Be of Good Cheers!

by Ong Eng Boon

We always question: Why is life full of problems?

The book of Job says in Job 14:1 “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” What is the difference between believers and non-believers? Our faith and belief in God cannot change realities such as sickness, calamities, hunger, poverty, sin…we are living in a very tough world.

A lot of times the world is an unfair place, good things happen to bad people, bad things happen to good people. How to explain the plane crash that resulted in the loss of hundreds of innocent lives? (The latest Malaysia Airlines MH17 tragedy which was shot down and crashed near the Russian border in eastern Ukraine resulting in the loss of 298 lives.)

Why are some babies born deformed or with certain diseases? Why is it that some never live to be full grown men? Why is it that God allows those in authority and power to make their people’s lives full of suffering?

There are so many “Whys?” that sometimes make us wonder and doubt our faith. The prophet Habakkuk asked of God: Why do you show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? (Hab 1:3a)

The writer of Psalms also said: For I was envious of the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (Psa 73:3)

We need to understand an underlying principle: Our thoughts are not His thoughts.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”   (Isa 55:8-9)

God is infinite, all-powerful, all-knowing, there are a lot of things beyond our human finite minds’ ability to comprehend. (Deut 29:29). Natural calamities does not mean God does not exist (Psalm 46:1-3). God never promised His people that they will escape from suffering. In fact God says as Christians, we will face sufferings and persecutions.

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Tim.3:12).

But on the other hand, I don’t believe God purposely arranges something bad to befall His people. I don’t believe suffering represents punishment from God. If we think this way, we will be blaming ourselves constantly.

I believe God allows things to happen in the natural realm which He had put forth operate according to His laws: accidents, natural calamities, sickness and diseases are within the confines of the natural realm.

But on the other hand, we cannot discount the intervention of God providentially as our God is a living God; so we need to believe in the power of prayer. We are to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17) and without doubt (Jas.1:6-7)  “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers;  But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Pet. 3:12).

A lot of problems are also because of our own wrong doing, and sometimes it is because of our sins. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Gal.6:7).

God doesn’t normally deal with each person’s sin right away, but on the day of judgment, all of us cannot escape as we have to give an account of ourselves before God who is a righteous God.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10)

Even though we cannot escape from the circumstances that we are in, but we can change our attitude and thoughts as we live our daily life as our Lord and Savior has overcome the world.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John. 16:33)

Let us continue to submit our life to God, resist the devil and draw near to God  (Jas. 4:7, 8) in our daily life no matter what happens.

Be of good cheer, brethren!