Our difficulties are opportunities3 October 2022
Our everyday life seems to be made difficult by all the problems, small and great, it involves, but it’s also made beautiful by all the delightful and pleasant aspects, great or small. It’s never only one or the other, and it’s this which makes it interesting.
The pleasant things, for which there isn’t any particular effort involved, we enjoy; however this isn’t so with unpleasant ones. These latter require composure, judiciousness and discernment if we’re to avoid immoderation and wish to reach a positive conclusion, however bleak the outlook may be.
Nevertheless, aside from how we deal with any difficulties of life that might arise, those of us who believe that nothing happens by chance and that we have a Father who loves and is interested in us, will soon see that ‘God has our back’.
Saint Isaac the Syrian says that ‘people will never know divine power if they live in comfort and ease’ . So the difficulties of life confirm the power of God, who activates our own powers and offers us spiritual experience, wisdom, faith and the sense of his presence .
But if we’re to arrive at this certainty and its concomitants, we have to meet certain requirements. These might be the following:
- Prayer. It’s not so much the words we say as the feeling we have when faced by a Person who is ‘not like us’, who transcends us, but who wants us as friends, as his children and his companions. This is why people should pray as they think best, not in a clearly defined way but comfortably and freely.
- The prayers of others. When Christ was in a house in Capernaum and they brought him a paralytic borne by four others, he observed them and cured the man because of their faith. This reminds us of the power of the prayers of our brothers and sisters, whom we humbly ask to pray for us, particularly in times of great trials.
- Guidance. Referring a problem that’s troubling us to someone we trust reduces tension and may well open a window that might lighten our life
- Involvement in other people’s problems. While we may not all have the gift of listening to the difficulties facing other people, as confessors, psychologists and others do, some of those close to us might want to tell us about a trial they’re undergoing. This is an opportunity to set aside our own concerns and to become involved with those of other people. This will help not only them but us, as well, since it’ll take our mind off our own problem and give us the opportunity for a ‘time out’.
In the end, difficulties are opportunities for us to put in order our relationship with our self and with God. They show us the reality of life as being a struggle in an arena, which brings the joy of success, provided, of course we strive on the basis of the commandments of our Lord.
 Isaac the Syrian, Ascetic Discourses (1-26), Philokalia of the Niptic and Ascetic Fathers.