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The Lord’s Suffering

[I Tim. 5:1–10; Luke 17:20–25]

Hav­ing said that the Son of Man will appear in his day like light­ning, instant­ly illu­mi­nat­ing every­thing under heav­en, the Lord added: But first must He suf­fer many things, and be reject­ed of this gen­er­a­tion. The word order here makes it appar­ent that this “must suf­fer” should pre­cede Lord’s appear­ance in glo­ry. Thus, the whole time until that day is the time of the Lord’s suf­fer­ing. He suf­fered in His per­son at one known time; after that His suf­fer­ings con­tin­ue in believers—suffering as they are born, their upbring­ing in the spir­it and pro­tec­tion from actions of the ene­my, both inner and outer—for the Lord’s union with His own is not just men­tal or moral, but liv­ing. Every­thing that touch­es them is accept­ed by Him as well, as the head. There­fore, it is impos­si­ble not to see that the Lord indeed suf­fers much. The most painful sor­rows are the falls of believ­ers; even more painful for Him is when they fall away from the faith. But these are the final wounds; as con­tin­u­ous­ly wound­ing arrows are the sor­rows, temp­ta­tions, and waver­ing faith of unbe­lief. Words and writ­ings that exude unbe­lief are kin­dled arrows of the evil one. Nowa­days, the evil one has led many black­smiths to forge such arrows. The hearts of believ­ers ache when they are struck by them and see oth­ers being struck. The Lord aches too. But the day of the Lord’s glo­ry will appear—then all the secret dark­ness will be revealed, and those who have suf­fered will rejoice with the Lord. Until that time we must endure and pray.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse