by Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky
from The Word, February 1967
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” (St. Matthew 6:34)
How many of us spend precious time on this earth inside a dark cloud of anxiety, worrying about things over which we have no control? Do we really believe in God?
If we say we believe that God exists, we should know that He is in command of our destiny. True believers live with an inner peace, because they know that God is the Ultimate Lord of history. If we doubt God’s Plan, we begin relying on our own scheme for the future.
Too many of the brief days of our lives we spend in worrying and planning. It is enough to be afraid of what we have really to fear. Anxiety is a nebulous fear, an irrational state of mind, leading to more serious mental breakdown.
If it were told us that we are trying to be little gods, doing what only God can do, we would deny it. Yet, that is what we do when we put our trust in our own ideas. Even more, when what we had desired doesn’t come about, when we have to abandon our own ideas, we blame God for rejecting us, or else we deny His Omnipotence.
Our age is an age of anxiety, because nearly all people in our world are agnostics. We cannot see God at work in our world, so we do God’s worrying and planning for Him. Only because we have no faith, can we ask all the fruitless “What if” questions that lead eventually to alcoholism, depression, or worse. Such questions are:
“What will happen if I should become ill for a long time?”
by Fr. John Abdalah
from The Word, June 1990
If we consult a Bible concordance for the words “belief” and “faith”, we find many pages of Biblical references. So very much has been said in the Scriptures and by the Fathers, yet these words are still misused and misunderstood. In the Western Churches, debates on “faith alone”, or “faith and works”, have caused division and strife. Today, in our consumer-oriented society, as we look at the Scriptures, we tend to want to know what is promised, what we deserve, and what we can get from our faith and belief. Certainly, “all things are possible to him who believes”; but only from searching the whole of the Scriptures and the mind of the Church, can we come to understand what is revealed to us by God. Our understanding of faith cannot be limited to a belief in the existence of God. Satan knows that God is God, the demons recognized and knew Jesus Christ, and many devil-worshippers recognize, yet wish to deny, what God reveals to us.
One aspect of faith is trust: to trust that God will take care of all that we can not; to trust that God in His Wisdom will bring us all to salvation. Nevertheless, knowing about God and trusting in His might is still not enough. We are called to believe and to trust, and this belief leads us to experience God in the Church that He established, guides, and lives within. Our God “rests in His Saints”, and abides in His Church.
The core of Deacon Philip's service to everyone, whether as paramedic, husband, father, or deacon in the church, was his love for God. And that love has touched hundreds, even thousands, with God's mercy.
I cannot remember a time in my ministry when Deacon Philip Gilbert (also known as Frank Delano Gilbert, or affectionately as “Lane") wasn't somewhere around, helping, strengthening, and encouraging me. He was one of the most remarkable young men I have ever known.
We began working together when Lane was quite young. Even as a teenager, Lane was special. He was one of those who was always involved in church services, in special programs, in Bible study groups. At school, he was an outspoken witness for Christ. He was quite talented - an athlete, intelligent, musical. He devoted his summers to teaching children about Christ, working as a counselor at the Lake Region Christian Assembly in Crown Point, Indiana. His enthusiasm was contagious; he could be entertaining and still bring young people to see that loving Christ was what life is all about. And his sincerity made the music and teaching all the more special.
When l served as youth minister at the Deep River Church of Christ in Hobart, Indiana, Lane was in my youth group, as was his wife-to-be, Kimberly. God had his reasons for bringing us all together, for as future events would reveal, we would all make the journey to Orthodoxy at Holy Resurrection Church - first in Gary, then in Hobart. l would one day watch with joy as these two fine Christians were married, and celebrate with them the birth of their three children, David (now 13), Christine (11), and Emily (8).