Showing posts with label Sufferings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sufferings. Show all posts

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Comprehending Loss - coping with tragedies

Dear Friends,

Let us continue to pray for the people in Sichuan China that many may find God's comfort and grace to be upon them as they seek to rebuild their lives. China has the most severe earthquake in Beichuan, Sichuan province on 12 May 2008 in which it is estimated over 70,000 people have already died and many are still buried. The people need lots of prayers and support in this time of overwhelming loss and sufferings. Thank God for many people who are extending their prayers, love and kindness in many wonderful ways.

Let us also continue to pray for the people in Myanmar that many may find God's comfort and grace to be upon them too as they seek to rebuild their lives and homes too. Myanmar was hit by Cyclone Nargis on 2 May 2008 in which it is estimated that up to 134,000 people might have died. They too need lots of prayers and support to rebuild their homes and lives. May God shower His mercies upon them.

Let us also pray for others in other part of the world who are suffering through other natural disasters. And pray for our other families or friends who are suffering in one way or another.

In particular, please pray for the Chapman's family on the loss of their little daughter, Maria. Maria (age 5), the youngest of three daughters adopted from China by Steven and Mary Beth Chapman, was tragically killed in an accident at their home on Wednesday afternoon. It is hard to grasp the immensity of their pain in the loss of this little girl. It is a great consolation to know that God is in control and because of Jesus, through faith in Him the family will see Maria again in glory one day.

My friend, Tracy, wrote a very encouraging post "Comprehending Loss" as she shared of this tragedy of the death of little Maria Chapman and a book she read on dealing with tragedy.

Do read Tracy's encouraging post "Comprehending Loss" and check on Maria's memorial website where there is a very touching video of little Maria with Steven. There were over 16,000 people who had offered words of prayer, love and support to the Chapmans in the condolences. May God continue to comfort this family as they look to Him.

We are persuaded that nothing shall ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Not even death.
Romans 8:35,37-39

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Faces that stir our hearts - earthquakes at Sichuan

My brother-in-Christ, George, sent me some photos and slides on the earthquake at Sichuan, China.

It is really hard-breaking to see the great calamities that have happened to this part of the world.

China has the most severe earthquake in Beichuan, Sichuan province on 12 May 2008. It reached 7.8 scale and is one of the worst one in the past 3 decades. It happened during the day while workers were in their office and children were in their school. It is estimated over 70,000 people have already died and many are still buried.

Many people died in crumbled buildings. Many people perished without saying good-bye.

Bridges collapsed. Historical buildings and foundations were destroyed.

After the earthquake many people have no home, school or office to return to. Many people became homeless.

It is hard to imagine what many people are going through now. The pains and sufferings they experienced from their injuries due to the earthquake is overwhelming. Many suffered physical disabilities and injuries.

Even more people suffered overwhelming emotional loss and pains. Parents lost their children, children lost their parents and many families are disintegrated. The life of many will never be the same again.

In the face of overwhelming sorrows, we read of many heroic stories of how little children risked their lives to saved their family and friends, some teachers risked their lives to save their students and many others who persevered on with the hope of seeing their families and love ones again. The sacrifices and hard work of the rescue teams, medical teams and various volunteers are most encouraging. The resiliency of many people are great encouragements to everyone.

You can read more about the situation in Sichuan China at and China View.

Let us continue to pray for China. China needs our help and prayer. May God bless China and her people in this very difficult time. May many people turn to God and find comfort and consolations in Him in this time of national calamities and personal tragedies.

It is a comfort that God's people who perished in these calamities are now in His presence, no more to suffer in this world.

May God give the people grace and strength to rebuild their lives. It will take a lot of courage and every help that is possible, to help them rebuild their lives. Thank God for many that are willing to help.

The world is mourning for China. We read of how many are moved with compassion and have seek to help by way of prayers, finance, provisions of daily necessities and medical needs. Thank God for all these kind people.

I am reminded of how we live each day by the grace of God. We do not know if we will live to see tomorrow. I hope to cherish this life that God has given me and live each day usefully for God's glory and the benefit of the society.

Natural disaster can happen anywhere and anytime. It is a solemn reminder to me that I need to set my heart and affection on things above, to seek God and His kingdom first. This life is temporary and there is eternal life as God has promised in His Words. If we trust in Christ as our Saviour, we can have the assurance that we will be with Him when we leave this world.

I am also reminded on how we need to cherish our loved ones and all that God has given to us. So often we let little disagreement create unhappiness in our relationship with our loved ones or friends. I am reminded that the time with our loved ones and friends may be short. I need to love and cherish them.

Time of sufferings are also time of sharing each other's burdens and praying for one another. I am reminded that sometimes through others suffering we can extend our love and kindness to others. An in time of our own sufferings, we can experience overwhelming love and kindness.

What about you? How do you feel when you read of such calamities? How has this incident affected you in your outlook in life or your relationship with your loved ones and others?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cultivating Nearness to God in coping with difficulties in life

When we go through difficult times in our life sometimes we wonder why we have to go through them and can any good come out of it.

I live a very checkered life. My life is filled with ups and downs. I love the Lord because He has saved me from my sins and He is my God and Saviour. But even then, my life is not exempted from difficulties, sickness, failures, disappointments, stress, etc etc. I experience them just like everyone else.

As you know, these few weeks have been very challenging for me. I am still learning to manage my bipolar mood swing. I am learning to cope with stressful situations at work and other areas of my life. I have many ups and downs recently.

I often will pray and ask God to help me understand what He is teaching me through them and how best I can grow through these difficult experiences.

I also desire to glorify God through my experiences by doing that which is right in His sight and according to His Words.

Mr John J Murray in his little booklet "Behind a Frowning Providence" which I am still reading, said:
Far more important than any explanation for our suffering is nearness to God in our experience. This is the only way to get things into perspective.
One of the ways that God is helping me to cope with my difficult struggles with bipolar disorder, stress and other difficulties in these recent days, is cultivating a nearness to Himself.

I found that when I bring my difficulties and afflictions to God in prayers and seek to understand His will in them, God draws me nearer to Himself as I sense His presence with me and the good that He is working out of them.

In my weakness, I have experienced His strength, strengthening me and keeping me.

When I feel that I just can't take it anymore, and I go to God in prayers, I found that He in His faithfulness will either work a way out for me or sustains me in very marvelous ways.

Sometimes I can see Him developing certain graces in my life :

Through painful experiences, I see God making me a more tender and compassionate person.

Through very trying and prolonged trials, I found that God is teaching me to be more patient.

Through painful struggles with severe and prolonged depression, our Lord is teaching me to understand a little of His great love when He suffered so much and gave His life for me and how He felt forsaken by His Heavenly Father while He was on the cross.

Through difficult relationships in my life, God taught me the value of forgiveness.

In time of failure and disappointment, God taught me to let go and trust in Him.

Sometimes I see how He is using my experiences to help other people. When others see the way God is strengthening me or delivering me, they are encouraged and strengthened in their walk with Him.

Sometimes God deepens my friendship with family and friends when they share my burden, pray and encourage me.

I am thankful to God for drawing me nearer to Himself and for working many good out of my experiences. Though at times these experiences can be very difficult and painful, but God has been the strength of my heart whenever my flesh or my heart fails.

I thank God for the way He is strengthening my friendship with you and my other friends as you share my burden, pray and encourage me. Thank God for all of you!

Take care. May you have a blessed day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Coping with false guilt during depression

There is still such a terrible stigma associated with mental illness and depression even among Christian. There is the common belief that depression is due to a weakness in character or lack of faith in God. The truth is depression is a complex condition and there are many factors that led to it as well as caused it. There is no easy answer to the treatment or recovery either.

If you or your loved ones are suffering from prolonged and severe depression, I highly recommend that you read the series of studies done by Dr David P Murray on "Depression and the Christian" as he explored in very biblical and balanced manner on the causes of depression, the condition, restoration and how family or friends can help.

Dr David P Murray mentioned in his first message "Depression and the Christian: The Crisis":
“Being depressed is bad enough in itself, but being a depressed Christian is worse. And being a depressed Christian in a church full of people who do not understand depression is like a little taste of hell.”[3]

As we all know there is a terrible stigma attached to mental illness. This is the result of widespread misunderstanding about its causes, its symptoms, and the “cures” available. Some of the misunderstanding is understandable. Unlike cancer or heart disease or arthritis, there is no scan or test which can visibly demonstrate the existence of depression/anxiety. It is a largely “invisible” disease. We want to be able to point to something and say, “There’s the problem!” When we can’t, we often wrongly conclude, “There is no problem!” Or, if we are Christians, we may, usually wrongly, conclude, “My spiritual life is the problem!”
It is normal to feel ups and downs at different time in our life. We all experience different moods throughout the day. But when depression is chronic, lasting every day for more than 2 weeks and affected one's life and ability to function, it is clinical depression and it is a medical condition that needs to be treated.

Sometimes depression could be due to a mood disorder such as bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness) in which the biological changes in our brain and body brings about depression. Different things may triggered off an episode or sometimes it happened for no apparent reason.

Clinical Depression is a serious condition that needs to be treated. Without treatment it can last for months and the sufferer can be severely impaired. Even though clinical depression may not be due to something wrong in the spiritual life of the sufferer, it can have adverse spiritual consequences in terms of the believer not able to enjoy God and various means of grace until he gets better.

If you are a Christian and suffering from severe depression daily for more than 2 weeks and you can hardly function, do seek medical help as soon as you can. It is the depression that took away your ability to enjoy anything in life, including God and His Words, worship and His people, your family, friends, work, hobbies, recreation, etc etc. You will notice that you don't enjoy anything generally. Your thoughts and feelings are either negative or flat. You need medical help or alternative medicine help. Depending on the level of your depression, you probably will benefit from a combination of help such as counselling, regular exercise, regular sleep and meals, etc etc. But if however you tried you can't benefit from the later, then you need medical help to restore the chemical imbalance in your brain first before you can benefit from the later. Once the chemical in your brain is restored you will be able to enjoy these things again.

One common experience Christian who loves God dearly, will experience during severe clinical depression, is the inability to enjoy God and His Words, worship or fellowship. With this come the additional pain of false guilt.

Dr David P Murray mentioned in his first message on "Depression and the Christian: The Crisis":
We might say that there are three main elements in our make-up that affect our overall well-being: our body, our soul, and our mind (our thoughts). These are not three watertight and disconnected entities. There is considerable overlap and connectivity. When our body breaks down, it affects our spiritual life and our thinking processes. When our spiritual life is in poor condition, our thoughts are affected, and often our bodily health and functions also. It is therefore no surprise that when our mental health is poor, when our thinking processes go awry, that there are detrimental physical and spiritual consequences.

The depressed believer cannot concentrate to read or pray. He doesn’t want to meet people and so may avoid church and fellowships. He often feels God has abandoned him.

Moreover, it is often the case that faith, instead of being a help, can actually cause extra problems in dealing with depression. There is, for instance, the false guilt associated with the false conclusion, “Real Christians don’t get depressed.” There is also the usually mistaken tendency to locate the cause of mental illness in our spiritual life, our relationship with God, which also increases false guilt and feelings of worthlessness.
Dr David P Murray emphasized the importance of studying depression. He said :
One great benefit of having some knowledge about depression is that it will prevent the dangerous and damaging misunderstanding which often leads people, especially Christians, to view medication as a rejection of God and His grace, rather than a provision of God and His grace.
How should a Christian cope with the false guilt and spiritual consequences of depression? Dr David P Murray suggested:
We have tried to emphasise that for Christians their depression is usually not caused by spiritual factors. However, there are spiritual consequences in all depressions. There are a number of steps a depressed Christian can take to help reverse at least some of the spiritual consequences. You may find Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ book Spiritual Depression to be helpful in this regard – although he can be a bit sweeping and dogmatic in his generalisations. Here are some practical things you can do to help address the spiritual consequences of depression.

(i) Accept that being depressed is not a sin and indeed is compatible with Christianity. Many Bible characters and many of the greatest Christians passed through times of depression.

(ii) Try to understand that your loss of spiritual feelings is not the cause of your depression, but rather the depression has caused a general loss of feeling in all parts of your life, your spiritual life included.

(iii) Patiently wait for the corrections in your lifestyle, thinking, or brain chemistry to have an effect on your feelings as a whole and your spiritual life will pick up at the same time also.

(iv) Have a set time for reading your Bible and praying. Depressed Christians may either give up reading and praying, or they may try to read and pray “excessively” in order to try and bring back their spiritual feelings. Both approaches are unhelpful. Instead, set aside a regular time each day to read and pray. If concentration is a problem, keep things short (5-10 minutes) until you feel better. Depression will only be deepened by setting unrealistic spiritual goals.

(v) Bring objective truth to mind (e.g.: the doctrine of justification, or the atonement), especially “positive” verses which set forth God’s love, mercy and grace for sinners (e.g.: Rom.8:1; 8:38-39; 1 Jn.4:9-10; 1 Jn.1:9). You may want to write out a verse and carry it around with you. When negative thoughts overwhelm you, bring out the verse and meditate upon it.

(vi) When you pray, tell God exactly how you feel. Be totally honest. Ask God to help you with your doubts and fears and to restore to you the joy of salvation. Thank Him for loving you and being with you even though you do not feel His love or presence. Praying for others who suffer can also help to turn your thoughts away from yourself for a time.

(vii) Keep going to church and seek out the fellowship of one or two sympathetic Christians you can confide in, and ask them to pray with you and for you. Be careful about who you talk to. Sadly, some Christians cannot keep confidences, and others will have little understanding of or sympathy for your condition.

(viii) Remember God loves you as you are, not as you would like to be.

The pain and anguish of going through depression is awful beyond words. For those of us who go through severe clinical depression that robbed us of all ability to enjoy anything including God and left us almost crippled and unfunctional, we know just how hard it was to get up of bed every morning.

It is difficult sometimes to understand why we have to go through so much sufferings. We may not always get the answer on this side of heaven. But our greatest comfort is that God loves us and He is in control. He sovereignly allows us to go through these painful sufferings for His sovereign purposes. Sufferings are part of life in this fallen world. One benefit we can derived from our sufferings, whether it be due to depression or other trials or afflictions, is that we are drawn closer to God as we find our refuge and strength in Him. We began to know God as Who He is when we experienced His unconditional love and faithfulness in sustaining and delivering us from such great sufferings. Sometimes we feel forsaken by God but in reality God has never forsaken us. He is with us and He sustains and deliver us. Perhaps through our pain of depression we can understand a little better what the Lord felt when He was on the cross to pay the penalty of our sins and experienced the pain and agony of being forsaken by His Heavenly Father. Oh, how precious is the Lord to us when we have experienced such pain and suffering.

I like what Edward T Welch said towards the end of the video "Depression - A Stubborn Darkness" which I posted yesterday. Do watch this video if you have not seen it. He said:

"The people I know who struggle with depression and have persevered with me and with other people in the body of Christ and with the Lord, those are my heroes. Those are people, they struggled, every day is hard but they get up out of bed every day simply out of this weak obedience to Christ. And I find that to be so incredibly heroic"

I read of another author too who said that he felt the true heroes are those who persevered in life despite a broken mind.

So that makes you and I some kind of a heroes, doesn't it, when we persevered daily despite the pains and brokenness of our mind :-)

Let us cling onto God during depression and pray and seek to do that which is necessary to restore the chemical imbalance in our brain, correct our thoughts and lifestyle, and wait patiently for God's deliverance in His time. May God draw us nearer to Himself and enable us to know His enduring and unfailing love during such time.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It Matters to Me about You

Today, I found this encouraging poem that reminded me afresh that God cares for me. No matter what I go through in this life, He is with me. The difficulties, trials or afflictions that pained me at times, are actually working together for my good in God's wonderful providence.

God is doing a deeper work in my soul to make me what He wants me to be. God is conforming me more and more to the image of Christ. The process is painful but necessary. This is the only way I can bear fruit for Christ.

This reminder helps me to see my difficulties and afflictions due to bipolar or depression, panic attacks, stress and other difficulties, from a different angle and to value what God is doing in me through them. It helps me to face every tomorrow with God's strength and grace.

I know God loves me and He is with me. God has His purposes in all that I am going through and He will accomplished His purposes in and through me. I am a weak vessel and an instrument in the hands of a mighty God.

I humbly submit to His will and pray that I may learn to glorify Him even in the furnace of affliction because He has promised never to leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5).

If you are going through a very difficult and painful time now or suffering in some ways, I hope this poem and the reminder that God cares for you will bring some comfort and uplift your heart to Him Who loved us and gave His Son for us for nothing shall ever separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)


My child, I know thy sorrows,
Thine every grief I share;
I know how thou art tested,
And, what is more - I care.

Think not I am indifferent
To what affecteth thee;
Thy weal and woe are matters
Of deep concern to Me.

But, child, I have a purpose
In all that I allow;
I ask thee then to trust Me,
Though all seems dark just now.

How often thou hast asked Me
To purge away thy dross!
But this refining process
Involves for thee - a cross.

There is no other pathway
If thou would'st really be
Conformed unto the image
Of Him Who died for thee.

Thou can'st not be like Jesus
Till self is crucified;
And as a daily process
The cross must be applied.

Just as the skillful gard'ner
Applies the pruning knife,
E'en so, I too would sever
The worthless from thy life.

I have but one sole object -
That thou should'st fruitful be!
And is it not thy longing
That I much fruit should see?

Then shrink not from the training
I needs must give to thee;
I know just how to make thee
What I would have thee be.

Remember that I love thee!
Think not I am unkind,
When trials come to prove thee,
And joy seems left behind.

'Tis but a little longer
Until I come again;
What now seems so mysterious
Will all be then made plain.

Take courage then; and fear not!
Press forward to the prize,
A crown of life awaits thee,
Glory before thee lies!

- Alice C. Lefroy
Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings,
and not one of them is forgotten before God?
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear not therefore; ye are of more value than many sparrows.
(Luke 12:6,7)

This photo is taken by my brother-in-Christ, CW Fong. Thank God for his kindness to share this lovely picture with us.

Thank you for stopping by.

What do you think of this poem? Do you also see God's works in your life through your trials, pains and sufferings? Can you find comfort in God's love even through your difficulties or sufferings?

Take care. Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

In Celebration of Being Alive

My church will be partaking of the Lord's Supper this coming Lord's day. As I prepare my heart to come before the Lord's Table, I am reminded afresh of our Lord Jesus Christ's love for us in coming into this world, suffered and died for us to redeem us from sins and eternal damnation. Thank God that our Lord is risen and by trusting in Him and turning away from our sins, we are reconciled to God through Him.

In this life, we shall have our portion of ups and downs, joy and sorrow, wellness and sickness, success and failures, etc etc these being part of our fallen nature and living in a less than perfect world. The tricky thing for those of us with a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar, is how to handle these challenges so that they do not either escalate into manic episodes or dragged us down into depression. Both are detrimental to our spiritual, mental and physical well being. But sometimes no matter how hard we try and with whatever help we have, we may still find ourselves deep in the pit of depression or wildly manic. These are the nature of our illness and we need patience to wait for them to pass, as we wait upon God while using whatever means available for recovery. Waiting is difficult as we wrestle with our pains and confusions. It is a struggle to me but thank God for sustaining and delivering me time and again.

Sometimes we may wonder why God allows us to go these sufferings. Or if our loved ones are the ones suffering thus, we may question why. All sufferings are ultimately due to living in a fallen world and our struggles with remaining corruption. But beyond these sufferings, are the higher purposes God may have for us in drawing us nearer to Himself so that we may know more of His love and faithfulness and be made more dependant upon Him, in purging us and sanctifying us so that we may be made more like our Lord Jesus Christ and ultimately in glorifying Himself through His sustaining and delivering us. God also enables us to sympathize with others who are going through suffering and share His love and mercies with others as we seek to comfort them with the same comfort that God has comforted us.

I thank God that we are able to encourage one another and support one another through our blogs. And I believe one of the reasons is because God has allowed us to experience much pains and sufferings in our life and giving us the joy of trusting in Him. We are weak but He is strong and His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. Though we may never meet on this earth, we can continue to share and support one another just as the Lord encourages us and strengthens us through all the changing scenes in life.

Recently, I shared the story of "Love Token" from my collections of short stories. This morning, I re-read another short story in my collections. And this story reminds me once again of how I should view my suffering and losses due to bipolar. I hope it will encourage you too and enable you to look at your sufferings or losses in a different angle:

In Celebration of Being Alive

A world-renowned heart surgeon ponders suffering and takes a lesson from two brave youngsters.

More and more, as I near the end of my career as a heart surgeon, my thoughts have turned to the consideration of why people should suffer. Suffering seems so cruelly prevalent in the world today. Do you know that of the 125 million children born this year, 12 million are unlikely to reach the age of one and another six million will die before the age of five? And, of the rest, many will end up as mental or physical cripples.

My gloomy thoughts probably stem from an accident I have a few years ago. One minute I was crossing the street with my wife after a lovely meal together, and the next minute a car had hit me and knocked me into my wife. She was thrown into the other lane and struck by a car coming from the opposite direction.

During the next few days in the hospital I experienced not only agony and fear but also anger. I could not understand why my wife and I had to suffer. I had 11 broken ribs and a perforated lung. My wife had a badly fractured shoulder. Over and over, I asked myself, why should this happen to us? I had work to do, after all; there are patients waiting for me to operate on them. My wife had a young baby who needed to care.

My father, had he still been alive, would, I know, have given short shift to my petulant questioning. He would have said: "My son, it's God's will. That's the way God test you. Suffering ennobles you - makes you a better person."

But, as a doctor, I see nothing noble in a patient's thrashing around in a sweat-soaked bed, mind clouded in agony. Nor can I see any nobility in the crying of a lonely child in a ward at night.

I had my first introduction to the suffering of children when I was a little boy. One day my father showed me a half-eaten, moldy biscuit with two tiny tooth marks in it. And he told me about my brother, who had died several years earlier. He told me about the suffering of this child, who had been born with an abnormal heart problem, but in those days they didn't have sophisticated heart surgery. And this moldy biscuit was the last biscuit my brother had eaten before his death.

As a doctor, I always found the suffering of children particularly heartbreaking - especially because of their total trust in doctors and nurses. They believe you are going to help them. If you can't, they accept their fate. They go through mutilating surgery, and afterward they don't complain.

One morning, several years ago, I witnessed what I call the Grand Prix of Cape Town's Red Cross Children's Hospital. It opened my eyes to the fact that I was missing something in all my thinking of suffering - something basic that was full of solace for me.

What happened there that morning was that a nurse had left a breakfast trolly unattended. And very soon this trolly was commandeered by an intrepid crew of two - a driver and a mechanic. The mechanic provided motor power by galloping along behind the trolley with his head down, while the driver, seated on the lower deck, held on with one hand and steered by scraping his foot on the floor. The choice of roles was easy, because the mechanic was totally blind and the driver had only one arm.

They put on quite a show that day. Judging by the laughter and the shouts of encouragement from the rest of the patients, it was much better entertainment than anything anyone puts on at Indianapolis. There was a grand finale of scattered plates and silverware before the nurse and ward sister caught up with them, scolded them and put them back to bed.

Let me tell you about these two. The mechanic was all of seven years old. One night, when his mother and father were drunk, his mother threw a lantern at his father, missed and the lantern broke over the child's head and shoulders. He suffered severe third-degree burns on the upper part of his body, and lost both of his eyes. At the time of the Grand Prix, he was a walking horror, with a disfigured face and a long flap of skin hanging from the side of his neck to his body. As the wound healed around his neck, his lower jaw became gripped in a mass of fibrous tissue. The only way this little boy could open his mouth was to raise his head. When I stopped by to see him after the race, he said, "You know, we won." He was laughing.

The trolley's driver I knew better. A few years earlier I had successfully closed a hole in his heart. He had returned to the hospital because he had a malignant tumor of the bone. A few days before the race, his shoulder and arm were amputated. There was little hope of recovering. After the Grand Prix, he proudly informed me that the race was a success. The only problem was that the trolley's wheels were not properly oiled, but he was a good driver, and he had full confidence in the mechanic.

Suddenly, I realized that these two children had given me a profound lesson in getting on with the business of living. Because the business of living is joy in the real sense of the word, not just something for pleasure, amusement, recreation. The business of living is the celebration of being alive.

I had been looking at suffering from the wrong end. You don't become a better person because you are suffering; but you become a better person because you have experienced suffering. We can't appreciate light if we haven't known darkness. Nor can we appreciate warmth if we have never suffered cold. These children showed me that it's not what you've lost that's important. What is important is what you have left.

This story reminded me afresh that it is more helpful for me to focus on what I still have and to use them for God's glory and benefit of others, instead of dwelling on what I may have lost or are loosing due to bipolar. I am learning, by God's grace, to look beyond my bipolar. I am learning to manage bipolar as best I can by looking to God and using all the helps available prayerfully, so that I can be more functional and useful. I pray that God will enable me to use whatever strength, time and ability I have to serve Him, His people and the society at large.

Recently, Michelle too shared that although she may have health issues but she can still do a lot. She prefers to think of us as "differently-abled" rather than disabled. I like the word "differently-abled". Yes, we may have health issues or other physical infirmities, we have our limitations and our downtime may be more than others, but we are not disabled. We are "differently-abled". We do still have our gifts and talents just like everyone else. We can use them to the best of our ability and live a useful and meaningful life, to God's glory.

I am reminded also of what I learned in my Catechism Class :

Westminster Shorter Catechism

Question 1: What is the chief end of man?
Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God,a and to enjoy Him for ever.b

a 1 Cor 10:31; Rom 11:36; b Ps 73:25-28; Rev 7:15

  • EQ 1(a) What is meant by the chief end of man?

A. The chief end of man refers firstly to the divine purpose for man’s existence and secondly to what man ought to aim at in his life and therefore that which he should seek after as his chief good and happiness.

  • EQ 1(b) What does it mean to glorify God?

A. To glorify Him does not mean to give God any additional glory since he is eternally and infinitely perfect and glorious.a What it means is to manifest God’s glory in our lives.b When we worship and acknowledge God in sincere praise and thanksgiving, we glorify him.c Similarly, when we sincerely endeavour, in our actions, at all times and in all situations, to exalt God’s name and to promote the interest of His kingdom in the world, we glorify Him.d

P. a"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matt 5:48). b"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1 Pet 2:9). c"Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me" (Ps. 50:23a; cf. Heb 13:5). d"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor 10:31).

Read more .....

  • EQ 1(g) What does it mean to enjoy God?

A. To enjoy God, is to rest in God and to delight in Him.

P. "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever" (Ps 73:25-26).

EQ 1(h) How do we enjoy God in this life?

A. In this life, we enjoy God when we taste of His goodness and experience His special love for us which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. This happens especially as we commune with Him in prayer, in the reading of His Word, in beholding His creation, and in contemplating His providence.

P. "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." (Ps 34:8). "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Rom 5:5).

  • EQ 1(i) How do we enjoy God hereafter?

A. Our present enjoyment of God will be perfected seeing that we will be glorified, hindered by sin no more, and admitted into heaven where we shall see Christ face to face, to rest in Him and experience a full sense of His love. Our enjoyment and delight in God will be perfect and inconceivable then.

P. "In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps 16:11b); "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God" (Heb 4:9).

  • EQ 1(j) Why is the glorifying of God and the enjoyment of God joined together as one chief end of man?

A. Because God has so designed man that the very means of enjoying God is to glorify Him.

P. "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God" (Ps 50:23). "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen" (Rom 11:36).

(Read more ..... from my Pastor's short commentaries on the Westminter Shorter Catechism)

May we, by the grace of God, look beyond our weaknesses and limitations, and look to God alone whose grace is sufficient for us, whose love is unchanging and to whom we belong. May His love and faithfulness be our joy and strength daily. May He enable us to live for His glory and enjoy Him here and for all eternity!

I took picture of this beautiful Rose at the Sentosa Flower exhibition at Sentosa Island, Singapore.

"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying,
Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love:
therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee
Jeremiah 31:3