Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Naturally I prefer a tranquil situation, an isolated position where I only have to make myself comfortable in the Lord. No frills and no complications. But this is not the journey God has ordained for me to live on. God's mercy indeed for me to not remain the same and idle. I recently traveled back home and was met with many dramatic happenings.
A relative of mine is going through a very difficult and sensitive circumstance, thus I can't elaborate. But such personal affair becomes quite center stage in some aspects of the church life where he and his family live. It's a profound episode in his life. Maybe humanly only he himself knows the dimensions of the catastrophe. All of our relatives empathize but no one can truly sympathize.
We were brought up as Christians who would uphold the preciousness of the church, the Lord's Body. My relatives are not perfect people (they can get angry too) but they go through the matter in much fellowship and prayers for the sake of the church and to help the inflicted parties to somehow get on the right path, healing or repentance.
Within me, however, I have two clear sensations. First, may the Lord have mercy on us that we may never become the main feature of any kind of taking sides, or divisions, in the church and that we will not be prompted to further polarize God's people. I told myself and some of my closest relatives, "Let us fear God and guard ourselves against dishonoring the Head in any way."
Second, may the Lord strengthen us to receive His shepherding in forgiving those who have offended us and in repenting because we have been offended. A good Christian person copes with hurt feelings and doesn't avenge for he knows revenge belongs to God, but it's not good enough to be just good. The Lord permits sufferings so that we can gain God in the process.
I told my relative whom I considered as my own brother, "I know it takes time and it's difficult but we must pass this test by forgiveness." He said, "I have let it pass but to forgive is painful." "Don't skip forgiveness. We have to be desperate before the Lord until we get released. This is true healing," I insisted.
When I persisted on speaking such hard word to a wounded soul, a thought flashed by: Katherine, why are you so harsh? Why don't you go easy on him? But I'm reminded again that throughout the years God has so loved us, He so loves my family and relatives who have been in the church for generations. Once He measures a portion of learning and gaining to us, He will get that done regardless of how many times we fail to return the served ball. It's a lesson that will only get more advanced, the only way we can pass is to be desperate to come forward to the throne of grace, to come forward to God. In this way, we can get more of Himself as He speaks to us, as He shines on us, as He supplies us, as He loves us.
I hope one day my companions will not hold back speaking these words to me when I'm in my lowest state. Someone told me, "It's easier said than done because you're not the one who got hurt." That is absolutely correct. I'm not better than anyone else. When something painful comes my way, I will probably react exactly the same. But when that suffering moment comes, I hope someone, with a genuine and prayerful heart, will remind me of what the Lord mainly desires of me. In all things, His unique work is to wrought Himself into us, a little bit more.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
I sat across from a fourteen year old, my youngest brother. We had dinner together at a nearby restaurant, just the two of us, before he had to catch a plane to go to school abroad. My youngest brother loves to eat and play computer games; he also loves spending time with me. I can't believe he's about a foot taller than I, and still growing.
He's chatty but usually the topics revolve around food, going to the malls, his friends, or the best, newest fancy gadget he's been eyeing for a while. That evening, however, he nonchalantly told me more serious matters concerning his surrounding. At first he sounded like a tattletale, but when I put myself in his shoes, I immediately felt a great empathy toward him. The situation he mentioned was heavy to bear, but he spoke as if it was an ordinary part of life. The Lord reminded me right then: It is human to need God. That's a plain fact, even for a teenage boy.
My brother received the Lord a few years ago, at night, on a bench, in Disneyland. My sister led him to pray while we were waiting for the famous Disneyland fireworks. So I asked him if he had prayed more and read his Bible. He answered that his school required him to read several Bible verses every morning and that he would pray before meals whenever he remembered. "But have you ever talked to the Lord? Like a normal conversation?" I asked again. He said no.
Before I continued to speak further, I paused. Within my heart, I realized I did not have adequate time to explain and I feared he would not have the grasp for what I was about to say. I needed to simplify and get to the crux of this exchange, but it was challenging.
"Josh, you have to talk to the Lord personally. It's not a religion. In this life, without the Lord, our surrounding will always get us super high and super low," I told him, "We need the Lord and His Word to be our anchor." I asked him if he knew what an anchor was and he nodded.
"People say we were born to die. Our body and our mind worsen as we age, so we need a new hope. The Lord Jesus is our hope. If we don't have Him, we have nothing," maybe I had said too much but he was following. Then our food arrived, we prayed a simple prayer, and resumed our chat. I listened more and encouraged him here and there.
For the rest of the time, he was an open person and to my surprise, he became peculiarly caring and kind. When we got home, everyone helped him packed his luggage and off he went, abroad. I don't know how much my youngest brother had listened and to what extent he had considered our talk about the Lord. I was unprepared but desperate to lead him to know the Lord. And so I'm still praying today, "Lord, cause him to have many conversations with You. Cause him to know You and to love You."