By St. Nikolai Velimirovich
Our father among the saints, Nikolai Velimirovich, was a gifted theologian combining a high level of erudition with the simplicity of a soul steeped in Christ-like love and humility, is often referred to as the “new Chrysostom” for his inspired preaching. As a spiritual father of the Serbian people, he constantly exhorted them to fulfill their calling as a nation: to serve Christ. During WW II he was imprisoned at the Dachau concentration camp. He later served as a hierarch here in America, where he died.
“The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away” (Job 1:21).
Brethren, let the righteous one fear nothing; all shall be well with him. The whole of Sacred Scripture shows us that God will never forsake the righteous. The example of Job shows us this as clearly as the sun. Job had seven sons and three daughters; he had riches, respect among the people, and friends. And he lost all of this in one day. He did not grumble against God but fell down upon the ground and worshiped and said,
“Naked came I out of my mother’s womb and naked shall I return thither” (Job 1:20-21).
Then Job lost his health, the last of what he had, and his entire body, from the top of his head to the heels of his feet, was covered with sores and pus. And Job sat in ashes and lifted up praise to God. His wife tried to persuade him to renounce his God, but righteous Job said to her:
“Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10).
His friends reproached him, saying that he was sinful and proud in his understanding and righteousness before them, but Job humbly prayed to God and patiently endured all his wounds and misfortunes.
It happens today, as it did then, that when some misfortune befalls us, our neighbors consider themselves to be more intelligent and more righteous than we are. But the most wise God permitted all these misfortunes to fall on Job in order to test not only Job His servant but also his kinsmen and his friends. When each of them had shown what kind of person he was, when each of them had been tested before God, then God, with His almighty right hand, restored Job to health, returned twice as much wealth as He had taken away, and gave him again seven sons and three daughters.
He who has strong faith, brethren, has clear spiritual sight, so that he can see the finger of God in his prosperity as well as in his suffering. He who has strong faith also has great patience in suffering. When God gives to him, he gives thanks, and when God takes away, he blesses:
“Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
O Lord, the God of the long-suffering and patient Job, teach us to bless Thy name in our sufferings. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.