by Anna Koh

It is amazing how time flies, we are now in December, the last month of 2017.   Surely the year has been colourful for all of us, with its ups and downs.  I find that Ecclesiastes 3:1 – 8 describes seasons in life so aptly.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Through it all, verse 11 says,

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

This gives us hope to know that God is the One orchestrating all the affairs of life even though we do not understand it all.  The good news is: He makes everything beautiful in its time, much to the same tune as Rom 8:28.

When “bad”, “unexpected” and “unwelcomed” things happen, how do we react?

Job suffered badly, he lost all his children and possessions, and was infected with a skin disease.  His wife asked: “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”  To that Job replied: “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

Job was a man who subscribed to the sovereignty of God at first, but when suffering prolonged and the end was not in sight, he started to doubt and justified himself rather than submitting to God’s will.  This is a reaction most common to us all.

Is anyone going through some pain, some discouragement and disappointment, some grief, some unrealised dreams or desires, or some persecution?  Hey! You are not alone. Everyone has his fair share of heartache too.

There are exhortations found in the Bible. Heb. 10:36: “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

James 5:11: “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”  At the end of the day, God restored Job because God is merciful and compassionate.

When we believe that God is sovereign, we also believe that He does not waste any experience.  There is a purpose in everything, suffering or otherwise, that we are going through. One of which is for the formation of our character, so that we will grow into Christ’s likeness, which will definitely delight our Heavenly Father.

Rom 5: 3 – 4 says: Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Take heart, my dear friends, God is full of compassion and mercy. Hang on to God though life is tough.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.