God has so abundantly blessed us, especially in North America and other developed countries throughout the world. Yes, there are still many places where people live under oppression, extreme poverty, and lawlessness. The entire world is in a fallen state because of our sinfulness. Yet, in spite of our attitudes and behaviors, God continues to bear with us, to offer us His guidance, His mercy and His blessings, even when we refuse to recognize that they come from Him. Above all earthly blessings, He offers us life in His eternal Kingdom. Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good. Alleluia!

Throughout the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms, we read how the Israelites were ungrateful to God, turning away from Him, putting worldly pleasures and temporal honors before Him. God called them, but they ignored Him. He summoned them, but they continued in their pride and arrogance. How often it happened that they only turned to God when all of their own efforts failed and they were desperate. Then they called out to the Lord for mercy, and He lifted them from their despair and they again learned to follow Him.

We are no different.

The Lord is patient with us, calling to us, trying to get our attention, striving to see us choose a better path. He does not force us to do anything. He does not pre-program us to follow Him. He does not force us to love Him. He shows us the way, and lets us choose, for in His mercy and love He has given us free will.

– ‘The Veil’ of Protection of the Holy Virgin Orthodox Monastery