Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trusting Him in the Moonlight

Today, I had my usual morning walk. What’s unusual about it is that I’m in Dongtan, Suwon in South Korea. I’ll be here until Sunday afternoon courtesy of the school where I work. Because it’s my first early morning having only arrived the day before, I didn’t really know when the sun would typically rise. Breakfast was at 7 a.m. so I set out just a few minutes before 6 a.m. It was still dark. Yesterday afternoon, I enjoyed a walk in the woods with my roommate so I’d already decided to take the same route. While we walked, I asked her about her self-defense skills in case we were attacked in the secluded and wooded area. She said she didn’t have any training and I concurred that neither did I. But, in unison we both said bravely that God was all we had and needed. Our walk turned out to be an extremely enjoyable one. We were both amazed to be in Asia and yet feel the cool, crisp air. Pine trees and other trees with leaves that had autumn colors enthralled us. We kicked the fallen leaves and delighted in having them crackle under us as we walked. The black and white magpies (she said they were naughty) were noisy and beautiful. It was wonderful to be up and down that hill, the sunlight streaming through the leafless trees.

I’d imagined my morning walk to be a repeat of the one with my roommate except that I thought of the first morning rays of the sun greeting me on the way down the hill. While I didn’t really feel fear that someone would jump nor attack me, I did wonder about slipping and hurting myself. I could barely see the ground in the darkness. There were low lighted posts interspersed along the path but it was dark in between. At some point, when I started to go downhill and the path looked steep and precarious, I asked God if he could please turn on the light. Dusk is actually a fascinating experience for me each time I see one. I love watching the darkness slowly begin to lighten. It’s like watching a miracle each time. One moment it’s pitch dark, the next few moments later, there’s only brightness. Only this time, I didn’t feel like watching another miracle. I wanted some sunlight to guide my way. I wanted my usual orangey yellow rays streaking through the trees when I walked. I waited but I sensed Papa God say instead, “You can trust me in the moonlight.” And that was all it took to change my whole outlook. It was like I saw the full moon for the first time this morning. There it was, the moonbeam, hardly seen in between the bare branches of the trees but discernible all the same! Yes, I can trust Him, and I did! The rest of my walk back to the hotel was then uneventful, enjoyable, and much appreciated. I hope that as the Lord allows me to go through the rest of my life with new twists and turns, I will remember that I can trust Him in the moonlight, I can trust Him in those new situations, dark and unknown they may be. He will never fail me, nor you.

Sometimes in life, we respond to our circumstances innately, unconsciously, and unknowingly. Thankfully, Papa God untiringly, lovingly, and patiently reminds us how to respond.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

News on the EEEEs

Evan turned 20 last Sunday (November 14) so we all gathered to sing and greet him. He was obviously amused as we each tried to converse with him while Ethan continually made faces at him. I should point out that the last time we all “Skyped” him together was on his birthday last year. We should do it more often, it's fun! If only it’s easier to nail him down (and us!) at the same time. He is now on his 3rd year in college, taking English as his major. He recently finished acting and singing as Linus in their college’s Charlie Brown musical. We all wished we could be there but alas, we couldn't! Apparently, he did very well. Way to go, Ev!

Last Saturday (November 13), Eric was accompanied by Eng to Bangkok to get his PET/CT scan. The results showed that he is doing well and cancer is no longer in his body. We praise the Lord for this! His hair has now grown too, even in the areas where he had his bald spots. When he was 4-6 months old, his hair stood up. His new hair is doing that now, too! Eric is now in his senior year and is currently looking for a college to go to. On a recent essay, he wrote: “Life is not just about the good things that happen to a person but also about the bad. Some of life’s greatest joys can come from sadness; the end of the best of your life makes way for more great days to come.” He should keep writing, yes? Great job, Eric!

Our 9th grader Eli had a lot going for him just a few weeks ago but due to wrong choices, he’d lost a lot of what he valued. It broke all our hearts to see him so distraught yesterday but he’d repented and is learning a lot from the experience. When told by a friend that his parents don’t want him to hang out with Eli anymore, Eli's response was, “I deserve that”. It’s so sad to hear that but it’s a humble response compared to the one he would have made weeks before. He’s in a hard place now but he is learning and is taking the right steps towards redeeming himself. We know God’s mercy will see him through a complete transformation. We are proud of you, Eli. Keep on!

Here we are trying to fit all our faces in the frame of the computer's camera while "Skyping" Evan. Clockwise, we are Eng, Linda, Ethan, Eric, and Eli.

Ethan is 9 years old and in fourth grade. He’s athletic, smart, and extremely likable. He seems to be processing everything by talking it through. And, it appears that for his oldest brother’s enjoyment, he’ll put on the faces just to get the laughs. You are very funny, Ethan. Please don’t grow up too fast! =)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hearing God

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets.
Amos 3:7
I was prompted to write this because I’d like for us (including me) to hear God better. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could hear our Lord or understand Him more? He’s always speaking to us in myriads of ways! Yet, a typical answer when you ask a believer how he hears from God would be through the Bible, the preacher, or a friend. Yes, the Lord has spoken to me those ways too. It’s always touching and exciting when He reveals Himself to us even in familiar ways. But, could He speak in other ways?

I sat through a teaching this week-end at a women’s retreat (one of the great things about Chiang Mai!) and was bowled over by what I heard. She shared many things but the one that stood out to me was about her fascination and delight with flowers and how they seem to beckon to her. She added that the Lord spoke His love to her through them. I could only agree wholeheartedly. I have hundreds of pictures of flowers on my phone for the same reason. I feel like if I take their picture, I’m saying, “Yes, I hear you. I love you too and what you do.”

On Friday, I was on my way to chapel when I noticed that the water tower in the school property was overflowing with water. The water freely flowed from the top of this very TALL tower, cascading on all sides all the way to the ground. Hmm, what a strange and unusual sight! I wouldn’t have given that much thought but the message during chapel also showed an image similar to the previous one. It was of a beaker overflowing with water, again pouring out from all sides. What was that about, I wonder? Then later, I realized I left my sunglasses so I picked it up. As I donned it on, these thoughts followed:

• At the women's retreat, I will be filled to overflowing with the Lord’s blessings, His revelation, and His love. Later I wrote a friend and added that I just didn’t know which one He would fill me with. Now I wonder why I thought He would only fill me with one!
• I will see things in a new light, in new ways – just like seeing things differently when wearing sunglasses!
• I will change.
So now that the retreat is over, I can attest to the accuracy of what I heard. It just surprised me that not only was I filled with either blessings, revelation, or love, but all three of them combined! Amazing! Not only that, the speaker prayed for me and she said she saw a waterfall and would God please help me contain what He has for me? =)

Fascinating! The Lord is too fascinating. Now, if we could only free ourselves from all the distractions and the worries of this world. If only we could be still long enough to hear. Let’s incline our ears. “Speak Lord, your servants are listening.”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Seven to Go

That’s the number of months that we have left to live here before we head back to Toronto for a year long Home Assignment. I’ve been thinking about it because I know I contemplated “withdrawing” from relationships with friends and just busying myself with stuff that have to be done (they are aplenty!). Last night, we saw my friend, Susan (and her family), off at the airport. They were leaving for good. Susan and I have spent a great deal of time praying, sharing hearts, and singing/worshipping together so my heart was naturally grieved. I was actually surprised by the amount of tears that I shed! And it’s for this reason that it seemed to make perfect sense to emotionally pack up and stop allowing myself to get closer to people and to stop working on relationships. I know I would probably hurt less seven months from now if I choose to do this. Self preservation, how right it feels.

The only thing is, Papa God won’t let me be that way and I found out in the most unusual way. It was while I was receiving a massage from a Christian Thai lady named Pa Jum Pee (of Healing Hands on Soy 14 of World Club Land, cell #0871760030). As she was getting rid of the knots and aches in my weary body that day, my mind relaxed, my body was soothed, and my spirit was well ministered to. She had soft worship music playing which flooded my heart and I know she prayed beforehand that the Lord would use her hands to bring healing to my body (thus the name of her business!). And healing, and revelation, is what I indeed receive. I know the Lord impressed in my heart that I would miss out if I stopped relating with people. Not only will He not be able to use me to be a source of encouragement or help to those around me but I won’t be ministered to by Him through people if I don’t relate with them! He assured me of His grace to not just deal with my pain of loss in the future but to also help me get over it. He reminded me that He is faithful and His love is boundless and endless. There would always be lots of His love to give me and His help I will receive!

So I am reminded of “The Thorn Birds”, a book that I read years ago as a teen (by Colleen McCullough). The last page of the book talks about thorn birds and how they impale themselves, led by an immutable force that they know not what, on thorns, and then as the thorns do its deadly work in their bodies, they die singing. The author then mused on how we as people know and understand when we impale thorns in our hearts, but still we do it. Still we do it.

Thank you, Lord, even as we do choose what would actually give us more pain in the future, with purely your help, we are actually able to survive it and still end up being blessed by it. You are such an amazing paradox!