Sunday, December 5th 2021
Title: Looking at suffering from a different perspective
Author: Pastor Andrew Lim
Translator: Margaret Ong
Bible passage: John 9:1-3

Once Jesus and his disciples met a man who was born blind and suffering, and “His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”(John 9:2) Usually, people would think: “What goes around comes around.” Does a person have a disability because he has sinned in his previous life and has met with retribution in this life or because his parents have sinned and retribution has come upon him now? Many people have this kind of thinking. Such questions perhaps reflect a mentality that we have when we meet less fortunate people—It is not so much about compassion for them, but rather comparing ourselves with them and feeling good about ourselves.

It’s not about who has sinned, but that the works of God might be displayed in him

The Lord Jesus reminds us not to only see the sins of others and ignore our own. We are still alive and well not because we are better than others, but because of God’s patience and tolerance, and mercy on us for giving us opportunities to repent. Unfortunately, this is something that people often fail to see. Jesus uniquely answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”(John. 9:3 ) Some people often think that any suffering is the result of this person’s sin. In fact, the Lord Jesus did not mean that the blind person or that his parents had no sin. Rather, the fact that the man and his parents committed a crime or not has no direct causal connection to the fact that he was born blind and suffering. But Jesus pointed out the preciousness of this man’s life. Even though his life seems to be incomplete, God still loves and values him dearly, and He wants to use him even more. In the eyes of others, he is just a blind beggar. But after meeting Jesus, his life shall bring changes, and God will use his life to witness for and glorify God.

Man’s perception of suffering

What man thinks of as suffering and what God thinks of as suffering are different. When people face the great pain of life, when they are helpless, out of control, and incapable, they will naturally utter cries of anguish, weep with agony, and struggle on their own. The common response is to blame others, give up on themselves, and then seek material anaesthesia, participate in activities without restraint, indulge in entertainment, or bury themselves in work in order to make themselves forget their misery. However, they discover that this will only bring about the illusion of temporary relief, while the lurking pain continues to consume their hearts in the dark. Of course, when life gives lemons, some people make lemonade and stand firm amidst the pain because there is always a way out.

Moulded and transformed by God during suffering

No one likes to suffer in pain or welcome torture, but the suffering inflicted on people will come countless times in a person’s life. It can not be avoided or escaped. For Christians, when we face different pains, some even unbearable, we know that we are entering God’s grace and power, pushing us into His presence and relying on Him—-Because we know that in our suffering, God is in control. Since He has overcome the world, He will certainly be able to help us face this challenge. The pain we feel is a way for us to let go of ourselves and turn to establish an intimate relationship with God. Although our body is in pain, we are spiritually moulded and transformed by God. In any suffering, we are definitely not alone, because God is with us and this is not based on feelings, but by believing in God’s faithfulness, because He is definitely the God who keeps His covenant.

Believe that God allows us to suffer for our good

Many good things happen after suffering. If we see the benefits behind suffering, we will no longer feel helpless. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God .” (Rom. 8:28 ) We cannot control the occurrence of pain, but we can control how we react when facing pain. Positive people see good things in a bad situation, but negative people come up with bad things from a good situation! In addition to knowing how to run to God to gain strength, a wise sufferer also knows how to humble himself to seek help from the right person. Those who seek help have a chance to overcome pain, and those who do not seek help will certainly continue to be tossed by pain. In suffering, we do not sit and wait for life to be consumed but use the bitter suffering we have experienced to help those who are experiencing pain. People who stand up from pain allow themselves to transcend and overcome it. Although sometimes we cannot understand God’s way of allowing us to suffer, we believe that the occurrence of suffering is to open up opportunities for God to work in our lives and draw us closer to Him. (Joseph, Daniel, Job, etc. have all set good examples for us)

Those who live without God in their lives experience life’s pain, suffering, death, injury, sorrow, grief, danger, and trauma. When faced with stress, shock, anger, panic, fear, anxiety, boredom, confusion, hatred, distress, regret, deep down in their hearts, they feel that there is no one that they can talk to, no one they can depend on and feel helpless in life and they need to struggle alone. They can only bite the bullet and scream deep inside. However, those who regard God as God knows that He loves and values us, so we can have unlimited expectations and know that what we expect will come true. Because the Bible promises us: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5 ) Therefore, we can entrust our sufferings and burdens of life, emotions, and mind to God, who understands our feelings, who comforts, who relieves, whose word guides, instructs and empowers us to move forward in desperate times. Expect God to give us divine wisdom to face problems and sufferings and to live through the valley of death in our lives, emotions and minds with peace. So when we are facing suffering, remember “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2 ) God will use our experience to witness for Him.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you, when uncontrollable pain comes upon me, when I suffer tremendously, I know I am definitely not alone, because you are willing to be my comfort and help at any time. You have promised not to leave me or forsake me but to be with me. You are the God I can rely on. Thank you for your willingness to accompany me throughout my entire unpredictable life. Thank you, heavenly Father. Sincere thanks are in the holy name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.

2021 年 12 月 5日

有一次耶稣和祂的门徒遇到一位生来是瞎眼而痛苦的人,就问耶稣,“这人生来是瞎眼的,是谁犯了罪?是这人犯罪呢?还是他父母犯罪呢?” 人们通常会认为“善有善报,恶有恶报”— 人有残疾是不是他前世犯罪,今世糟遇到报应或是他父母犯罪,报应临到他身上。这种想法是很多人都有的观念。这种问题也许反映出我们的一种心态,就是面对不幸的人与其说是在怜悯别人,倒不如说是在与别人比较,自我的感觉良好。
It’s not about who has sinned, but that the works of God might be displayed in him
人看为的痛苦  Man’s perception of suffering
在痛苦中被神陶造和重建 Molded and transformed by God during suffering

相信上帝容许我们受苦带来益处Believe that God allows us to suffer for our good