even one hair from your head will perish without My knowledge.”
(Excerpt from: Father George Calciu’ Living Words: “To serve Christ means suffering”, translations by EC).