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[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