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July - lettersbychrissy

SUFFERING | Themed Contribution

People sometimes say that the God in the Old Testament (OT) is very different from the God in the New Testament (NT). In the OT, He’s unloving, angry, and violent, but He’s loving, peaceful, and caring in the NT.

I’ve been reading the Bible from cover to cover this year and I don’t see this disparity. God’s character is consistent the whole way through. On many instances, God showed His people compassion when they suffered and reached out to Him. When unfaithful Israelite kings repented and pleaded with God, He was merciful. When prophets begged Him to not destroy the cities, He was abundantly compassionate.

I know for sure that God understands suffering and responds to it with compassion. He did so most powerfully through Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus, in his compassion, mercy, and love, suffered in a way He didn’t deserve so that we wouldn’t have to suffer the eternal separation from God.

Suffering exists everywhere around us. I don’t think I’ll ever understand suffering but I’m grateful that God does, and He responds to it with His compassion.

July - lettersbychrissy

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RE:Align / Pain or Gain?

Title: RE:Align / Pain or Gain?
Materials: Photography and Digital Design
Description: No one likes to suffer. We often ask, “Do I deserve this?” Why is there pain and suffering? And Satan sometimes uses such moments to evoke a sense of abandonment in God’s children, and make us misunderstand the love of God.

Like Job, our misery can be so overwhelming that we intensely protest against God. This affirms the forsaken feeling we feel and make us an easier prey for Satan. And yet, God can use what Satan meant for evil for the good of His children, so that they will come to know that He is the giver of grace, righteousness, love and hope.

We need to cling onto God’s promise and fight against the voices of untruth and abandonment. We need to RE:ALIGN our attitudes towards sufferings through these 5R’s: to remember His promises, find rest in the Lord, revisit the truths, redefine suffering and run the Christian race for all its worth.

 

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01_REMEMBER_YMI

R E M E M B E R: In moments of trial and tribulation, we wonder if God still loves us or if He has withdrawn His covenant from us after repeated acts of disobedience towards Him. Yet, despite our failings, God’s plan and covenant for us remains unchanged since day one.

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” – 2 Timothy 2:13

 

 

02_REST_YMI

R E S T: When our souls are weary, we tend to find rest through many ways – except that the rest always doesn’t last long enough. Unless our souls are united with Him, our search for rest will be a futile attempt. Only the Holy Spirit’s empowerment can lessen the burden of life’s trials in the light of His love.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

 

 

03_REVISIT_YMI

R E V I S I T: In our journey of faith, the uncertainties and ironies in life still cause us to doubt whether God is indeed the living and active One who has come to redeem us. Instead of entertaining thoughts of “running away” from God or doubting that God is not as He has promised, let us be seekers of the truth who constantly revisit and marvel at God’s grace.

“And blessed is he who takes no offense at Me and finds no cause for stumbling in or through Me and is not hindered from seeing the Truth.” – Matthew 11:6

 

 

04_REDEFINE_YMI

R E D E F I N E: We all know of rejection, death, failure, misunderstanding etc. But as believers, the suffering we face isn’t always a visible and outward one. It’s usually an internal struggle to reject what Christ rejects and love what He loves. We suffer because we have heard the Truth but at the same time, continue to live in a world full of temptation. But suffering in Christ is never without joy. He gives us hope and grace.
“Instead, be very glad-for these trials make you partner with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.” – 1 Peter 4:13

 

 

05_RUN_YMI

R U N: Moping about in our sufferings will hold us back from enjoying the abundant, amazing grace of God. As we face unfavorable events or circumstances in our lives, we fall into all kinds of traps from Satan. The only way forward is to keep going, keep persevering, keep running. The Lord will personally go ahead of us. We have a hope, a hope that doesn’t disappoint ultimately.

 

Artist Feature | The Blessed Run

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The Blessed RUN is a Youth Ministry with a vision to gather those who believe and walk in the Lord’s covenant. We endeavor to encourage young people to live in God’s saving grace by  creating a radical, practical and relevant Gospel culture/lifestyle. Check out their Instagram.

 

Why-Does-God-Allow-Some-to-Suffer-More-Than-Others (opinion)

Why Does God Allow Some to Suffer More Than Others?

Written By Joshua Woo

Joshua Woo is the special officer to a Member of Parliament in Malaysia. He was formerly a Presbyterian pastor in Singapore.

At a recent political conference, I had the opportunity to meet individuals from different countries, many of whom were currently living amid political uncertainty.

Listening to the struggles they faced in their own countries, I was intrigued. Some had been imprisoned before. Some were living in exile. Some were being prosecuted by their governments. Many didn’t have the opportunity to study, work, or start a family.

The plight of other groups caught my attention as well—the Syrian and Rohingya refugees, and the victims of human trafficking. The former were forced to leave their countries and cross borders illegally in order to survive, while the latter were kidnapped, prostituted, and traded. I was also gripped by the accounts of those forced to live in terrible conditions. Some were even murdered, as the recent discovery of mass graves at the borders between Malaysia and Thailand proved.

As I mulled over their tragic stories, I had to wonder: Why do some people suffer so much more than others? And what does the Bible say about this?

Suffering is everywhere

Suffering is everywhere and inevitable. Even around our home, we can see families who can’t afford more than one meal a day, students pushed to their limits, workers put out of jobs, elderly folk abandoned by family members, and migrant workers exploited by employers.

Suffering is also a key theme in the Bible. It tells us of many instances where God allows or was even involved in suffering: God giving Satan the permission to inflict Job (Job 1.8-12), Joseph’s difficult time in Egypt (Genesis 50:20), Jesus’ suffering on the cross (1 Peter 2:24), and the persecution of the early Christians (2 Corinthians 1:6-7).

Scripture tells us that some people suffer because of divine punishment, some for their faith, and some to save others.

Today, the suffering we see around us may be due to one of the above reasons. But there may be other reasons that we don’t know or don’t understand. Just like in the past, God knows exactly why He allows some people to suffer more than others, but He may not always reveal the reasons to us.

God’s Goodness and Love

What we do know for sure, however, is that God is loving and good. We can stay strong in our hope in Him through such times, even when we do not have the answer to suffering.

It’s easy to feel a great sense of despair when we see so much injustice and discrimination around us. But I take comfort from what the psalmist wrote, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1).

God’s goodness and love is clearly demonstrated through Jesus, whom He sent to redeem and save us from our sins when we were still God’s enemies. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).

Jesus suffered the greatest injustice of all when He died for sinners like you and me. So, in moments when we’re suffering for no apparent reason and we cannot comprehend why, we need only to look at the cross. As German theologian Jurgen Moltmann once said, “It’s only for Christ’s sake that I believe in God.”

And God promises that our suffering will not be forever. He will “wipe every tear” in the coming eternity. “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Because of Christ, we can rest our faith in the good and loving God despite not knowing why some people suffer more than others. God is there for them—as He is here for us through Jesus.

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Finding God In Everyday Things

Title: Finding God In Everyday Things
Materials: Hand Drawn Illustrations with Digital Edits
Illustration by: Lily Elserisa
Description: Life is tough. And suffering comes in many forms – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. So here’s a way to help us through difficult times: Look for God in the smallest things. Let everyday items bring to mind His wonderful promises. Let’s see things from a different perspective. The more we see God for who He is, the more we will grow in our gratitude and love for Him.

 

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