Letting Go in times of uncertainty

I grew up, as most of us did, in a school system which emphasized planning. I learned to schedule time for homework assignments, work time, play time, social time; all the things in the life of the successful student.

Planning continued to be emphasized when I entered the workforce. I learned management techniques designed to create and implement the goals of the organization in one year, five year, fifteen year plans. Margins of error were allowed but goals had to be set. And not just for the organization, I was encouraged to set personal goals and develop plans accordingly. Keep my eyes on the prize, be a man with a plan…. And I was, despite the poster on my wall which read ‘Let Go and let God’.

I regularly assessed my life, considered my options, prayed and decided on a course of action, because as my mom used to say, God can’t steer a boat that isn’t moving. Even if that was true, it wasn’t God steering the boat, it was me, at least until I foundered or couldn’t read my chart.

When I reach the point where I had done everything I could and could do no more, I would finally “let go and let God” take over. Or if some sort of unplanned disruption happened, accident, illness, whatever, I would ‘let go and let God’ until life settled down into some sort of new normal, then I would take back control and steer my life as if I knew what I was doing, And God would let me if I insisted, because… free will. It’s taken a lot of foundering and mistakes for me to finally allow God to take full control and be my pilot in all that I do.

Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me. Psalm 5:8

I used to read the latter part of the verse as “make my way straight before you.” This is the difference between, “Oh Lord, bless that which I am about to do” and “Oh Lord, what do you want me to do?”

I’m not saying I let God decide every little thing in my life. I’ll not stay in bed until I have a word from God as to what clothes to wear, what colour socks to put on. I went through that briefly, shortly after I became a Christian and dismissed the exercise as silly. I am, like every person, created with the ability to make decisions and it is my decision making which can enable or delay my salvation BUT (and it’s a big but), if I am in continuous prayer, keeping my eyes on Christ, opportunities to serve God will make themselves known.

For instance, one day I had to run to the store where I bumped into someone I hadn’t seen for awhile. We talked for a bit and said goodbye. I have no idea what effect, if any, our meeting had on her. But I do know if I had been grumbling about running out of whatever, and becoming irritated with the necessity of leaving home, the parking, the number of people in the store and my inability to find what I needed right away, it would have been a very different conversation, if I had had one at all. Instead, I treated the ‘inconvenience’ as an adventure.

In the past, I spent one week experiencing all of life as an adventure and that was when my family moved to BC. We drove from Northern Ontario at the end of January. It was a week of ‘letting go and letting God’. We experienced vehicle breakdowns which took us off the road during snowstorms. We met strangers who helped us with problems and fed us pancakes while we shared stories. It was a wonderful week of wondering, what is God going to do next and actually looking forward to the next problem to find out.

It’s the way I want to live my whole life. Doing what God sets before me, even though it may have nothing to do with what I’ve planned.

Lord, open my eyes so I can see Your way straight before me.

June 2015 Newsletter

st-john-wonderworker

Saint of the Month

St. John the Wonderworker
Born  June 4, 1896
He was a pastor and spiritual father of high reputation and a reputed wonderworker to whom was attributed great powers of prophecy, clairvoyance and healing, and he is often referred to simply as “St. John the Wonderworker”. St. John was born Mikhail Borisovich Maximovitch in present-day southern Ukraine. In 1926 he was ordained a hierodeacon and given the name of John after his saintly relative, St John of Tobolsk. Later that same year, he was ordained to the priesthood and in 1934 he was ordained and assigned to the diocese of Shanghai. In 1951 John was assigned to the archdiocese of Western Europe. Thanks to his work in collecting lives of saints, a great many pre-Schism Western saints became known in Orthodoxy and continue to be venerated to this day. In 1962 John was once again reassigned by the Holy Synod to the see of San Francisco. On July 2, 1966, St. John died while visiting Seattle. His feast day is celebrated on the Saturday nearest to July 2.
Excerpts from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_of_Shanghai_an d_San_Francisco

Sts Peter and Paul- Feast day: June 29

The hymns for their Feast speak of Sts Peter and Paul as leaders, and chiefs of the Apostles. They are, without a doubt, the foremost in the ranks of the Apostles.
St Peter, the brother of St Andrew, was a fisherman on the sea of Galilee. He, with James and John, witnessed the most important miracles of the Savior’s earthly life. Despite his earlier recognition of Christ as the Son of God, he denied Him three times on the night before the Crucifixion. Therefore, after His Resurrection, the Lord asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Then He told Peter to feed His sheep. (John 21:15-17). After the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, St Peter addressed the crowd (Acts 2:14), and performed many miracles in Christ’s name. St Peter also traveled to many places in order to proclaim the Gospel message. He wrote two Epistles, which are part of the New Testament. St Peter was put to death in Rome during the reign of Nero

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St Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin, and lived in Tarsus in Cilicia. He once described himself as a Hebrew, an Israelite of the seed of Abraham (2 Cor. 11:22). He was also a Pharisee and a tent-maker (Acts 18:3) who had studied the Law with Gamaliel at Jerusalem. At first, he was called Saul, and had persecuted the Church. He was present at the stoning of St Stephen (Acts 7: 58). Then, on the road to Damascus, he was converted when Christ appeared to him. Blinded by the vision, he was healed when Ananias laid his hands on him. After his cure, he was baptized (Acts 9:18). St Paul preached the Gospel in Greece, Asia Minor, and in Rome, and wrote fourteen Epistles. Tradition says that he was martyred in Rome about the year 68.  http://oca.org/saints/all-lives/2013/06/29

 

Venerable Macarius’ Miracle of the Moose

 

During the invasion of Russia by the Khan Olug Moxammat of Kazan in 1439, Zheltovodsky (Yellow Lake) Monastery of Holy Trinity was destroyed. Venerable Macarius, the founder of the monastery, was taken prisoner along with a few other survivors. After meeting with Macarius, the khan was so impressed by the nonagenarian abbot’s piety and love of his neighbor, that he released him and his disciples, on the condition that they leave the Yellow Lake site.
The Yellow Lake (which was located at the fall of the Kerzhenets into the Volga) being too perilously close to the invasion route taken by the Kazan Khanate armies invading Russian principalities and vice versa, the released survivors decided to relocate a few hundred kilometers to the north, into the fastness of the Galich forests, which are located along the Unzha River in what today is Kostroma Oblast. Taking the easy route along the Volga would not be a safe thing to do in this year of war; so the Saint and his followers choose to travel through the dense woodlands and swamps of the Kerzhenets basin — the land which is even today is almost deserted by people.
After a few days of travel, the monks ran out of food. One day they somehow managed to capture a moose . . . . . .  read more in the newsletter.

 

 

Who Do You Trust?

 

Fr. Andrew
Trust is one of the most precious gifts we can give to each other. It is the very foundation of solid marriages and deep friendships. When trust is fractured and begins to be lost, everything becomes shaky and uncertain, we feel lost and betrayed and flounder like a rudderless ship. This is especially true when it comes to our trust and faith in God. Throughout the scriptures we are called to trust in God, for He alone is always trustworthy. He alone perfectly knows and loves us and desires to bring us into true communion and transformation through Christ. As we come to know God and to trust Him with every fibre of our lives, we slowly grow in our ability to truly trust that all things are working out for our good. This in turn gives us the ability, when those we love and trust behave badly, to still be able to maintain our trust that God is faithful, and forgive and hold our hearts open.

 

It is important that we choose carefully where we put our trust. Today’s advertising culture, and all of mankind’s history is littered with people who have made it their mission to win our trust that they might benefit themselves. The entire goal of the multi-billion dollar advertising industry is to win our trust and secure brand loyalty to build their sales. Often any type of manipulation or half truth is considered to be acceptable, as long as it drives sales. We are inundated with self-proclaimed “experts” in every field who assure us that they are indeed trustworthy and if we just “trust” them and buy their recommended product or follow their plan, our lives too can be as wonderful as theirs. It is even considered fair game to choose well known celebrities to promote any given product or brand, as after all wouldn’t we like to be like them? I mean if you can’t trust Dr. Oz or Oprah who can you trust?