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12 & 13 June 2021 (Pastoral Page) PATIENCE AND LONGSUFFERING WITH JOY

By Dn Samuel Chan

Notwithstanding the recently announced transition to Phase 3 (Heightened Alert), our lives have not returned to “normal” and we continue to feel disappointed. Similarly, when we face various unsolvable problems in daily life or work, we may ask God “Why again?” Over the past one year, we seem to have experienced a lot of fears and changes. We were forced to adapt to various regulations and restrictions by the Government, from being unable to receive others at first to being able to receive eight people. Later, because of the increase in cases of Covid-19 infection, it was reduced to five people. Then, only two persons were allowed. We have no choice but to accept these restrictions while hoping for the situation to improve. How may we cope with such disruptions to our daily life?

“Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy” Colossians 1:11 (NKJV).

Here Paul mentioned that God wants to strengthen us in all things according to His glorious power; since God Himself strengthens us, it seems to be naturally easy for us to face all kinds of problems in life, and the problems can be resolved easily also. And it is the most normal thing for us to feel happy and thank God for His help.

However, Paul mentions that it is not because of God’s empowerment to solve all our problems that we rejoice in thanking God or praising God, but it mentions that we are being strengthened to be patient and to tolerate joyfully. Paul reminds us that God’s empowerment is not to help us to solve all problems immediately, but to help us to be able to endure and tolerate when facing difficult situations, and to endure the suffering or anxiety, worry or fear that it brings. God not only wants us to be patient, but also wants us to be joyful when things happen out of our control.

Sometimes I also wonder: “It is already not easy to be able to endure myself and how we can still have a joyful heart?”

Recently at around 11.30pm when I was already asleep, I heard someone hitting the wall vigorously for about 5 to 10 seconds. Then I heard it again after 2 to 3 minutes later. It was repeated 4 to 5 times before it stopped. This happened for a few days; I heard from my wife that it could be that the neighbour downstairs was having some problem. At that time, when I was complaining about this, God’s word reminded me not to complain but to immediately pray for that person that he would be healed and helped. After praying, the noise was gone. I do not know if this situation will continue, but I no longer worry about it and I adjusted myself to see it in a different way. At the same time, when we are encountering all kinds of problems in life, I hope this can remind us to be patient and joyfully believe that God will strengthen us to deal with them. Let us come before God and pray about them. Let us rejoice in His faithful promise.

The impact of the pandemic will not be resolved so quickly, and our lives will not return to pre-pandemic conditions so soon, if ever. We need to ask the Lord to help us and strengthen us so that we can learn to rejoice in such a situation. His patience and tolerance given to us can at the same time comfort and encourage those facing the same situation. Especially in this turbulent age, may the world treasure life and know the unchanging joy and peace given by Christ through us. Amen.

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