As a Singaporean, I think many of us struggle with self-worth.

In our society, it’s often easy to tie our worth or value to the grades we get in school or the income we earn at work. And it doesn’t help that meritocracy tells us we deserve what we get.

So I’ve always struggled to establish my individual value through many activities: Sports, performing on stage, trying to look better, doing well in school … It’s an endless list.

Still, I clung on to Bible verses like “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Those words seemed to give me the hope that anything I wanted could be done. But put bluntly, I was trying to fulfill my selfish ambition with God’s help.

Is your soul satisfied? What do you really desire?

Contrary to the do-it-all reality of the verses I recited, my studies tanked throughout primary and secondary school. That produced an inferiority complex within me from a young age.

My academic failings lasted until the first year of university, where my hard work finally paid off for once. When I made it to the Dean List’s twice, I finally felt like somebody for once!

But because my inferiority complex was left unresolved, I would plunge back into the same pit of inadequacy by my third year. My results that semester were the worst I got throughout university.

Nonetheless, I learnt one important lesson in that third year: I professed to love God … But I loved the gifts more than the Giver.


What kind of gospel – if any – do we hold to in our hearts? On the danger of happiness, Greg Morse writes: “more presents meant more presence … we have more prosperity gospel in us than we think.”

Are we so caught up with temporal gifts we’ve forgotten the greatest gift Himself? That’s Jesus and the salvation He’s bought us! We are so easily pleased with cheap worldly pleasures – envious of others who have them – that we’ve lost sight of the deeper joy in knowing Christ.

“Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:1-3)


The psalmist writes about a world where the wicked prospers while the righteous suffer. He agonises over the injustice, but also later recognises he was ignorant (22) to have bitterly doubted God’s goodness.

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25-26)

The psalmist remembers that he has God. He has God! His desire is for God who far surpasses anything of this world, who satisfies him.
Is your soul satisfied? What do you really desire?


God is still good when we experience suffering. He is always good. We too, always have the choice if we’ll trust and obey what His will for our lives is.

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your Word. It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” (Psalm 119:67, 71)

I’m sure you’ve read this famous quote by CS Lewis before: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

What is God saying in your suffering? I learnt from the Bible that suffering produces character and hope for a future in heaven (Romans 5:3-5).
Suffering pushes us to dependence upon God. Consider Paul, who asked God to remove the thorn in his flesh – but the thorn remained (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

Suffering and hardship also teach us contentment. Are we content in every area of our lives? Paul was in prison when he reflected on being content.
In prison! Here in Singapore, we have so much to be thankful for – we have so much to learn.

Ask God today: How and where in my life can I learn to be content? As you consider this, I’ll leave you with a poem of mine entitled “He knows better.”

If suffering causes us to ponder,
If suffering builds character,
If suffering helps us grow better,
If suffering builds empathy for the other,
If suffering makes us humble,
If suffering causes us to hope for a better future,
A good God would allow it, for He knows better.