March 25/26, 2023

From the Pastor’s Desk – Rev. Mark Liu

Hello, brothers and sisters, thank God for giving me the opportunity to share with you some of my thoughts through this channel.

If I tell you that everyone will face suffering, I believe no one will disagree. Maybe you are in suffering right now. There are many kinds of suffering. First, we cannot and should not judge the suffering others are facing. Because at one level, this type of thinking is pride.

Regarding suffering, the Bible stresses more about how to get out of suffering rather than knowing why suffering happens. Job is a good example. It seems to the end, Job was not told about why sufferings happened to him.  He thought he deserved an answer but God did not give Job the answer.  God gives Job more: Himself.  In fact, when we think carefully, we will find that knowing the cause of suffering is not what we most want to know. Although, our instinctive reaction is to ask “why”. But, in all fairness, do we really want to know why? Or do we want to know the way out of suffering?

When Moses told the Israelites to obey God’s commandments, or they would face difficulties, the Israelites thought that they needed to maintain their relationship with God through a set of behaviors. But they did not know that behaviors are just the sign, and what is more important is the relationship with God. The first and second of the Ten Commandments speak of the importance of a relationship with God.

When we care about a relationship, our whole life will be changed because of this relationship. First, the cross of Jesus Christ enables us to restart our relationship with God that was broken by sin. By accepting salvation, we can re-establish our relationship with God. However, this is just the beginning. Many times we only stay at the beginning stage, but we do not cultivate the relationship with God. In the Bible, when it comes to the verb “cultivate”, it is often used in the present continuous tense. This means that we must persevere in building a relationship with God. This relationship is actually not equal, because we are not in the same position as God. God is the Creator and we are created by Him.

In John 17:1-26, Jesus Christ allows His disciples and us to hear His prayer up close and know His close relationship with His Father. This relationship with Heavenly Father helped Jesus faced suffering. If this is the case, we can also learn from this. When we care about our relationship with God, we will look at our lives from a higher perspective with a wider dimension. In Jesus’ prayer, He said all of these are to glorify God. Can suffering glorify God? Yes. The answer lies in our relationship with God. Are we willing to use our lives to glorify this God who loves us? Perhaps this is the crux of facing suffering.

May God bless you all.  May God bless RCAC.

His servant,
Rev. Mark Liu