A child once asked, “why does God allow the Saints to suffer so much?”
Indeed, this is a profound question. How it is that our Man-befriending God could allow such suffering seems hard to fathom. Each day of the year, the Church brings to remembrance those righteous who suffered for the sake of Christ and His Gospel. The Menaion is filled with the stories of valor and utterly heroic confession of Saints from literally the four-corners of the Earth. It was once said that the “blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Let us take a closer look at the meaning of this.
Today the Church celebrates the Holy Martyrs Dada and Gabdelas.
According the Prologue of Blessed Nikolai Velimirovitch
Dada was a great Persian nobleman and a kinsman of King Sapor, and Gabdelas was Sapor’s son. When St. Dada openly confessed his faith in Christ, King Sapor ordered that he be cruelly tortured. During these tortures, Dada worked great miracles in the name of Christ, and these so strongly influenced Gabdelas that he also believed in Christ. The pagan King did not even spare his own son, but subjected him also to harsh tortures. Both Dada and Gabdelas glorified God with their patient endurance and many miracles, and gave up their souls to God under torture. They suffered in the fourth century. Gabdelas’s sister Casdoa, and Gargal the chief pagan priest, suffered with them-for they, too, had come to believe in Christ.
The trials and sufferings of the righteous is a beacon, a shining example to all that God is the God of all things – “What god is so great as our God; Thou art God Who workest wonders.” We recognize this from Psalm 77 and also from the Great Prokeimenon that is chanted on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, Pascha and Pentecost. Truly, what god hath ever done what God has done? What god can fill ordinary men, women, elders and babes with such great wisdom, strength, and courage? It is He Who made the simple and unlearned fishermen into supremely wise fishers-of-men. It was their testimony, their trials, their miracles, that shone forth the glory of God. They are the sowers and their confession and martyrdom is the seed. Great is the harvest, many are the numbers of them that joined the Church by witnessing such heroic deeds! It is for this reason, as far as man understand, that God allows His Saints, Apostles, Prophets, and Righteous to suffer – that their deeds and words may bring the nations to salvation through the knowledge and belief in God.
“The Saints shall boast in glory..
…Wondrous is God in His Saints”