Vicars Message of the Month

Beloved in Christ,

Greetings to you in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

This month is very important for us, because the financial year 2017-18 is coming to an end on 31st March. Likewise, at the end of this month we remember the sufferings, crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

In Christian life, suffering is an indispensable fact. Our calling to follow Jesus itself is a call for suffering. Mt. 16:24. No one is exempted from suffering – “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” Acts 14:22. This reality is a stark reminder that we have not reached the new heavens and new earth. The new Jerusalem of no tears and no pain, of no mourning and no death, hasn’t arrived yet. Rev. 21:1-4. But just because we experience suffering as we await the redemption of our bodies, it doesn’t mean that our suffering is random or without purpose.

Suffering is multifaceted: The Apostle Paul wrote, we are afflicted in every way but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” 2 Cori. 4:8,9. In these two verses, Paul lists several types of suffering- mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. When suffering comes, often several of these types of suffering are involved.

Suffering happens in community: The church is meant to be a refuge for those suffering. When a member is hurting, the church applies the bandages; when a member is down, the church encourages; when a member is in need, the church comes alongside to help. Paul confronts this type of thinking when he writes, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ” Gal. 6:2.

Suffering is a battleground: Whenever there is suffering, there is a battle – a battle for your soul. The book of Job shows us there can be two ways to respond to suffering: one that curses God because of suffering and one that, praises God, even in the midst of suffering. Job 2:9,10

Finally, suffering prepares us for more glory: One of the counter intuitive truths about suffering is that it prepares Christians for more glory. Paul writes in 2 Cori. 4:17,18. “This light momentry afflication is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.For the things that are seen are transiant, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

We naturally try to avoid suffering at all costs. But God brings suffering in our lives for the sake of our eternal joy -yes, even glory.

May God bless you all,

Yours in His Service

C Y Thomas Achen