Often we think that serving our God will result in life being easier. This is sometimes true, but not always and not in every facet of life. The author of the Book of Sirach realizes this writing, “My son, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare for trials.” (2.1) What characteristics should follow?

– Sincerity and steadfastness (v. 2)
– Lack of disturbance in time of adversity (v. 2)
– Clinging to God (v. 3)
– Not forsaking God (v. 3)
– Accepting what befalls us (v. 4)
– Being patient under crushing misfortunes (v. 4)

This is not Nihilism, but rather realism. It is a realization that serving God doesn’t mean utopia now. It means hope though. It is hope that allows one to show the above signs of trust in God.

The author then instructs those who “fear the Lord” to:

– Wait for his mercy, turn not away lest you fall. (v. 7)
– Trust God, in doing so one’s reward will not be lost. (v. 8 )
– Hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy. (v. 9)
– Not disobey the words of God and love him by keeping his ways. (v. 15)
– Seek to please God, because those who love him are “filled with his law”. (v. 16)
– Prepare one’s heart and humble one’s self before God. (v. 17)

One way to create stability for these trials is to “study the generations long past”. This will lead the reader to realize God is always faithful. (v. 10) Why? Because God is compassionate and merciful. He is a God who forgives sins and rescues his people. (v. 11) When one knows this one can become like those who have “feared the Lord” and they will see God deliver them as well.

“Let us fall into the hands of the LORD and not into the hands of men, For equal to his majesty is the mercy that he shows.” (v. 18)