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 (Manna 64: Dealing with Calamities)
A Greater Weight of Glory
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A Greater Weight of Glory

Based on a testimony from “Sabah Testimony Book 2006”

A Fiery Trial

Brother Leong Zhao Siong was around thirty years of age and belonged to the Kota Kinabalu church in Sabah. Not long after his baptism, relatives and friends sent him and his newly wedded wife off, as they traveled to Canada for their honeymoon. Sadly, this was a trip of no return.

Brother Leong met with a fatal car accident in Canada. The driver of the car that he was in lost control of the vehicle while driving in the winter snow. The car flung to the opposite side of the road, swirled and crashed head on with an oncoming car. Death was immediate. His wife was also seriously injured.

The long distance telephone call from Canada was like a clap of thunder to his mother. She could not accept the fact; it was too sudden. She nearly fainted.
When church brethren visited the family to offer condolences and comfort to the family, brother Leong’s ashes had just arrived from Canada. The Leong family had only one son. His early death came so suddenly that everyone could understand why brother Leong’s mother wept so endlessly and sorrowfully. But unexpectedly, the end of man is the beginning of God’s grace….

            “…And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev 7:17)

The Comfort of Hymns

Confronted with such great pain and sorrow, even the brothers and sisters in Christ who visited the bereaved family could not control their tears. Words were not sufficient to comfort them. In the end, the visitors sang three hymns with the family: “Think and Reflect”, “Heaven Is My Home” and ”In the Sweet By and By”. All these hymns were related to the believers’ hope of the heavenly home. Amazingly, the mourning family’s heart felt more at peace after they had sung those hymns. This shows that hymns truly comfort the broken-hearted. Hymns are similar to prayers—they help us to express what is in our inmost heart and to tell our sorrows to the Lord. Hymn singing can also help us to comprehend the will and the love of God, and lift any heavy weight or pressure from our hearts. Therefore, whenever we are in sorrow or affliction, let us remember to sing hymns of praise to God.

On the night that the Lord Jesus was betrayed, His heart was very sorrowful—even to the point of death. So, He did two things. First, after eating the Passover dinner with His disciples, He sang hymns with them. Certain old manuscripts say that they sang all the way to the Mount of Olives. Second, He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. When Paul and Silas were thrown into prison and faced such an adverse situation, they did not forget to pray and to sing hymns in praise of God. They were thus able to face their afflictions bravely. This was a most moving event. Therefore even the earth shook and the prison doors burst open.

            “…I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” (Isa 48:10)

The Change in Brother Leong’s Father

Even more unexpected was the decision of brother Leong’s father to accept baptism into the Lord. Some might have expected that he would reject the faith in his grief. That would have been a natural human reaction.  Yet, he wanted to be baptized. Later, when asked on the reason for his decision, he simply replied, “Three hymns.” These three hymns had touched his heart deeply. He had received inexpressible inspiration and unconscious comfort from them. By God’s grace, his spiritual eyes were opened so that he could see the true meaning of life and make a great change to his philosophy of life. In the past, he had only sought fame and profits in this world and had deeply disliked the true church. Consequently, he had never wanted to accept the gospel. However, when his son’s life was taken away, he had to face the fact that life is too fragile. Many questions kept floating into his mind, e.g., “What is the true meaning of man’s life in the world?”, “What ought a man pursue in this life?”
All these questions eventually made him realize that Jesus is the most precious treasure in the world and the only hope and reliance of man in this temporary life.

            Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs…. (Ps 84:5–6).

God truly turned the valley of tears into a place of springs for brother Leong’s family. He used this great affliction to bring his father, and also his grandmother, to believe in Christ. In addition, the Lord revived the faith of brother Leong’s mother. In the past she had not been attending church services regularly due to her husband’s unbelief. But after her son’s death, she and her whole family grew in fervency. They began to attend church services regularly and to join in the divine work. The great grace and love of the Lord is really beyond the expectation of men.

            “Who comforts us in all our troubles….” (2 Cor 1:4)

Personal Comfort from God through Visions

Brother Leong’s sudden death caused many tears to fall and many hearts to bleed, not only among his physical but also among his spiritual family members. But Jesus lovingly wiped away all tears….

During a visit to the bereaved family, a sister saw a glorious light in prayer. Her heart had been heavy with sadness, but when she saw this vision, she was filled with joy. When she shared this vision with the Leong family, they received great comfort and assurance that the Lord was with them.

Later, brother Leong’s mother also saw a vision during a prayer that deeply comforted her. In her vision, she was taken to a very bright place. Although it was very bright, the light that she saw was a gentle one. She was then lifted up into a clear sky, passed through a forest of green trees and came to a very beautiful place. When she saw this beautiful scene, her heart immediately rejoiced, and the dark mist that had wrapped up her heart vanished completely. She seemed to have been lifted up from a painful abyss into a very joyful world. She felt as if she had entered into heaven and her heart was filled with an inexpressible serenity, joy and comfort, which she had never experienced before. Therefore, she could not help but to pray loudly in praise of the Lord Jesus. When she saw the same vision a second time during that prayer, she was so happy that she even broke into high spiritual song and did not want to stop praying. A week later, God allowed her to see another vision. This time she saw many doors in heaven from which glorious light shone forth.

The Lord Jesus said,

            Do not let your hearts be troubled … I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also may be where I am. (Jn 14:1–3)

The Lord’s Intention Is Good

Brother Leong’s mother used to have very little knowledge of the word of God, so she could not find an answer to the events in her life. The Lord, however, helped her to understand that the pain of physical separation from her beloved son had eventually achieved a greater purpose—the salvation of her whole family. These events were to show her that her home is not in this world but in heaven.

We are but sojourners in this world; therefore do not yearn for the affections and the things of this world. All things in the world will pass away. So, we ought to hope in that which is eternal, the more beautiful place in heaven, built and governed by God and prepared for those who love Him. One day, we will return to that place which is wonderful beyond compare. On that day, when we are united in joyful fellowship with the Lord in our heavenly home, we will finally understand and say: “O Lord! All Your intentions are good, for they have accomplished today’s salvation for us.”

Great Joy upon Comprehending God’s Will

Many a time, God gives us the opportunity to accompany our brothers and sisters in Christ through their physical, emotional and spiritual pain and affliction. We ourselves may also have tasted such afflictions. On the surface, it seems as if God were quite unfair and cruel by allowing His children to suffer. However, God’s intention is good. In fact, He will not allow His children to suffer in vain—there is a purpose.

Moreover, He will walk through the valley of the shadow of death together with us; He will comfort and encourage us, give us grace and eventually, allow us to comprehend His will.

            And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers.
(Isa 30:20)

            For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Cor 4:17)

Yes, the answer lies here, “achieving for us” an eternal glory that far outweighs them all….

 

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