At the same time, the Lord allows His chosen ones to fall occasionally into poverty, in order to give them an even greater reward for their patience. And in such a case the Christian should not make a special effort to achieve greater prosperity.
St. Seraphim said thus to the abbesses of his Diveevo convent: “I could have made you rich, but it would not have been beneficial for you.” And elder Siluan writes: “Be content with what you have, even if you do not have anything. Be content and thank God that you do not have anything. Be content with serving God, and He will rank you among the saints.”
St. Theophanus the Recluse writes: “What is our lot if not the will of God? Both material well-being and deprivation, sent to us by God, are undoubtedly given to us with a view towards our salvation.”
When taking out a loan, a Christian must be extremely cautious. In such a case one must show the same faith as when taking medications, and think: “If such were the will of the Lord, He Himself would have given me in accordance with my need.”
But if a Christian still decides to ask for a loan, he should ask for it humbly as though it were charity. He doesn’t know whether he will be able to repay his benefactor: perhaps he will die soon or will fall into even greater need.
Therefore, he should ask only in case of extreme need, ask not more than he needs, and thank his benefactor as though receiving charity. This, of course, does not preclude the necessity of repaying the debt in due time.
In cases where an unpaid debt burdens the soul of the lender and throws him into anxiety, this cannot but have an effect on the soul of the debtor, depriving it of peace and tranquility. A certain novice in the Shamordino convent saw in her dreams a close friend of hers, also a novice, who had reposed 40 days ago. The deceased said: “I have come to ask forgiveness of a certain woman. I still owe her 10 kopeks. It is in order to rectify this that I have been allowed to come here, but only for a short while.” The following day the woman lender came to see the novice, asked about her debtor and, upon hearing that the latter had died, expressed regret over her lost money. The novice then gave 10 kopeks to the wailing woman, so that the debt would not bother her deceased friend. Thus even a small debt had deprived the deceased’s soul of peace.