Suffering is part of life. As Christians, how are we to face these challenges? How can we still glorify God and edify ourselves of the sovereignty of God? The most difficult spiritual task is how we are able to be a channel of blessing!
Father Grun stressed that God is not a God who punishes people nor a God without mercy. From the Book of Job, we see that Job faced suffering but he never once communicated with Satan and he accepted his pain. In the end God rewarded his faithfulness though God never gave an answer to his questions about his suffering. Instead God showed him the beauty of this world.
What is suffering?
In fact this topic is widely studied by all kinds of religious faiths. The Buddhists feel that this is the result of the interaction of mankind with this world; if we can get out of this world or deny it, then there won’t be any suffering. The Jews believe that suffering is a struggle between man and God. In Islam, man should not question God on suffering. In Christianity, it allows man to use wisdom to seek the meanings of suffering.
“God has created all things which are good. However, due to the abuse of human freedom, man has caused suffering. In the Books of the Gospel, the Bible has used Jesus to answer the questions on suffering. Jesus chose to walk the life of suffering not because he wanted it, but he suffered as the sacrifice for mankind and he suffered for us.”
If we want to face suffering, we have to view it seriously. We can’t ignore or escape from it.
Give meaning to Sufferings
Father Grun said suffering has exposed the wrong concepts we have about life and God. Through suffering we can open up our hearts to face our own value, different people, new life and a completely different God. “Don’t ask why we get sick; instead, through suffering, see our worth and the God who has created our uniqueness.”
In fact, from the breaking of the bread during Holy Communion, we can understand the meaning of suffering too. The bread signifies the body of Christ and to break it means we are tearing apart His life. The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus has turned His suffering into the salvation for mankind.
“Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36)
Father Grun thus believes no suffering or harm would crush Jesus. Jesus has instead transformed his suffering into love for mankind and this is what we should emulate. Suffering is about the breaking up of our established life and then opening up to face Jesus.
With the advancement of techonology, we have access to news of suffering from all over the world in an instant. Bombarded with bad news, we may feel that life is no longer worth living. We feel lost. This is actually due to our inability to cope with too much suffering.
Father Grun suggested that, while watching news of suffering around the world, think of ways we can help. Eg. The earthquake in Taiwan: we can donate provisions or support with prayers!
Another way of facing suffering is to find the root cause and then solve the problems. For instance, IS has attracted many young people to join the group. Why is this so? The reason is many youths have not lived successful lives and they haven’t found meaning in life. They have not found their own identity.
Pertaining to the problem of unrighteousness in our country, Father Grun said this is a serious problem which is hard to resolve. However, we can still entrust this problem in the hands of our God and uphold our country in constant prayer.
Reported by April
Translated by Christina