Saturday September 12, 2020
Title: Why does God allow suffering?
Author: Pastor Andrew Lim Kim Yee
Translation: Irene Hong

Psalm 116:8 For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
Hebrews 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.

Suffering is a problem that everyone would face in real life. There are countries around the world where thousands of people are suffering from hunger and illness due to overpopulation and uncultivable land; there are others who are suffering from flooding, earthquakes and after-effects of other natural disasters. Earthquakes, windstorms, hunger and flooding are being referred to as acts of God because mankind has no better explanation on why these natural disasters happened.

If we surpass man’s instinct of good and evil behavior to destroy natural disaster, we will discover that both the guilty and innocent people are equally punished:
(1) People live under complex and difficult conditions, God let the situation as it is because He wants people to have a sense of responsibility and use this responsibility to restrict their behavior instead of doing whatever they want.
(2) People’s negligence and indulgence in life have not only corrupted their own morality, but also caused the forces of evil to grow day by day and continue to spread from generation to generation.
(3) People’s crimes are not intrinsic. The social and political crimes that have often occurred in history leave a heavy burden to future generations.

Job was a devout believer, when the disaster stroked, he lost his financial resources. He had to endure the pain of losing all his children. He was also isolated from others due to illness, but he said: “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10)

Problems that cause great suffering:
Job’s friends argued that there must be a direct relationship between a person’s suffering and his evil deeds. Therefore, they came to the conclusion that the reason why Job’s suffering is great must be because he committed unforgivable sin. But Job was sure of his own integrity: he is a person who could make mistakes, but he knew that he would never have committed any heinous crime which others falsely accused him of.

Did God deliberately choose him as the target of punishment? Because compared to other people, his sufferings are not compatible with any mistakes he made. His pain only indicates that God is avenging him and adding his moral mistakes to his suffering. “Good man is not rewarded with goodness.”

Suffering can be a way that God works in mankind. He can let mankind improve and increase knowledge. Job said: “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
People always ask: Why doesn’t God try to stop suffering from happening? For example, try to prevent war from happening, try to prevent disease from spreading, etc. God tried to prevent human tragedies from happening. He has shown His power many times in history. People failed to see it because either they have not observed God’s action carefully or they have used their own perspective to look at things.

Two thousand years ago, through His beloved son Jesus Christ, God shared to the greatest extent the incurable suffering caused by human sin. Jesus came to live among human with a human nature. He taught mankind the experience of resisting inner temptation and external suffering, it is the precious treasure shared by all mankind.

The suffering caused by Jesus’ obedience to God’s tells us that suffering is not a great sin. He has overcome the temptation of sins due to human nature.
Because his loyalty surpassed all tests, with complete obedience and whole-hearted love to God, he has become a servant of God and a model to all believers.

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth. When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.”

Actually God was also entangled in human suffering. He abandoned His family member and let His only son to die for humanity. Jesus also suffered the pain.
“For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

No one can have such a great love like God, because He sent His beloved son to the cross for the sake of mankind.
God let you suffer to train you because He values you. If God does not train you, it is because you are of no use to Him.
When suffering comes to us, don’t give ourselves up or blame God, but treat it as the experience of growth of faith in our lives. When God allows us to experience suffering, it is through suffering that allows us to learn and grow, to make us strong in suffering and to discipline our lives.
God refines us, such as in the hands of craftsmen, after tempering and forging, we can become fine products.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Cor. 4:17)

Dear brothers and sisters, you may be experiencing certain suffering today, or your burdens had made you miserable; or your experience was a great blow to you spiritually; or perhaps your illness had made you fall into despair….do not just look at suffering and sorrow itself. In everything, if it is not approved by God, it will never come to us. Focus on the blessing and grace of God and wait for God to make a way.

The bible told us of the promise of God: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corin 12:9)

Prayer: Dear Lord, no matter how much dark clouds hover over my life, You will always bring me through the storms and enter into your presence safely. Only You can cast away all my despair and fill my emptiness. Only You can take my sorrows and sufferings. Please make me strong and not weaker when I am in sorrow, suffering and trial. Thank you for delivering me from death, saving my eyes from tears, saving my feet from stumbling. In my suffering let me not forget your grace and promises. In Jesus’s name I pray, Amen.

星期六 2020年9月12日

诗篇116:8 主啊,你救我的命免了死亡,救我的眼免了流淚,救我的腳免了跌倒。
希伯来书 5:8 祂虽然为儿子, 还是因所受的苦难学习了顺从。

痛苦是每个人在现实生活中都会遇到的问题。在世上人口众多而土地贫瘠的国家, 成千上万的人忍受着饥饿和病痛的折磨。 而另部分则正处于洪水、地震、和其他自然灾害所引发的痛苦。地震、风暴、饥荒和洪水之所以被称为 “上帝的作为” (acts of God), 是因为人们无法对它们的发生做出别的或更好的解释。

如果我们超越人类行为的善恶去破坏自然灾害, 就会发现所有有罪和无罪的人都同样受到惩罚:
( 一 ) 人们生活在错综复杂, 困难重重之下 , 上帝之所以这样安排, 是因为上帝想使人们有自觉的责任感,并以此约束自己的行为而非为所欲为。
( 二 ) 人们对生活的疏忽和放纵,不仅使自身道德败坏,而且使邪恶势力日益增长,一代一代延袭下去。
( 三 ) 人们的罪行不是天生就有的。常常历史上所发生的社会和政治的犯罪, 遗留给后代一个沉重的包袱。

约伯是虔诚的信徒, 在灾难降临时, 他失去了经济来源。他还必须忍受失去其所有孩子的痛苦。他还因病身而与他人隔离,然而他却说: “既然我们从上帝那里接收恩赐,为什么我们不能同样从他那里接收苦难呢?” (伯2:10)

约伯的朋友们争议道: 一个人的痛苦和他的恶行之间肯定有直接的关系,因此,他们得出接论:约伯之所以痛苦很深,肯定是因为他犯下了不可饶恕的罪过。
但约伯确信他自己的正直:他是个有可能犯错误的人, 但他知道,他绝设有犯下别人试图诬陷给他的滔天罪行。

难道是上帝故意选择他做为惩罚目标吗? 因为和其他人相比,他所受得苦与他所犯下的任何错误都是不相付的。他的痛苦只能意味着上帝在报复他,并将他在道义上所犯的错误也加之于他的痛苦之中, 犹如好人不得好报。
痛苦可以说是上帝对于人类的一种工作方式。他可以使人类进行并且增长见识。约伯说:” 我从前风闻由你,现在亲眼看见你。 因此我厌恶自己的所作所为,并在尘地和灰烬中忏悔。”


耶稣通过服从上帝意愿而引发的痛苦, 告诉我们痛苦并不是一种巨大的罪恶, 他已战胜了人类本性中具有诱惑力的罪恶。
由于他对上帝经得起考验的忠诚、完全的顺从和全身心的爱而成为上帝的仆人 ,成为所有信徒的典范。
“你们蒙召原是为此;因基督也为你们受过苦, 给你们留下榜样, 叫你们跟随他的脚踪行。他并没有犯罪, 口里也没有诡诈;他被骂不还口, 受害不说威吓的话只将自己交托那按公义审判人的主。”

上帝其实也为人类的痛苦所缠绕着, 他舍弃了亲情,让自己的儿子为人类而死,耶稣也承受痛苦。
“神爱世人,甚至将他的独子赐给他们,叫一切信他的,不至灭亡,反得永生。因为神差他的儿子降世, 不是要定世人的罪, 乃是要叫世人因他得救。”

没有任何人能像上帝这样有如此伟大的爱, 因为他为人类的罪而把自己深爱的儿子送上了十字架。
当苦难临到我们的时候,不要自暴自弃、埋怨上帝,要把它当成我们生命信心成长的经历。上帝允许我们经历苦难时,是藉着苦难让我们学习成长, 让我们在苦难中刚强,生命得到操练。

林后4:17 我们这至暂至轻的苦楚,要为我们成就极重无比永远的荣耀。

圣经告诉我们上帝的应许:你們所遭受的試探,無非是人所遭受的。神是信實的,他不會讓你們受試探過於你們所能受的;而且在你們受試探的時候,他會給你們開一條出路,使你們能忍受得住。“我的恩典够你用的,因为我的能力是在人的软弱上显得完全。” 林后12:9

祷告: 亲爱的主啊,不管我生命有多少乌云笼罩,您都会带领我突破风暴,进入你的同在和平安。只有你能除去我的失落和填满我的空虚。只有你能担起我的悲伤和痛苦。我遭遇悲伤、痛苦或试炼时,求你让我变得更坚强,而不是更软弱;谢谢你救我的命免了死亡,救我的眼免了流泪,救我的脚免了跌倒。 让我在痛苦中不要忘记你的恩典和应许。奉主耶稣的名祷告,阿们。