Yesterday I posted a large excerpt from a life of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco on my blog, and linked to several posts describing instances of answers to St. John’s intercessions for me and my family beginning in spring 2004.
I have to confess of late that I have been very despairing of any answers to our prayers for a positive resolution to our present circumstances. I have prayed many times with many tears, but the heavens have seemed shut to us. My wife and I have sought out many opportunities for jobs and housing, only to have no tangible return on our efforts thus far. Intellectually, I know that St. John is praying for us and our Lord is carrying out his loving will for us, but in the heart, where my faith resides, it was difficult–no it felt impossible–to believe that. But despite all that, I still try to offer myself to God and I still offer my prayers to the Most Holy Trinity and ask the intercessions of the Theotokos and of St. John.
Well, God condescended to my weak faith and granted me a peek behind the veil as it were, to see that he is, indeed, at work, and to draw me to deeper faith in his love and care for us.
Last night, while praying the Akathist to our holy hierarch John, our phone rang. It was after ten o’clock, and we never receive phone calls that late, not even from family–unless there’s an emergency. The phone rang just as I had finished praying the following from the akathist:
All who have trusted in thy help in desperate circumstances and adversities have found deliverance, O bold intercessor before the Throne of God. Therefore, we too do place our hope in thee to protect us in dangers by thy prayers before God as we call out to thee:
Rejoice, thou who didst stop the powers of nature from doing harm to thy flock.
Rejoice, thou who providest by thy prayer for all in need.
Rejoice, inexhaustible bread for the hungry.
Rejoice, abundant wealth for those who live in poverty.
Rejoice, consolation for those in sorrow.
Rejoice, quick uplifting for those Who have fallen.
Rejoice, O holy Hierarch John, wonderworker of the latter times.
It wasn’t perhaps appropriate to interrupt my prayers for a telephone call, but I did anyway. On the phone was my dad. He was on the way home from second shift at the refinery and was asking about our current circumstances. I told him where things stood. He told me that he was going to put a month’s rent in our account at the credit union tomorrow (that is, today).
Now, a month’s rent doesn’t exactly wipe the slate clean, but it sure does bring some daylight to a dark situation.
You may guess that my gratitude to God, the Theotokos, St. John, and, of course, my father, runs deep. And I cannot but think, rightly or wrongly, that the juxtaposition of the timing of my praying those specific lines from the akathist prayers and one answer to those prayers was somehow divinely arranged for the strengthening of my faith.