“Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
  Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

We have discussed that there are many  things Christians ought to learn during their walk of faith.  So far we had covered the following lessons.

Lesson 1 : Learning To Fear God
Lesson 2: Learning To Do Good And Be Honest

Lesson 3: To Learn Righteousness
Lesson 4: Learning To Be A Good Samaritan

Let us continue to look at the 5th Lesson

Lesson 5: Learning Obedience In The Midst Of Suffering

“Though He was a Son, yet He learned 
  obedience by the things which He suffered.
  
And having been perfected, He became the
  author of eternal salvation to all who obey
  Him” – Author Of Hebrews (Heb 5:8-9)

the Author of Hebrews is talking about Jesus, who learnt to be obedient to God in the midst of suffering. Sometimes we ask God “Why did you make us suffer like this?” but God will say “When I was on earth, I suffered too, and I suffered more bitter things than you have encountered. I learn to be submissive to it, are you willing to learn from me?”

Sometimes it is pointless to ask “Why me?”  But rather we should ask “What can I learn through it?”

Will we overcome our suffering or will our suffering overcome us. Christian ought to understand the significance of suffering. For even the Chinese Philosopher Mencius once remark

“天降大任於斯人,
  必先苦其心志” – Mencius

Translated “When Heaven is about to give a man the great responsibly, it will allow suffering to prepare his heart”

A man may starve and become poor, he may be face with much opposition. These problems are meant to toughen his soul and character. The same saying is also found among the western world.

“There are no good or bad experiences,
  only experiences that inform that
  inform the soul in unique way”

The Significance Of Suffering

A Christian ought to know that sufferings are meant to edify us. For Jesus had set himself as an example for us to follow, he cried and prayed at the garden of Gethsemane. He did not want to drink the bitter cup. But Jesus is willing to submit to God and he had set an example for us to learn.

If we believe that Gods will is the best and we believe that he is faithful to us, he will not make a mistake to allow us to be abused and tortured. He allow it to happen so that we can learn from it, and face it. We will be able to overcome the problem with his help.

The most beautiful testimony is often found when we hear of how Christians overcame great suffering. It is through suffering one see a true faith, for these Christian persisted in the midst of their trouble. They remain faithful and unchanging to God.  These people are not prophets and prayer warriors but just mere brothers and sisters. But from their suffering they are able to see the will of God and submit to it.

The Psalmist once said

“Before I was afflicted I went astray,
  But now I keep Your word.
  You are good, and do good;
  Teach me Your statutes.

  The proud have forged a lie against me,
  But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.
  Their heart is as fat as grease,
  But I delight in Your law.

 It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes. – Psalmist (Ps 119:67-71)

Before the Psalmist encounter sufferings, he was on the wrong path. When he was afflicted, and he considered his life and realise his mistake. He turn back to God and became a changed man . That is why he said the suffering was good for him. Even though his body suffered, his soul was saved.

The same thing happened in the parable of the Prodigal son,  we can see how he learnt obedience through his suffering. That changed his entire life. In the end he received everything he once lost.

So when we encounter suffering, let us think and reflect. Are there gaps in our life of faith? Have we been following and obeying God? Suffering is not an indication of God departing from us. On the contrary It is a demonstration of his love, for he is using suffering to wake us up.

A Story To Share

There was a lamb who lived in the green pasture, all is peaceful and happy. There was a tall fence protecting them. There were barb wires around it. They have a good shepherd that loves and protect them.

But suddenly the peace was disrupted. A mysterious wolf came and there are nights where lambs will go missing. No one knew how the wolf entered the pen, for the fence was impregnable.

The older sheep says “Although we cannot see him, but we know he exist, let us just accept the fact, for wolves will always steal sheep and there is nothing we can do.”

But there was a young lamb who refuse to agree, he wanted to find the reason. He envisioned that one day there is no sheep that will go missing.  Sadly, his dream remain a dream for he was captured before he could win. But his death moved the rest of the flock.

They searched and found the problem. They notice that whenever there was rain, no  sheep will not go missing. Eventually this led them to the problem, there was the stream  flowing through the pen.  On rainy days, the stream was flowing fast and the wolves cannot enter the pen. When it is clear, the wolves are able to swim through the fence and attack the sheep. 

From then on, no sheep fell victim to the wolves anymore.

Conclusion

That story ended with  a happy ending, but can we have a similar ending in our lives? Are there holes in the fence of our lives? 

Why is it that we used to love but now we hate each other, why is it that we used to travel on the same direction but now we have disagreements. why is it that we treat each other as strangers even though we are family?

Worst still “Why is it that non Christians mock us asking whether we are truly the disciples of Christ?

Let us mend the hole in our lives so that we can have a better life from now on.

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