Difficult Roads of Life
Recently, we are saddened by the numerous news articles about child and teen suicides in the city over the past two months. It reminded us that the pressures and difficulties that people face in the metropolis are certainly not easily understood by an outsider.
Li Bai, a poet in the Tang Dynasty, once wrote a poem expressing his feelings about the difficulties of life. He lamented, “(Translation) How difficult is the road of life! How difficult! Ahead are many divergent roads, which am I to follow?” (The Hard Road I) However, he was not discouraged and instead motivated himself, “(Translation) The time to brave the winds and waves, and overcome difficulties will come, by then you will raise your sails and cross the sea.” In a poem by Lu You, a poet of the Song Dynasty, he wrote “(Translation) Hill after hill, rill after rill. It seemed the path leads to nowhere, what suddenly emerged was a village with pleasant green willows and bright-colored flowers.” It metaphorize the assured new life and scenery that emerge after life’s hardships and turns.
Unquestionably, in Christianity, life is full of suffering. In the Old Testament, Job said, “Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:7 NIV) In the Book of Psalms, “The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow.” (Psalm 116:3) Peter the Apostle also said, “The family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:9) Yet we do not need to feel desperate for God will help us in adversity. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) When the prophet Jonah was swallowed by a big fish, he prayed to God, “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.” (Jonah 2:2) More importantly, Jesus Christ became flesh, experienced, and overcame sufferings, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) Therefore Paul the Apostle encouraged Timothy, “What kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.” (2 Timothy 3:11)
Lastly, we would like to share with you all a hymn.
“The road is difficult to walk. But compared to your way to the cross, mine is nothing, get up and keep walking.
Encountering pain, you also went through the suffering and happiness of the world.
Your salvation and immense ocean of love, I am victorious and released.
Gazing at the crown of the cross, every day I fix my eyes on you.
You are sympathetic to my weaknesses and understand my personal circumstances.
You will be by my side no matter how difficult and sorrowful my life becomes.
You raised up my life, I now gain confidence to face challenges.
—The Crown of the Cross