The Christian life is filled with problems. They are inevitable and often come uninvited and unexpectedly. Recently I fell four times, thrice on the night of Aug 29th alone. But the invisible hand of God sustained me. Though I fell, no bones were broken other than suffering wounded knees, and a sprained wrist. Since my wife could not lift me, one of my brethren, Saji Cherian, rushed to my home to help me get up. Along with them, Manikuttan who drives my car took me to a small hospital near my home and later shifted to a larger hospital at Kollam town.
God, in His marvelous wisdom, saw fit to allow this incident to happen to me and touched and made me weak, frail, and sick. It all started with gastric disturbances potentially due to food poisoning. The infection was aggravated to sepsis causing multiple organ damage including the heart, liver, and kidneys. Within a week, I underwent four dialysis sessions. Adding to that was the fear of the Covid situation where hospital staff was concerned, and visiting was limited. After three weeks God showed mercy to deliver me out of my troubles and healed my sickness.
God’s peace helps sustain us in troubles as well as good times. If God gives us so many good things, why should we be surprised or think it strange if He sometimes afflicts us? God has told us that prosperity and adversity are set one against another. “It is not adversity that kills, but the impatience with which we bear adversity.” Therefore, shall we also receive adversity as a gift or accept it as a punishment for our sin. Let God do with us as seemeth good to Him. Job said: “Shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). If we receive so much good for our body, shall we not receive some good for the soul? Regardless of the situation, we know that all things work together for our good.
If God gives us so many good things, why should we be surprised or think it strange if He sometimes afflicts us?
During my seven years of service in the Indian Air Force, I served the nation at the Chinese border surrounded by mountains, forests, and rivers, where primitive people lived. My Lord preserved me from many hazards and dangers. As a part of my training and for equipping me for the Lord’s ministry, God took me under His tuition at Kuwait from 1982 – 89. Furthermore, God forced me to leave Kuwait in July 1989. After a few months, the dictator, Saddam Hussain, attacked Kuwait and occupied the country. Then my cousin G. John told my brother George Vyramon about me, “A righteous man has escaped from the war.” The Bible says, “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself.”
Sometimes the struggles we face may not be the sign of God’s displeasure rather we should view suffering as a gift (Phil.1:29) – It yields proven character and hope (Rom. 5:4); it yields future glory (Rom. 8:17). God said: Job is my faithful servant and best man living now on the earth. Still, we find Job abhors himself in dust and ashes and repents of his sins. This has been the experience of the choicest of God’s saints throughout the ages. D.L. Moody writes, “The more we grow in grace, the meaner he is in his own eyes.” We have to acknowledge the sovereignty of God. Though we have a good testimony, we still have to repent and confess our known and hidden sins.
The Bible mentions over 30 reasons that believers suffer in this life. Being righteous and having integrity does not mean that anyone is perfect without fault. Sometimes trials and tests reveal hidden sins such as pride, self-justification, and animosity in the heart. Sufferings help lead believers to a deeper level of spiritual maturity and can strengthen faith in God.
Remember always: For a believer, struck down does not mean defeated or destroyed.
C.M. John has been in full time ministry of the Lord for more than thirty years as a bible teacher, elder, speaker and writer. His most recent book is a commentary on the Pastoral Epistles. He is also the co-founder and a core team member of the Renew In Knowledge Ministry.