Home Fr. Sophrony Sakharov Why does God allow wars and suffering? | Saint Sophrony the Athonite...

Why does God allow wars and suffering? | Saint Sophrony the Athonite (✝ July 11th)

Learn from St. Sophrony the Athonite about why God allows suffering (+July 11, 1993). This talk covers the role of faith, the importance of prayer, and the meaning behind enduring difficult times.

Essex Monastery, February 8, 1993
Audio source: https://youtu.be/bAVc31Pjibk
English translation adapted after the Romanian version of Fr. Rafail Noica, Cuvantari Duhovnicesti I (30).

St. Sophrony the Athonite:

The distancing of God after two incredibly difficult world wars – the First and Second – has led to the whole world being plunged into crisis and finding no way out. And when we pray to Him for the whole world, He still answers: “Yes, man suffers. And My soul is pleased with those who pray for other people, for the suffering, for all of Adam. But leave it as it is, don’t be troubled by the fact that wars are inevitable, do not be troubled by the fact that people, in their suffering, truly reach the edge of what can be called the limit of pain tolerance.”

My question is this: “Lord! If so many people cry out to You with tears and sighs: ‘Have mercy on us! Have mercy on us and Your world!’”, and He delays in having mercy on us… But He says in the Gospel: “When you hear about all this, lift up your heads, for so it must be” (see Mark 13:7; Luke 21:28). Our earthly life is temporary; it is not here that we reach our end, our fulfillment as a person, as the image of God in its fullness. Yes, this is a powerful question to Christ and to the Father and to the Holy Spirit… “Come and dwell in us, Holy Spirit, Good Comforter.”

Before our eyes, empires are disintegrating, millions of people are dying from hunger and disease. “Where are You, who created us?” And the Lord answers: “This is necessary for eternity.” Man is created in the image and likeness of God. Man must embrace with his love not only humanity, but all creation. And the Lord rejoices when we pray for the suffering, but He delays in coming to heal. Why? Because He can do everything. He says: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more; but fear Him who, after killing the body, has the power to punish” (see Matthew 10:28). This means that He can raise us up in greater glory even after our killing and death. Perhaps we will never again be the way we live now: deprived of love and light.

My soul rejoices when I see you, dear brothers and sisters, as you give your joy, your strength and your prayer to those who come. But after death, what can we do? – Yet the Lord can do everything, always. And these words “so it must be” (see Mark 13:7) we cannot fully understand until we die and reach the final judgment. It would be madness to think that God delights in suffering. He Himself showed such love that will astonish us for all ages and in eternity. And when He comes, we say to Him: “Lord, where were You yesterday or an hour ago?” But strangely, He comes, comforts us with the testimony of His presence, and we have nothing left to ask God. This is how we experience the frailty of our created being: constant fluctuations, constant increases or decreases in pain and suffering, darkness and light. But, knowing this path, we will strive to cry out to the Mother of God, to all the saints, and to God Himself, to give us patience and the strength for this patience.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here