by St. Nikolai Velimirovich
About how our salvation is in the hands of God
“The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but salvation is in the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31).
We are obligated to prepare ourselves but our success depends on God. All of our preparation is only a proposal to God but the proposal does not decide, but God decides. That is why people wisely say according to their experience: man proposes and God disposes. O Soldier of Christ, prepare your mind as a good horse, arm your heart with virtues, temper your will with mortifications, but know – that “salvation is in the Lord.”
O Merchant of Christ, practice good trade every day, exchanging the material for the spiritual, the earthly for the heavenly and mortality for immortality, but know – that “salvation is in the Lord.”
O Plowman of Christ, plow and re-plow your soul, sow the good evangelical seed on it every day, weed out the field of your soul from weeds, watch over it, but know that “salvation is in the Lord.” A horse did not help the pharaoh in the Red Sea. Neither did the riches of Babylon help in the day of reckoning with God. A person can prepare all but, nevertheless, in that decisive moment can lose everything. For salvation is not in preparation, but in the Lord.
That is why the saints, even though most prepared for the Kingdom of God and, in their hour of death, sighed not knowing whether they will be received into the Kingdom. O how well they remember the words of the Lord:
“When you have done everything that was commanded you, say: ‘We are unprofitable servants!’ ” (St. Luke 17:10).
Brethren, let us be prepared for the day of temptation, well girded and armed but let us not hope in our own preparation, but in the Lord.
O Lord our Savior, help us and save us.