Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian: Why Has God Abandoned Us?

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What would you like to know about the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith? Submit your question.

By Nicholas Damascus

Why has God abandoned us? 

I received this inquiry from a person who lives in what may be described as an area of the world where conditions are not conducive to a Christian environment. They have an apparent need to inquire about the ancient Orthodox Church and further explore and study the Christian Word of God. 

Inquirer

We live in Indonesia, and for many of us, it is impossible to change our religion, for we are forced to inherit our parent’s religion, either Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, etc. We feel abandoned, forsaken, and disparaged that the ancient church has not come to us.

Will the church come to us someday with our continued efforts to incorporate the Word of God into our lives? Will the Lord hear our prayers and come to us as we petition Him with the Jesus Prayer and other prayers?

We are interested in the writings of many saints, like Saint Paisios and Saint Porphyrios, that address Orthodox psychotherapies on depression, despair, despondency, and many other illnesses. These treatments appear to be more effective in their results than the traditional and institutional psychotherapies.  

Response

It is a good thing to have a Christian church nearby to attend and worship together; however, that is not always possible, especially in hostile environments or remote areas of the world. For now, perhaps one could, for the time being, gather together and create a small mission, praying together and studying the Scriptures. Most often, that’s how churches are eventually established, from a grassroots mission movements. Because there isn’t a church close to you, that does not mean that God has abandoned you. Christ says, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt 18:20). The Body of Christ is His church, and we, as believers in Christ, are that church.  

If you know about the Orthodox Christian faith, you will come to realize that it is God that dwells in you as Saint Paul states, “….it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (Gal 2:20). And again as in 1st Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you” and yet the at the same time, the mystery is, that the Holy Spirit of God is also everywhere, present, and fillest all things.”  

You made reference that some of the Fathers talk about psychotherapies.  The faith deals with the healing of the whole human person, which includes the body, soul, and spirit. If anyone of these parts has become dysfunctional in reference to the way they were designed to function, then the whole person suffers from that misalignment. The disease of the human being is sin, and the medicine is repentance, which is Christ’s first major message for us to gain entrance into the Kingdom of God.  

One final note, I would persist in your efforts to study the Scriptures and reach out to those Orthodox Christian authorities or other communities to express your interest and desires. Blessings to all of you, and your endeavors.

Nicholas Damascus

About Nicholas Damascus

Nick Damascus is one who seeks to discover and apply the proverbial question of what is truth and wisdom, to fill that gaping hole, to become complete and to become realistically and synergistically functional. In an attempt to live the Christian life, which he says is a definite work in progress, he has discovered that he's created the Christ that fits his lifestyle and agrees with his ego (and boy what an ego, he says), carefully avoiding what God intended him to be.

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