My Reply to a Question raised by a Visitor to my
Blog on Christianity


Anonymous said...

“Dear Mr Char:

I am a Christian. I want to ask you many questions, hope you are free to answer me.
First, why do Christians suffer from sickness, like cancer , and many Christians died very painfully and very early? Is sickness come from Jesus? I think Christians suffer from many sicknesses is because Jesus want us to learn expectancy , so put some sicknesses on our body. Can Jesus heal our sicknesses? If a person does a lot of sin , will Jesus make him feel very painful in order to punish him? If a person always does a lot of sin and suffer from many sicknesses , can he be healed?

Also, if a person does something wrong , will Jesus take out a big marker to cross out his name from the Life Book and use some methods to punish him?

Daniel”


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My Reply:

Dear Daniel,

I am terribly sorry for coming back to you so late. I have been very busy in the past year and did not have a chance to take care of my blog.

Your question why Christians also suffer such as having cancer and other adversities like everybody else is a good question which has been raised by many Christians on and on for a long time.

The traditional answer to this question is simple. Why we suffer? It is because of the sin committed by Adam and Eve! However, in my humble view, the traditional answer is over simplified.

From my personal experience, happiness and sufferings are two sides of a coin. We cannot just want happiness but reject pain and sufferings just like we cannot accept one side of the coin and reject the other side. God has never promised us the sky will always be blue. He has also never promised that to be a Christian, we are free from all pains and sufferings. If we can have a guarantee to be free from sufferings including cancer and other illnesses, everyone will become Christians just for the sake of obtaining that guarantee. We do not need to preach any more and no hospitals will be needed.

C.S. Lewis' book titled "The Problem of Pain" gives a good explanation of pain and sufferings. You may wish to buy and read it. In short, he suggests that when God creates the world, certain natural laws are set so that we will have a regulated movement. Once the laws are set, they will be applicable to good and bad. For example, if a man jumps over the window from a 30 storey building, he will be dead no matter whether he is a Christian or not.

The appearance of cancer is due to the mutation of our cells which may be caused by many factors including contamination of our environment and the use of carcinogenic substances in our food and water such as preservatives, insecticide, water treatment and fertilizers etc etc.

Many diseases are created by man himself. They do not come from God!
Applying the same logic of C. S. Lewis, we will understand that if we have too much carcinogenic substances around us, we are bound to have serious diseases including cancer no matter we are Christians or not.

God has never promised that we will not suffer but He has promised that He will be with us when we suffer. This is the key to Christianity. We know He is a loving God and we know that He would turn bad things to something good for us.

Since pain and sufferings cannot be avoided, the most important thing is how are we going to cope with adversities which may become a catalyst for transformation of our life. The key is we try to find the meaning of our pain and sufferings which may be blessings for us and many other people.

If we can learn from our pain and sufferings and find meaning in them, then the sufferings we are having today will not be in vain. Some parents lost their children due to cancer, they, instead of keep on asking why or complaining about God, set up a fund to take care of other cancer children.

I have gone through a lot of pain and sufferings in my life and have found that my pain and sufferings can be a blessing for many people by my sharing.

Last but not least, I have found that when I asked "why?" and "why me?", I did not really want to know the scientific analysis of how my suffering happened, I just wish to tell the whole world including God that I did not wish to accept what had happened to me. However, when we think deeply, we would understand that when something had happened, it had happened, no one including God can change it.

Acceptance of pain and sufferings as a fact of life after we have wiped our tears is the key to get out from the bottom of the valley.

Another point, we always ask where God is when we suffer. After we have got out from the bottom of valley, we will suddenly realize that God has never abandoned us! He has been with us all the time and has been sending angels who may be Christians or otherwise to give us a hand. This is exactly what I realized after I had gone out from the bottom of the valley.

The above is purely from my personal experience and own understanding of pain and sufferings. As you know, I have been through the loss of my beloved younger brother, father and elder sister. I have also gone through two divorces and liver cancer.

Let me turn to your second question: Will God cross out someone from the Life Book for the sins he has done. The answer to your second question is "Yes" and "No". Our God is a loving God but He is also a just God. He loves sinners but hates sins.

He is a loving God: He loves the world so much that in order to save the sinners, He sent His only son, Jesus Christ, to the world to go through all the pain and sufferings as what we have experienced and at the end by going to the Cross giving up His precious life! If He does not love sinners, why should He do so?

He is a just God: If the sinners refuse to repent, then after their death, they will have to face the Final Judgment! In other words, if a sinner can repent and accept Our Lord, Jesus Christ, as his savior, God still loves him and will save him! It is only human beings who would abandon God, not the other way round. God never abandons one human being. The answer to the question is simple: God would not strike anyone out from the Life Book as long as there is a chance for repentance and the sinner does repent and accept Him.

The beauty of creation of mankind is that God give us free will so that can make choices in our life. That is why we are not robots! We have a choice to accept Him or not. The question is what choice will a sinner make before His death?

May God bless you!

Stephen Char
 
posted by 查錫我 (Stephen Char) at 10:42 PM, |

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