What to Do in Difficult Times? Elders’ Advice

Quotes from famous spiritual fathers on what to do in situations that cause anxiety, confusion and fear of the future.

Archimandrite John (Krestiankin) (1910-2006)

The only way to resist fear is our faith in God and our life according to this faith. Turmoils and confusion have so much power over our lives because we lack living faith and trust in God. These enemies  force out peace of mind and good faith. Live quietly, pray to God and trust Him. The Lord certainly knows how to save His children in difficult times, as long as we remain faithful to Him in our hearts.

… Prayer is best taught in difficult life situations. For example, I truly learned to pray while in prison, being on the verge of death every day.


… I will never tire of repeating to you the words of the holy fathers, who went through a harsh school of sorrows and came to know peace and joy in God. Their words are the core of our fortitude, giving us strength to stand in faith: There is nothing self-existing on earth, because the beginning of everything is God

Our hope and strength is the unshakable conviction that nothing happens in the world without God; that everything is either by His will or by His permission. Everything good is done according to God’s will and by His action; everything evil happens only with His permission, when He withdraws His protection from us for our impurity and the hardening of our hearts, allowing the devil or dishonest carnal passions to tyrannize over us.

In such difficult moments, we should firmly know that God is ever-loving and all-good, and everything that He bestows upon us is for our benefit. However, God’s ways of doing this cannot be put under scrutiny. We must not lose heart or grumble when we cannot understand what is happening. During such moments, a person manifests his faith and receives the crown of salvation.

Schema-hegumen John (Alekseev) (1873-1958)

We do not have a commandment to demand love and justice from others, but we ourselves are obliged to fulfil the commandment of love and be just. Do not be discouraged, however. In times of trouble, study the Holy Scriptures, read the holy fathers and focus on prayer. In doing so, you will experience peace and silence in your soul. With our own reason, no matter how wise, and without God’s help we can conciliate neither others nor ourselves.

Hegumen Nikon (Vorobiev) (1894-1963)

In modern conditions, it is almost impossible to change people or the course of affairs… How can one correct all the bad things that he hears in the neighbouring towns and cities, even if he possesses certain power? I believe that […] it is only possible for everyone to fulfil his own duty.

Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov) (1919-2017)

Learn to […] be patient during the many tribulations that we encounter. Strive to trust in God and draw strength in the hope of Him, as well as the courage to meekly endure the sorrows and failures of life. No matter how bitter your sorrows are, or how long they last, believe that the Lord can help you, and eventually He will ease your suffering, if you have a firm, unshakable hope in His mercy. Everything is possible for the Lord, and He can change your sorrow into joy in an instant.

[…] We sometimes wish that our petitions and prayers would be immediately fulfilled, not thinking that God knows better than us, what is more beneficial for us and when to give us consolation … Through the enduring of sorrows and bodily suffering, the Lord heals our soul, preparing it for the future life and teaching us humility and unfeigned hope in His mercy. The sorrows that we encounter clearly indicate at any given time that the Lord is taking a close look at us.

Archpriest Valerian Krechetov (b. 1937)

My dad used to say, “Having faith in God is not enough; you need to put your trust in Him. […] Simply believing that God exists is not enough. Demons also believe and tremble. Scripture says, “Have faith in God” (Mk 11:23).


Remember the war once waged against the Church. They seized defenseless priests, monks, nuns and simple believers, dragging them into shackles and prisons … This showed us that the world lies in evil and falsehood and is at war against truth, love and goodness. This struggle goes on all the time.

… The most important thing […] is to try, if possible, to have peace with everyone. As our elder father Sergius Orlov used to say, “No evil can come from us”.  To prevent this from happening, we need to fight in every possible way so that evil does not arise in our souls. “…Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45).


…When the inhabitants of the city [Nineveh] repented, the Lord had mercy on them. Therefore, the most important thing is to live like a Christian.

… We should live a dispassionate life, work, pray, try to love and keep peace in our families. the Lord will take care of the rest and do great things.

Archpriest Nikolai Guryanov (1909-2002)

Do not forget to thank God even in the most difficult moments of your life. He is waiting for this and will send you even greater blessings. A person with a grateful heart never needs anything.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
Sourced from https://foma.ru/chto-starcy-sovetujut-delat-v-tjazhelye-vremena.html

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