Because of God’s majesty, Job chose to live his life to please God. His friends could not fathom Job’s great loss and suffering unless it was connected to sin; that was how they were able to make sense of what they knew. Job tried to tell them again that he was innocent. “…if I have seen anyone dying for lack of clothing or a needy person without a cloak, if he did not bless me while warming himself with the fleece from my sheep…then let my shoulder blade fall from my back, and my arm be pulled from its socket.” Job acted on his faith, cared for others, and was loyal to God. So why was he suffering?
It was at an Unreached Peoples conference in 2002 where Russell and I first met Simon and his sweet wife, Ai Ling. Native Singaporeans, they were passionate about God’s love and Kingdom going forth. Simon has had lupus since he was nineteen years old and he suffers bravely while continuing to live joyfully and sacrificially in spite of severe pain and medical uncertainty. Whether setting up a school to teach English in rural China, leading his house church in Singapore, or sharing God’s love in meaningful ways during his lengthy hospital stays, Simon and his family offer praise to God.
May you be as blessed as I was from reading excerpts of a correspondence he wrote at the end of 2011. “Ai Ling and I believe and want this illness for the glory of God… We do not want to waste my sickness but to make much of Him in it…We see Jesus more clearly for Who He really is since my lupus relapse… He cares about my lupus, cellulitis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and every pain that I feel in my body. He cares about my anxieties and emotional stress and even how I look… Oh, how I pray that many more will know that Jesus did not come to give us an easy life, but eternal life!”
Simon is perhaps the most Job-like person that I know. His wife remains cheerful despite their many challenges. Their young daughter wants to grow up to help orphans. We often are left unsure of “why” we suffer, but we are assured of how to suffer. Simon’s response to life’s circumstances and his faithfulness to God offer perspective and hope. He lives for God’s majesty, like Job did.
P.S. Russell and I were blessed to visit Simon and his family in Singapore during the summer of 2015. His health remains unstable yet his faith is unshakable. I’m so happy to share that even while in and out of the hospital, Simon was able to complete his book, A Bruised Reed that Jesus did not Break. It is an inspirational story of his lupus and God’s glory. Those who read it will be blessed indeed.