even when you suffer to the edge of death…

Vassily Maximov’s Sick Husband (1844)

Don’t fear sicknesses, even when you suffer up to the edge of death. As God is constantly present, why do you worry? “In Him we live and move.” Our struggle is in His embrace. We breathe God, we are surrounded by God, we touch God, we mystically eat God. Wherever we turn, wherever we look, God is everywhere: in Heaven, on earth, in the abyss, in wood, in rocks, in our mind, in your heart. So doesn’t He see what you bear? That you suffer? Tell Him your complaints and you will see… healing both in your soul and in your body.

The powers of darkness are not fought with sweets and Turkish Delight, but with conduits of tears, with pain of the soul until death, with extreme humility and great patience, with unceasing painful prayer.

The enemy is found entrenched and full armed at all three points which constitute man: soul, body, and environment. He doesn’t miss any opportunity to pressure man and to test his faith. The devil, according to each circumstance, attacks and opposes our decisions. His main goal, however, is to hurt our faith and to humiliate man as a traitor and denier. If he manages to do this, he dampens man’s desire and zeal. Everything takes place for the sake of faith, but, at the same time, faith upholds all things. If faith is shaken, then all things quiver and the front line bends.

~Elder Joseph the Hesychast: Precious Vessels

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