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(Part 1)


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, peace to you all. It was just last Thursday at the Seniors Assembly that we talked about our theme for 2010. It is a very rich theme, and will take a lifetime to appreciate more fully. It is about the majesty of God, about redemptive suffering, about being awed and humbled in His presence. It seems God is not wasting time in getting us on our learning track. Last Saturday we experienced the devastating rains and flood. Many lives were lost, many homes and material possessions were lost, and many experienced pain and grief due to separation from loved ones, hunger and thirst, and uncertainty about the future.

Our first lesson is about the greatness and majesty of God and of His creation. "Who has laid out a channel for the downpour and for the thunderstorm a path to bring rain ...?" (Job 38:25-26a). "Have you an arm like that of God, and can you thunder with a voice like his? Adorn yourself with grandeur and majesty, and array yourself with glory and splendor. Let loose the fury of your wrath; tear down the wicked and shatter them. Bring down the haughty with a glance; bury them in the dust together; ..." (Job 40:9-13a). We cannot explain the heavy rains and flood. We find it hard to accept the devastation God has allowed to be wrought. We are bewildered. We are distraught. But God is just bringing home the point that He is the Almighty! Oftentimes He can only get His message through in situations of pain and grief, just like in the case of Job.

Our second lesson is about redemptive suffering. The authentic gospel is that of the cross, and suffering is its child. The only way to glory is through the cross. Only in suffering can we experience redemption. This is achieved through the suffering of Jesus, and through our suffering as well. We share in the sufferings of Christ. Now that is a great privilege! In fact, the great challenge to living the Christian life is a life of comfort and absence of pain. So when pain comes, especially extreme pain through such a devastation as this flood, then there is that great opportunity to grow in Christ. We offer up our suffering. We grow in such virtues as trusting in Jesus, hoping in the Lord, even being joyful in all circumstances. We are being purified, and we are walking in the path of Christ.

Our third lesson is about reverential fear (awe) and humility. What an awesome experience it is when the floodwaters rampage, and when we are helplessly tossed about. How humbling it is when we are no longer in control. How puny we truly are compared to the majesty of God. If in our fear and humility we cry out to Him and resign our lives and our well-being to Him, then we would have learned one aspect of what He wants to teach us.

Those who were severely and negatively affected now have to rebuild their lives. And that is the opportunity God gives us. We rebuild our lives on the foundation that is Christ. We turn ever deeper to God, and have greater zeal to bring other people to Him. No one knows when tragedy or calamity will strike. One must always be prepared, by being in a right relationship with Him. One must be aware that we all belong to the same family, and that we must be concerned about each other. We help each other out, not only when there is a calamity such as this, but even in ordinary times. And we must take care of the wonderful creation God has given us. Water, an elemental aspect of nature, is life-giving and essential to life. It becomes destructive when we severely disturb the ecological balance.

It is right for us to shed tears at the calamity we have all experienced. But our experience should bring us closer to God. And we should have just a little bit more appreciation of His awesome majesty. Never forget: just and righteous is He! And in that we can rejoice.

May the Lord bless and protect His people.


(September 29, 2009)

"For to me life is Christ, and death is gain." (Phil 1:21)

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