Sunday, 21 April 2013

A thought on Christian Suffering

“Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”
  -- Job's wife (Job 2:9)

It isn't just Christians who experience suffering in this world. Most definitely not. But what makes the Christian suffering different from the sufferings of others, of other religions or atheists?

Taking a superficial look at the Christians in suffering, you may suggest that Christians suffer "better" than the non-Christians. That is to say, Christians will (or should) do the good and decent thing even when personal tragedies strike them. We are told and expected, as Christians, to do the right thing even when bad things happen to us. Of course, we as Christians strive for that, and we do have countless amazing examples. But, just doing the right thing, doing the moral, courageous, and loving thing isn't necessarily what makes the suffering distinctly Christian. After all, many non-Christian parents live sacrificially and lovingly towards their disabled child. Many non-Christians remain married and be faithful to their quite unlovable spouse. Many non-Christians, stricken with terrible injuries or diseases, live a strong life, not filled with bitterness, and become quite an inspiration for many others.

No, simply "suffering well", however heroic it may be, cannot make it Christian. The most basic and essential ingredient of "Christian suffering" has to do with Who, rather than What or How. When we go through suffering, who exactly do we suffer it with? Is it just by yourself, or mere human beings you share it with? Or are you going through your suffering with God? We don't have to look so strong and be stoic about our suffering. We don't have to have all the right words to say and know the best thing to do when we suffer. We don't have to somehow leave a large biography inspiring millions after we overcome suffering. Most important factor is that we remain relient to our Heavenly Father who knows what He is doing.

Are you in pain or turmoil at the moment? Do you feel like you won't make it through today? This hour? Have you had enough of being nice about everything? Remain in God. Tell Him all your frustrations and fears. Voice your anger and despair to Him. And stay with Him. God will repay for all your suffering one day. He will vindicate you on that Great Day.


Gordon Cheng said...

Good one Timothy. May God find us in Christ and nowhere else.

Gordon Cheng said...

PS please comment moderation or 'please prove you're not a robot', not both. It is so hard for us normal mortals to suffer through both ;-(

Timothy Wonil Lee said...

@Gordon: Thanks for pointing it out for me. I didn't realise I had both on. Good on you for "suffering" through it and letting me know about it. :-)