Yes, God loves us.
Yes, God love us, yes, wants us to be happy and yes, He wants us to be successful.
But all of this comes on God’s terms not my own.
Unfortunately, too many Orthodox Christians have bought into the idea God’s love for them means God wants them to be happy and successful on their terms rather than His. We usually don’t say this explicitly.
But how often have we heard someone say “God doesn’t judge?” when what they meant is “Do what you want”?
Let me offer myself as an example.
I’m the pastor of a small mission on the campus of UW-Madison. Being on campus is important but presents a number of challenges. Pastoral challenges aside, it’s expensive to be right by the university. This means that my community will probably never be large, never have a great building. And while we are on campus for students—and my parishioners are enthusiastic about serving students—it is simply hard to get students involved in the life of the Church.
These challenges help me remember that true and lasting happiness and success only come from fidelity to what God has called us to do. AND NOTHING ELSE.
For a fuller explanation of this and for the rest of my talk: