God, are you angry with me?

FATHER HARRY CHAN OFM - CHAPLAIN - BANYO CAMPUS

Two years ago, I was invited to be the wedding celebrant of two very good friends of mine, Alfred who is from Hong Kong, and Sandra, from Malaysia. When COVID-19 hit, they had been forced to postpone their wedding, not just once, twice, thrice, but four times! They were very confident that their wedding was finally going ahead on the fourth attempt but unfortunately, on the morning of their wedding day, the Queensland Premier announced a Brisbane lockdown due to the increasing COVID-19 cases.

Alfred and Sandra were devastated! With the added cost of postponing the banquet again and again, they had spent a fortunate on their wedding. At one point, Alfred asked:

‘God, are you angry with me?’

If I were him, perhaps I would be angry with God as well.

On the fifth and last attempt, Alfred and Sandra were finally married in August last year with only 10 guests allowed to attend and their parents could not be there for the wedding owing to the international travel restrictions. In hindsight, they were grateful that so many people were willing to help during their difficult times. Now they are expecting their first child which is due in late May.

We have all gone through tough times in our lives. We don’t understand why things don’t go our way or why God seems so silent. These times can be very frustrating, and even prompting us to question if God is there, or if He is, does He even care?

The cross is a unique symbol of Christianity. It represents the suffering and death of the central figure of our faith, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Despite the sadness and shame, it is also a symbol of hope, love, and life.

Many people see the cross and walk away from it. The cross in the life of the Christian involves sacrifice and brokenness, just as it did for Jesus. None of us is greater than the Master, and we must embrace the cross if we are to experience the joy of the resurrection.

As followers of Jesus, we must look beyond death to be fully alive in Christ!

I can’t explain why we all suffer in one way or another, but I don’t think suffering is a result of God’s anger. Jesus also suffered. On the cross, Jesus experienced what everyone must experience – death. Jesus entered what everyone must enter – the grave. Jesus died for all of us, and when we suffer, God suffers with us. We can’t look at the cross without seeing God’s love, and God can’t look at the cross without seeing us. During this season of Lent, let us learn to embrace the cross and to live as people of the cross.

“If any want to become My followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.” (9:23).

BIO: Father Harry Chan was born in Hong Kong. He went to high school and university in Auckland, New Zealand. He joined the Franciscan Order in 2006, was ordained a priest in 2012 and appointed as a chaplain at ACU Brisbane Campus in 2015. He is a keen basketball player and a Liverpool FC soccer fan.

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