Volume. XXIX, No. 8
Sunday, 24 August 2014


From The Pastors Heart: Waiting on God (Part 6)


 

The Bible contains many lessons for our benefits, but we do not understand them equally all the time.  One of the perplexing questions facing the believers of Jesus Christ is probably of the believers’ inexplicable sufferings.  Let me first, bring you to the meanings of words. The 1828 Noah-Webster’s English Dictionary defines suffering as “the bearing of pain, inconvenience or loss; pain endured; distress, loss or injury incurred; as sufferings by pain or sorrow; sufferings by want or by wrongs.”  We also acknowledge that suffering and persecution walk side by side often times.  Thus, it may be helpful to know the word, persecution, better. The same dictionary defines it as “the infliction of pain, punishment or death upon others unjustly, particularly for adhering to a religious creed or mode of worship, either by way of penalty or for compelling them to renounce their principles.” 

 

We need to study at least two trains of thought in order to understand some of our experiences, which cannot be easily explained away. (1) The first line of thought comes from the concept of cause-and-effect principle. If we suffer, there must be proper reasons or causes we can understand. If we are persuaded that we had provoked certain causes which brought forth certain effects, which resulted in suffering or persecution, we may accept it either willingly or grudgingly. However, if the causes are not known or unreasonable, we resent. Thus, one of the lessons we have to learn very quickly is that we may have to suffer at times even without knowing the reasons why or with very unjust reasons. I am not advocating that we must accept any sort of suffering without a second thought as if we believe in fate our religion is fatalism.  What I am saying is that the reality of life shows us that there are lots of inexplicable sufferings in the world.  What can we say to the children whose father was just killed by a reckless drink-driver? What do we think when we hear news that Christians were beheaded because of their refusal to covert to other religions? Of course, there are many biblical examples, too. Joseph was sold by his brothers and became a slave. Job could not understand why he was in the midst of pain and suffering, while sinners seemed to enjoy life.  (2) The second line of thought comes from the examples of Jesus.  1 Peter 2:19-23 says, “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.”  Peter argues that it is thankworthy if we suffer unjustly (of course for Christ’s sake).  He even says that such sufferings are acceptable to God. He relates the believers’ suffering even to their calling in verse 21!  Jesus suffered and we are to follow His example. Wow! It appears that the believers of Jesus Christ have guaranteed their sufferings!  2 Timothy 3:12 adds even more forces to such thoughts: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 

 

Then, what is our response to all these challenges in life? What should be our proper attitude toward them?  Is there any consolation for us? Where can we find a spiritual remedy for our sufferings? I would like to read the first five verses from Psalm 25: “Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. 3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. 4 Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. 5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”  There are a few things we should be able to ponder on. 

 

First, David wrote this psalm, while he was facing strong enemies (verse 2). Verse 3 indicates that these enemies caused all troubles without any apparent reason. Their troubles were not justifiable. He explained his situation as if his feet were caught in the net in verse 15. He confessed to the Lord that he was desolate and afflicted in verse 16. His troubles were huge in verse 17. His enemies were many and their hatred toward David was huge. In this turbulent time in life, David turned himself to God in prayer.  He was waiting for God.

 

Second, David said that he was waiting on God in verse 3. It was because he was very confident that all those who waited on God would not be ashamed. They would not be disappointed. Just think for a moment of so many people even today living in disappointments, despair, suffering, pain, and afflictions. How many of our friends are praying for their illnesses and dire conditions in life? Think of the ones living in countries where their Christian faith is despised and their own governments treat them unequally and unjustly. There are many servants of the Lord who are deeply disappointed in their ministries. All of them have heard of the glory of God and glorious days in the past.  They have heard and also told others about the people who won victories by faith, but they feel today that they are totally overthrown and defeated.  Where is the perfect fellowship with the Lord and when will they enjoy perfect peace and rest from the troubling world? 

 

Third, David cried out that the ones waiting on the Lord would not be ashamed. Trusting in God will never be in vain. He also says in verse 20, “O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.” A principle is this: A man who trusts in the Lord should not be in overwhelming distress. He should not be overthrown by it, but the burdens of life can be too heavy for him to bear alone. In such a situation, David was crying out to God and casting his burdens to Him for His help. “Let none that wait on thee be ashamed.” Instead, “let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.” 

 

Fourth, David expanded his prayer beyond himself to all who waited on the Lord.  He said in verse 3, “let none that wait on thee be ashamed.” It means “all who are waiting on Him should not be ashamed.” In the midst of his own troubles, David was thinking about the fellow people of God in suffering. Bearing burdens for one another is a divine command, and love our neighbors as our selves is an important commandment we must keep. “Pray for one another” is also a lesson we must learn (James 5:16). 

 

Here is Andrew Murray’s well-spoken prayer: “Blessed Father! We humbly beseech Thee, Let none that wait on Thee be ashamed; no, not one. Some are weary, and the time of waiting appears long. And some are feeble, and scarcely know how to wait. And some are so entangled in the effort of their prayers and their work, they think that they can find no time to wait continually. Father, teach us all how to wait. Teach us to think of each other, and pray for each other. Teach us to think of Thee, the God of all waiting ones. Father! Let none that wait on Thee be ashamed. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.”

 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Leader: Today: Volunteer. Next Lord’s Day: Dn Colin Gan.

*No Sparks4Christ on Friday, but sparks are encouraged to come for Working Bee on Saturday.

*Homilectics Class, conducted by Rev Edward Paauwe,  begins on Wednesday, 3 Sept.  All worshippers are encouraged to attend.

*Catered Fellowship lunch today: Adult - $5. Child under 5 years old - FREE. From Sept, meal charges will be Adult - $7, pensioner/unemployed/student: $5, & child under 5 years old - FREE.

*New Basic Bible Knowledge Class commences on 7 Sept. Anyone seeking Baptism, Re-Affirmation, Membership Transfer or interested in the Christian Faith, please inform Elder Michael D Lee.

*For those who have recently completed their Basic Bible Knowledge course, please see Elder Michael D Lee if you are considering Baptism, Re-Affirmation or Membership Transfer by next Lord’s Day.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe (Adl); Bros Houston Li (Mt Gambier/Adl) & Jason Teng (NSW); Sisters Wendy Liang, May & Katrina Loh (Adl); Dr Priyanthie Shanmugalingam & family (Townsville); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations. 

2. Church activities in the past week.

3. Recovery from ICU: Mrs  Maggie D’Mello

4. Visitors & new worshippers.

5. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

 

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bros Herbert (Dilly) Anderson (Kenya), Raymond Ang’s father (S’pore), Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (Sis Felicia’s father - S’pore); Sisters Lai Kheng Chiong, Margaret Hooper, Grace Gan’s father (healing), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Iris Surman’s brother, Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi, Susan Weng & Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong; Mr Lucas Lee; Mr Tony Zhang; Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Mumbai); & others in affliction.

2. Post-op recovery: Sis Myung Ki.

3. God’s strength, guidance & provision: Sis WolHee Kim & her two daughters (S Korea).

4. Chemotherapy: Sis Queenie Lau (Canberra).

5. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.

6. Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & Ministry; Bro John Saray & Ministry (Sihanoukville).

7. New Life BPC (London) - strength & encouragement for congregation; Resident Preacher Mok.

8. Laos Missions: Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry

9. Batam Missions: Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry; Filadelfia BPC, orphanage, kindergarten & school.

10. Providence B-P Church, Valley View - Bro David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

11. Journey mercies: Bros Raymond Ang (Adl) & Houston Li (Mt Gambier/Adl); & others travelling.

12.  Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

13.  Final weeks in pregnancy - for health & normal delivery: Sis  Heng Yee Cheah (S’pore).

14. PR application: Bro William Song & Sis Yashu Qin.

15. Postnatal recovery: Sis Tabitha Tan; good health & development of baby Joel.

16. God’s guidance & protection in new location: Dr Priyanthie Shanmugalingam & family (Townsville, Qld)

17. Christians under severe persecution & expulsion in war-torn Syria & Iraq. Salvation of Moslems.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063