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Help from God

[I John 3:11–20; Mark 14:10–42] Saint Peter so enthusias­ tically insisted that he would not re­ ject the Lord; but when it came down to it, he denied Him, and three times no less. Such is our weakness! Do not rely upon your­ self, and when you enter into the midst of enemies, place all your hope to overcome them on the Lord. For this purpose such a fall was al­ lowed to such a great person — so that afterwards nobody would dare on his own to do something good or to overcome some enemy, either in­ ner or outer. You must hope in the Lord, but not stop trying. Help from the Lord joins our efforts, and thus makes them powerful. If these ef­ forts are not there, God’s help has nowhere to descend, and it will not descend. But again, if you are filled with self-reliance, and consequently you have no need for help and seek no help — again, God’s help will not descend. How is it to descend when it is considered unnecessary?! Nei­ ther, in this case, is there anything with which to receive it. It is receiv­ ed by the heart. The heart opens up to receive through a feeling of need. So both the former and the latter are needed. Say, “Help, O God!” But don’t just lie around.

Saint Theophan the Recluse