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#99 Hold On to Hope

Summary:

Life is full of ups and downs. Even though things are going well, it can suddenly feel like your spiritual life is crashing to the ground. Whatever the reason, here are three tips to help you hold onto hope. God bless you!

Questions:

1) What/who can we turn to in hard times?

2) How can we avoid the crash?

3) What prayers can we say to help us through hard times?

Links:

Orthodox Way of Life, Tightrope Walker - Model for Watchfulness and Faith

Mystagogy, Fr. Raphael Noica: "We Do Not Need to Despair"

Ancient Faith Radio, "Close to Home," I Can Be Hope

Script:

Hey everybody this is Steve and being a Christian has its ups and its downs. There are times in our lives when things seem so easy: we're praying more, we're fasting, we're attending church services, we're treating people with kindness and love. Those are the times when it seems so easy, and so natural, to love God and neighbor.

But then...comes the crash. Maybe things seemed so easy during summer camp, and then so hard once you got back home. Maybe things seemed so easy during Lent, and then so hard after Pascha or Christmas. Maybe it's because we're in a different season, or maybe it's because we made a mistake that's eating at us.

Whatever the cause, we can end up losing hope, drifting further and further from God, the Church, and the people in our lives. Whatever the cause, here are three things to keep in mind, so you can hold onto hope, when things get tough:

First, remember that struggle is inevitable. Remember what we talked about a few weeks ago: Christianity isn't about the stuff we may get or even about the blessings we may receive. It's about God's unconditional love for us, a love that took Him to the cross for our sake. And it's about our struggle to love God and neighbor like that, even when it's hard; especially when it's hard. And trust me, that struggle is difficult for everyone.

If you're in a difficult place, you're not the only one. Which leads me to the next tip: Don't go it alone. When things in our lives aren't going so well, we can feel isolated from God and other people. And that isolation can spiral, driving us further and further into a lonely place. We can feel guilty that praying is harder than it used to be, that forgiving is harder than it used to be. And that guilt can consume us.

That's why, especially in times of difficulty, it's so important that we turn to others for their love and support. So if you're feeling alone because you really, really miss camp and how easy it felt to be a Christian there, reach out to your fellow campers or your fellow counselors. And make an extra effort to pray every day, and attend the services frequently, just like you did at camp.

If you feel like you just can't get into a rhythm with your prayer, share your struggle with someone. Ask to pray with your family or your friends. If your heart is burdened with the weight of mistakes, go to confession. If you don't have a spiritual father, now is a great time to find one. And that leads me to the third tip: See every fall as an opportunity. We've said it again and again, being the bee is about finding God in everything, every day.

Even our mistakes and struggles. You may not realize it but, the next time you fall to a sin that you just can't quit, or it feels like your spiritual life comes crashing to the ground, you have a choice: You can see it as the end, as the victory of the evil one in your life; or you can see it as a chance to rise again, and turn back to God.

When a baby is learning to walk, she may fall down dozens and dozens of times a day; sometimes very painfully. Yet that baby will never learn to walk if she stays down. Because every fall is a chance to rise again. Every sin comes with the chance to turn back to God, and repent.

And so we rise, full of a hope that comes from the knowledge that we are not alone; that we are surrounded by both the loving embrace of God and the loving support of the saints, whether or not they still walk the earth. If you're struggling, I hope this video helps give you a bit of hope, a hope that only exists in my life because of Christ, who was crucified and rose again, and because of those people who introduced Him to me.

 And if you know someone who is struggling, I hope you can be the ray of light that breaks through the darkness. I hope you can be a connection to the hope they need to weather the storm. So let's be the bee, and hold onto hope. Be the Bee, and Live Orthodoxy. Remember to like and subscribe, and share. I'll see you all next week. Thanks to our supporters on Patreon who helped make this episode possible. To support the creation of more Orthodox Christian content, please visit patreon.com/y2am.

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