Thursday, October 20, 2005

In the School of Suffering

I just got back from our Wednesday night service where the wife of Handong University's president gave more testimonies of what God had done through the school. It brought back a lot of memories from my time there. The school went through so many hardships and trials, internally and externally ... but through it all He trained His people to trust Him ... in the school of suffering.

From my own difficulties that I experienced while in Korea, I realized that more than anything else, it is suffering that reveals the true condition and maturity of our faith. Faith can easily be hidden, and even ignored, in days of sunshine ... but it is in our days of pain that the strength and stability of our faith is leaned upon ... and shown for what it really is.

A lie that the Western world has bought into is the mindset that becoming a Christian means living a pain-free, easy life ... without suffering or sadness. But the life of a Christian is the way of the cross ... and the cross is a symbol of suffering and of death ... but it is also the stage of life that precedes the resurrection. I think one area that we, as believers, need to grow in knowledge in is the theology of suffering.

Suffering is a part of life, but it is a part of life that allows us partake in the life of Christ. And it is a part of life where we realize the horror of sin (within us and within the world) and our desperate need of something (Someone) stronger and greater than our own frail lives. When we embrace suffering as partnership with Christ and when we no longer become bitter during these hard days, but instead learn to trust Him ... no matter what ... then we finally graduate to the next level of living ... and the next level of faith ... in this school of suffering. Let's pray for greater faith, greater wisdom and greater love during our seasons of suffering.

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. Taken from the first chapter and twenty-first verse of the book of Job.

Desiring God Ministries recently ended a whole conference on the topic of suffering. You can download sermons from this conference here. And you can find a list of recommended resources on this topic here. May we grow in love and knowledge of our Good and Sovereign God ... even when life hurts. "When it rains it pours. When it pours, He reigns."

"Be strong ... walk on ..." U2

Currently Listening ...
Walk On (Single)
By U2
Walk On


eunyoung byun said...

amen... amen!

daniel bae said...

I'm studying a topic on the philosophy of suffering and it's really interesting to see the viewpoints that everyone has on it, and especially, how much God makes a diff~ =)

Eddie said...

I'd love to read what you've discovered concerning the different views towards suffering Daniel ...

And yes, God makes all the difference!