On God’s Providence

St. John Chrysostom ca. 349-407

Therefore, you too, O man, especially do not be inquisitive about the common Master of us all. But if you are so contentious and daring as to rage with such madness, then wait for the final outcome of events. For if the farmer waits the whole winter, considering not what the wheat is undergoing during the time of frost, but the benefit he will get from it, much more so, before Him who cultivates the whole world, as well as our souls, is it fitting for you to wait for the final outcome. But by outcome I do not mean only the outcome in the present life—for often it will be here, as well—but also that in the life to come. God’s economy is directed toward a single end in each of these lives: our salvation and good repute. Even if it is divided in two with regard to time, it is united with regard to objective. Just as at first it is winter  and then it is spring, and the passage of each season has a single goal— the ripening of the fruit—so it is with our affairs.

Therefore, when you see the Church scattered, undergoing the utmost sufferings, its prominent members attacked and flogged, its leader carried afar off, consider not only these things, but also the things that will result from them: the rewards, the compensations, the prizes, the awards. He that endureth to the end shall be saved, says the Lord (Matt. 10:22). In the time of the Old Covenant, when the teaching on the resurrection was not yet well known, both things came to pass in the present life. But in the time of the New Covenant, this is not always so. Rather, there are instances where there are painful things here in this life, and the good things await our departure from here.

Nevertheless, since under the Old Covenant the good things of life were coming to pass for them in this present life, especially admirable are they who did not enjoy these good things, since without clearly knowing the teaching on the resurrection, and seeing events occurring which were contrary to the promises of God, they were not scandalized, they were not thrown into confusion, they were not troubled. Rather, they submitted themselves to God’s incomprehensible providence, not being scandalized by adverse events. Knowing the resourcefulness and inventiveness of His Wisdom, they waited for the end. Moreover, everything that was done to them before the end they endured with thankfulness, and they continued to glorify the God Who allowed these things to take place. (On the Providence of God, Chap. 9. excerpted from Orthodox Word No. 294-295, 2014)

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