Pastoral Exhortation

Be Patient in Your Trials

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 25 June 2017

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There are some brethren among us who are facing destabilising problems, and excruciating pain and sorrow. Here is a WhatsApp message that I received recently:

“Hi Pastor Koshy, so sorry that I have to pull out of the Missionary Conference… due to post-shingles pain. It has been 67 days since I contracted shingles. S-virus is eradicated but post-pain persists. No improvement. Pain has been erratic – from a scale of 5/10 to 7/10 every day. Some relief (of a few minutes) every now and then from the GRACIOUS LORD, otherwise a throbbing or triggering pull. Night-pain is more intense but the Lord gives me 5-6 hours of sleep, though sometimes broken by pain. I have stopped taking painkillers as they don’t work on me. I endure the pain, often with crying.

My doctor said that shingles surfaced due to my weak immune system. Now, the nerves cut up by the virus are raw and are also trying to repair themselves by joining back. In so doing, they tug and pull. Now I understand fully what is “nerve-wracking”! Post-pain may take months or years to recover, depending on individual and age. There is no sign of improvement and I fear further weakening. I hope to listen to live webcast, if possible. Don’t call me as I will cry while talking to you. Nevertheless, I have become clearer in what it is to “count it all JOY when we fall into diverse temptations”, and what is meant by “the JOY of the Lord is my strength”. Still struggling to actualise it. I have also understood what you always say about God giving us His grace. It’s Him giving us His divine strength to go through our afflictions, right? I have been praying for you more often as I could not sleep sometimes. God bless.”

What shall we think in such times of afflictions? How shall we respond to our troubles? I would call your attention to the words of James: “Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (James 5:11b).

Job was an exceedingly tried man. He endured his trials with patience. Job would not have manifested patience if he had not suffered his extraordinary afflictions. If he had not known such extraordinary sufferings, his fame would not have been heard down the ages.

Job was patient when all his ten children were killed without warning. Oh, to have patience amidst bereavements! He was patient when all his wealth was taken. Bearing all his losses patiently, he said in worship of the LORD, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). When his own body was full of boils (from head to toe), he patiently endured the tormenting bodily pain with which he was afflicted. Still, that was not the end of the agony he had to endure. Then there was also mental and emotional distress brought on by the conduct of his wife and friends. He was insulted when his wife tempted him to “curse God, and die”. And then Job’s friends, whom he later called “miserable comforters”, rubbed salt into the wound with their unwise remarks. In the midst of all these, he also suffered sleeplessness!

The patience of Job is held up as a powerful moral and spiritual example among men. If Job could remain patient under trial and affliction, why should we not be too? He was but a man; what was wrought in one man may be done in another. True, he had God to help him, but so have we. Like Job, we must patiently wait on the Lord for our deliverance.

Though Satan afflicted Job, God was with him through it all. God was not absent while His servant suffered. The unseen hand of God was sustaining and nurturing Job in the midst of all his suffering. The Lord was with Job right to the end of his trials. Thus, James could declare, “Ye…have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy”.

As it was with Job, the Lord in His mercy will see us through in all our trials. The Lord, who allows us to be tested, will also strengthen us to endure our afflictions. Such is the experience of all afflicted saints. We do well to remain patient under our trials, for the Lord is ever working in us to build us up as His patient, blessed children. Let us therefore submit to all His sovereign and gracious dealings with us in our trials. ■

 

Thanksgiving to God for the 5th Missionary Conference

Dear Pastor,

First, I would like to thank God for enabling me to attend the 5th Missionary Conference. Also, my thanks to you and the church session for inviting me to participate in this historic occasion. It was indeed a joy to participate in the 5th Missionary Conference held in Kuching, Sarawak.

The conference theme, “That the Truth of the Gospel Might Continue with Us”, was a reminder to me and others – who are ministers of God’s Word – of our solemn responsibility in the work of the Lord. The exposition of the Epistle of Galatians by pastors and preachers of Gethsemane served as both encouragement and warning. I found those messages from Galatians to be both stirring and strengthening, especially in our struggle against the onslaught of Charismatic movement here in Ethiopia. We pray that we will remain faithful in preaching the truth of the Gospel.

I have enjoyed the fellowship with brethren during the 5 days of the Conference. Mingling with missionaries from different countries and so many brethren from GBPC, Singapore was such a delightful experience to my heart. Their faith and passion inspired me. I shall be grateful to all the brethren who welcomed us with warm friendships. The free-time we had during the Conference provided opportunities to communicate with and encourage one another. There were also much interactions between missionaries, which helped us to share both our struggles and progress in each of our ministries, as well as to comfort one another in the Lord. Indeed, the 5th Missionary Conference has been a great time of hearing the Word of God and fellowshipping with one another.

All glory be to God!
Pr Engida Tefera