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[back] Sufferings Margaret Pak - June 2005
I went to see my doctor one fine morning and he asked me why I was walking so very slowly? He checked my blood pressure and told me that I need to go for a further referral at the Universiti Malaya Medical Center. At the hospital, I was referred to Dr. Chew Nee Kong, a neurologist.

I was told that I had Parkinson’s disease. I had a shock in my life, no words came out of my mouth. The first thought that came to my mind was How, Why did this happen to me? Nobody in my family suffers from this disease. I was given Madopar, a medication for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.I was stubborn and refused to accept that I was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. I was asked to join the Persatuan Parkinson Malaysia, but refused saying that I can and will be better. I was told that there is no cure for this disease. After suffering for two years I got worst and had to be treated with more drugs and medicines.

When we live long enough in this world, we will suffer. Our loved ones will die. We will be afflicted with some disease or others. Mid-life brings its own pressures, disappointments and failures. Parents frequently suffer enormous heartache with the bad behaviour or sinful habits of their children whom they loved so very much. If we live long enough and the infirmities of old age eventually catches up with us, we may find all our friends leaving us, and we are at the end of it, left alone. War, hunger in South Africa, poverty and starvation in the third world, earthquake and natural disasters occur. Through tragedies, suffering, pain, despair and depression we ask: Why, What, have I done to deserve this pain, this anguish and sadness? Where is God?

If God is sovereign – all knowing, all loving ,why do we have to suffer? Humans are morally responsible for their actions. Freedom allows us to do as we please, and we have to be accountable for our actions. We devote ourselves to God in prayer. We give sacrificially and then act unforgiving to those who hurt us. We let personal ambitions and greed sidetrack us. Therefore, our wills are not truly free but enslaved by sin.

We are always complaining. We want the sunshine but God knows we need the rain for plants to grow. Water is life .We want merriment, laughter and joy but God knows that our hearts will loss their tenderness and ‘compassion if we never shed a tear. God tests us often with sufferings and sorrows, to help us meet tomorrow with strength to withstand the storm of life. Whenever we think that everything is going wrong, it is God’s way to make our spirit strong.

Suffering is a means of spiritual disciplining. Through suffering we are being trained. When we suffer, when things go wrong ,when we are disappointed, when death enters our family ,we ask: Why is God punishing us? What sins have I committed to warrant this punishment? Suffering is not a punishment. Suffering can be redemptive, disciplining us to prepare us for greater things that God has in store for us.

Suffering gives us the strength to withstand the Storm of Life. The storm when it happens can hit like a hurricane, so very fierce that we can be thrown of course. It happened to me, I was thrown of course, I did not know what happened, where 1 was, where I was heading. I could not sleep, nor eat. I felt I was in darkness, like I was in a pit, so dark, so steep I could not get out of it.

Finally after two long years I relented and heeded the Doctor’s and friends advice to join Persatuan Parkinson Malaysia.  I thank God for sending me his angels to wrap me with his love, care and protection.I met new friends and we shared a lot with each other. I admire the caregivers who gave their time, services to the Parkinson patients who are high in spirit.

World Parkinson’s Day was celebrated at Eastin Hotel in Petaling Jaya, with a hi tea gathering for the members and friends. It was a fantastic afternoon with a record turnout of over 400 members. I really admired the dutiful daughter who took care of her Parkinson’s Disease mother for 8 years. She had to sew clothes for customers at home because she could not go out to work.

Then there was this boy, taking care of his Father who just had a brain operation. He had been suffering for 15 years. I went home full of love and compassion for the Parkinson’s Disease members.

Suffering should not disappoint us. Suffering should not shatter us. In moments of sufferings, in moments of pain, I know that I am being prepared for greater things the Lord Jesus has in store for me. “I am the vine. You are the branches” (Jn 15-1). The Father has a knife and He cuts away the dried branches to prune them from time to time so that the branches will bear fruit.This is the faith in the Risen Lord given by the Holy Spirit that we are being pruned through every suffering in order to be trained for greater things God has in store for us.

(Rom 8:28)- Where St Paul tells us “ for those who love God everything turns out good.” Everything, without exception. For the moment I give my ailment, my suffering, my failure, my impossible situation in the hands of God. God works and I believe everything would be fine.

Jesus is Lord, He is my hope. In Him I find joy of my living. In Him, I find a new attitude, a new look at sufferings, pain and death. In-Matt 6:22-, Jesus was talking on his own death and resurrection. Peter was trying to dissuade Jesus from the cross, but when Peter met the Risen Lord, He was anointed with the Holy Spirit and obtained a totally different attitude to suffering, pain and death. “Suffering is only for a little while and therefore rejoice when sufferings come your way.” (1 Peter 1:6)

“We rejoice in our sufferings because we know that our sufferings of today are nothing compared to the glory manifested in us.” (Rom 8:18). Sufferings purify and best of all sanctify our souls for the Kingdom of god.