Having said that the Son of man shall come like the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven (Luke 17:24), the Lord added: But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation (Luke 17:25). It is evident from this passage that this must he suffer will precede the glorious coming of the Lord. Consequently, all time until that day is the time of the Lord’s suffering. He suffered in person at a certain moment; since that time, his suffering continues in his followers: the suffering of their birth, their spiritual growth and protection from the enemy’s attacks. The unity of the Lord and his people isn’t a mere abstraction or an unsubstantiated moral claim; it is real, and therefore everything pertaining to them also concerns him as their Head. In view of what we have said, it is clear that the Lord suffers a lot, indeed.
The most painful for him are the believers’ failures; apostasies make him ache even more. These are the final wounds; the constant arrows are those of sorrows, temptations, and hesitations caused by unbelief. Speeches and writings that breathe unbelief are the burning arrows of the evil one. Nowadays, the evil one has established quite a few blacksmith’s shops to make those arrows. The believers’ hearts ache when struck by those arrows; the Lord sees their afflictions and his heart aches, too. However, the day of the Lord’s glory shall come: the dark mysteries will be uncovered, and the sufferers will rejoice with the Lord. Until then, we have to be patient and persistent in prayer.
By St. Theophan the Recluse
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds