God is Present
The sermon given in the Cathedral on the
evening of Wednesday 22-12-1004
I would like to thank you all brothers and
beloved. I am not only present with you now but you
are always in my heart. I lived all my days in your
hearts and I am still living there… And when I went to
the monastery I took you all with me in my heart and
mind. For you I am here, and for you I go there… I
took you in my heart and my mind, you and your
pains and problems to put them all before God and
before those who are in charge… And I thank God a
lot because some of these problems have been solved
and some are still remaining and needs solution…
And the students or the youths who are in jail,
without any fault committed from their side, I will
continue to be sad for them and I will keep praying
for them until they are all released from jail… And
whatever people can not solve, God will solve. And
God accustomed us to the fact that He is always with
us and we trust Him and believe in His work and wait
for the Lord…
You know that in every hardship I say three
statements: God is present, Everything works for the
good, and it is destined to end.
And tonight I would like to talk to you about the
statement [God is present].
From the theological and dogmatic point of view,
all believers around the world believe that God
exists… But I would like to address this subject from
the point of God’s presence in our life and from the
point of our feeling of His presence and work in us.
(God is present) means God sees, God hears,
and God knows what is going on. God will
handle it and act and will never leave matters
the way they are…
God is present everywhere, with everyone, and in
every occasion. And we are used to see God’s hand
clearly in our life and all what we face. We saw God in
every time stepping-in in our life matters and this is
We do not deal with people a lot but we deal
more with God himself.
God is present as the Pantocrator. And we
mention this characteristic a lot in our prayers.
The Pantocrator, meaning that all is under His
hand, all is under His control… All people are in God’s
hands. Believe me, even the devil himself and all the
evil powers are controlled by God himself, who draws
limits for them. Otherwise, if the strong ate the weak,
people would have never lived on Earth, unless if God
was interfering and interfering strongly too.
God created the universe and did not leave it but
He manages all its matters…
And I constantly say to everyone: You are not
alone. You are living life and God is with you. He
never leaves you for a single moment nor for a
twinkling of an eye.
(God is present) for He is the Shepherd of us
And so the chanter say in the psalm: “The LORD
is my shepherd; I shall not want.” “He makes me to
lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the
still waters.” And says “Yea, though I walk through
the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;” (Ps 23).
And the Lord says in the book of Ezekiel: “I will
feed My flock, and I will make them lie down… I will
seek what was lost and bring back what was driven
away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was
sick… and feed them in judgment” (Ez 34:15, 16).
And we trust in God’s care to us. We trust Him in
everything. Even from the side of His rod and staff we
say “they comfort me”…
We trust in the Glorious Lord’s saying about His
flock: “neither shall anyone snatch them out of My
hand… and no one is able to snatch them out of My
Father's hand.” (Jn 10:28, 29).
And when we say (God is present) we mean
that he is the preserver and the supporter.
And we always chant a phrase from the psalm
“The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall
preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve your
going out and your coming in From this time forth,
and even forevermore.” (Ps 121). It is a phrase that
the guardian angel says to every human while he
prays. Or the praying person says to himself to
comfort himself, calm down and assure himself.
Because the Lord said to our father Jacob:
“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever
you go, and will bring you back to this land” (Gn
28:15). He also is the one who preserved prophet
Jonah in the fish’s belly and saved the three young
men in the burning fiery furnace so that the hair of
their head was not singed (Dn 3). And saved Daniel in
the den of lions so that he chanted his loving song
“My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths”
God is the one who saved the righteous Joseph from
his brothers when they threw him in the well, saved
him when he was sold as a salve and served in
Potiphar’s house, saved him when he was thrown in
jail and gave him back his honor multiplied so that he
finally said to his brothers: “you meant evil against
me; but God meant it for good” (Gn 50:20).
We believe that God saves us from the devil, from
sins and from tribulations. He saved St Athansious
when he was exiled four times, saved St John in his
exile in Patmos Island and appeared to him and
showed him many visions. Even the children, He says
about them in the psalm: “The LORD preserves the
simple” (Ps 116:6).
We get too troubled if we forget that God is
present and he preserves us.
And God’s history in keeping us is a long
history that we will not forget.
I wish that every one of us sits with himself and
remember how many times God preserved him. And
praise the Lord saying: “Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless
the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:”
(Ps 103:1, 2).
In the phrase (God is present) we remember
that God is the one taking care of all.
He said: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11:28).
Thus, the bible says: “Cast your burden on the LORD,
And He shall sustain you” (Ps 55:22) and the psalm
says: “May the LORD answer you in the day of
trouble” (Ps 20:1).
Yes, God, in whom we believe, has a great
characteristic which is (the comforter of the
troubled) so “Wait on the LORD; Be of good
courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I
say, on the LORD!” (Ps 27:14) for God is the one
caring for all.
He even takes care of animals and birds,
even the worm that moves beneath a stone…
“He gives to the beast its food, And to the young
ravens that cry” (Ps 147:9). Even the birds of the air
who neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns “your
heavenly Father feeds them” (Mt 6:26). And He says
about sparrows: “Are not two sparrows sold for a
copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground
apart from your Father's will.” (Mt 10:29). And after
this He says: “But the very hairs of your head are all
God took care of animals and birds in Noah’s Ark
and took care of Noah along with animals and beasts.
He also took care of butterflies and gave them
beautiful colors. “Even Solomon in all his glory was
not arrayed like one of these” (Mt 6:29). And He took
care of singing birds and gave them beautiful voices
without them asking Him for it. He took care of the
bee and gave it the art of making honey and
organizing its work. He cared for the peacock and
gave it beauty in its feathers.
If it was so with animals and birds, then He cared
for the human much more!
God cares for us more than we do for
And we live this faith. He says: “I will not leave
you nor forsake you” (Js 1:5). Therefore, we rely on
Him and His promise that states: “If a woman forgets
her nursing child I will not forget you”.
And He cares for us through His angels and
their protection to us.
The psalm says about that: “For He shall give His
angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash
your foot against a stone.” (Ps 91:11, 12). And in our
daily prayers we say: “Surround us by Your holy
angels, that, by their camp, we may be guarded and
guided”. And we believe in the guardian angel who
guards every human. And we have a constant
relationship with angels. And the day before
yesterday we were celebrating the feast of Archangel
And in saying that (God is present), we
remember God’s tenderness and kindness.
If God was tender with birds and insects, then
how much He is with the human. It is of God’s
kindness to the human that He gave him mind, soul
and will. And gave him conscience, gave him the
divine response and promised him the eternal life. He
gave him the blessing, the authority, the
perseverance and gave him what he did not ask for
and more than he asks for. And that is, if he cries,
God will wipe away every tear from his eyes…
If God is so in His kindness, then why does
He allow trials to come?
God allows trials to come because of their
benefits. St James says about that: “My brethren,
count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (Jas
1:2). And we should know the reasons behind every
trial coming on us and how to deal with it.
Among the benefits of trials is that they
gather us in one heart compassioning with one
another. And I, in the last ten days, in the
monastery, met with more than 1800 reverend
priests from all dioceses, and with 63 of the reverend
bishops and metropolitans other than those who
called me on the telephone. And this is how the trial
gathers us all together. We think with one mind. And
see what our problems are and work on solving them
in one spirit. And in today’s meeting 45 reverend
metropolitans and bishops and 240 reverend priests
are attending with us.
Also among the benefits of trials is that
when a trial come upon us we start checking
ourselves from inside for each to settle an
account with oneself, and reconcile with God if
we were far from Him. And in trials, we see that
people in their fasts, prayers and taking communion
were reconciling with God so that they ask Him
without shame. This is according to the Lord’s saying:
“Return to Me, and I will return to you” (Ml 3:7).
Among the benefits of trials is that they reveal
things to us and give us a clearer vision. As the poet
May God bless tribulations
By them I distinguished my enemy from my
Also among the benefits of trials is that
through them we see God’s hand working with
us and with others. In trials we gain a spiritual
experience by which we see that God is present.
We, brothers, practically recognize God and His
work, not through theology books or doctrine books
but in our whole life path.
We do not only believe in God about whom the
books talk, but we believe more in God who we see in
our life exactly if He is present in front of us. And we
see how He works and we admire His power and
wisdom. God is blessed in all His work with us…
Through trials we then gain spiritual
experience with God and the events. It is a school
that we call the school of trials. A spiritual school. And
every person going through trials grows in
knowledge, wisdom and experience. And goes into a
training on how to deal with matters and see how
they are solved in front of him.
And in trials we see the verse saying: “With men
it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all
things are possible” (Mk 10:27).
And when we meditate in trials. We see that
they are all for the good. As the bible says: “all
things work together for good to those who love
God” (Ro 8:28).
And trials, my brothers, are not a type of
abandonment because they come with help. The
trial is always in the bounds of our capabilities to bear
it. It also comes with an outcome as the bible says:
“but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be
tempted beyond what you are able, but with the
temptation will also make the way of escape, that you
may be able to bear it” (1 Co 10:13).
And we always face the trial with a peace of
heart… The matter, of course, needs wisdom in
acting, with the peace of heart.
We are trying to find a solution. And when it is
hard to find one, we put the trail in God’s hands. Or
we put God between us and the trial so that we see
God and do not see the trial. And we feel that God is
present with us. We leave our problems between His
hands and we believe in His loving kind hand…
Therefore, we ask God to handle the remaining
matters. And we hope that He solves them.
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