'For Christians, this life is as close to hell as we will get. For non-Christians, this life is as close to heaven as they will get.”
“I could not help but think that somewhere along the way we had missed what was radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable.”
—— Daily Examen ——
Last but not least, part five: Look forward to tomorrow
This morning, I’ve received a crash course on public policy by one of my Christ-follower friends. Needless to say, she was fascinated about this subject, yet utterly disgusted at how corrupted the system is. We shortly looked at how poorly the World Bank and IMF runs this debt regime, yet ironically, without it, the whole world would be in a war. Not too long afterwards, we came to conclusion that this generation has to deal with the uprising of the inequality/globalization.
As absurd that sounds, and even impossible, I started to look at the people who I have encountered through this past months/years. These friends of mine are radical; they are planning, preparing, educating themselves to act out their radical faith journey. And then I remind myself that Our God is not only for my friends/family/who I have encountered over the years, but The Lord of ALL nations. If this generation are educated to take the correct, wise, risk-taking steps to overcome the worldly problems for Jesus, we will conquer!
I believe that my friends, my work-peers would educate themselves and take radical steps to change the world for His good. Though WB and IMF are corrupted, they too will be cleansed and fixed by His people inside of those work places.
With that, I pray that we would wake up from these lazy, somber state, and be ready to take extraordinary, faith-journeys with Him. Not only am I looking forward to what God has in store for me tomorrow, but the future of our generation.
"How much do you have to hate someone to not share salvation?"
——- Daily Examen ——
Fourth part: Choose one feature of the day and pray for it.
This is the one part I knew that Satan conquered and controlled my heart ever since my junior year in high school; and the fact that I did what Satan wanted to do puts me at unease.
I am too quick to judge what lacks and what is good enough. And easily conclude that I am not better or that I am not enough for someone. But the funny thing is, while all of this is happening inside of my head, the outside portrays just the opposite. Instead of empathizing with my community, I concentrate on bringing myself higher to help people. So, in essence, my pride takes over, and it tells me that being vulnerable means losing. So in the end, I keep my head up and ignore any situation that would try to belittle me. And to those people who are so unashamed and are accepted by people, I get jealous. And jealousy led me to hate few people. My pride was simply the first straw.
Quite frankly, I don’t have a clean, cut conclusion for this. As many times I have asked God to humble me, I am slowly realizing that I do not want to be humbled, belittled, disparaged, or stay quiet.
As much as I want to be apart from this world, I realized I am too intact with myself, my body and who God has made me to be. I am too proud of myself. I am a fool for being so full of who I am.
Right now — I’m in the process of apologizing and continually reminding myself that I’d much rather live for eternity than temporary, and that I have a choice to make.
This is what I prayed for hours at Prayer Meeting tonight.
It’s times like these where I can’t remember what it was like before
It’s hard not having someone to just vent to or ramble on about anything and everything. Someone there to make you feel better when you were having a horrible day, however arbitrary the reason was. Nothing needed to be said or done…their mere presence was enough to make you feel better
What did I do before? Probably just cope with it on my own, sulk around, feel sorry for myself, and just lay on my bed till I felt better. Idk. And before tumblr? Or at least before I discovered the cathartic effect of writing? Idk. Well I mean I cry myself to sleep a lot less than I used to in middle/high school so I guess that’s an improvement.
But these days I’ve just been so off just in every single aspect of my life: academically, socially, spiritually. Feeling inadequate in every aspect. For the past year or so I had something (someone) to rely on. And now I’m back to where I started and I just….idk
Often I have said to people, “I will pray for you,” but how often did I really enter into the full reality of what that means? I now see how indeed I can enter deeply into the other and pray to God from His center. When I really bring my friends and the many I pray for into my innermost being and feel their pains, their struggles, their cries in my own soul, then I leave myself, so to speak, and become them, then I have compassion. Compassion lies at the heart of our prayer for our fellow human beings. When I pray for the world, I become the world; when I pray for the endless needs of the millions, my soul expands and wants to embrace them all and bring them into the presence of God. But in the midst of that experience I realize that compassion is not mine but God’s gift to me. I cannot embrace the world, but God can. I cannot pray, but God can pray in me. When God became as we are, that is, when God allowed all of us to enter into his intimate life, it became possible for us to share in his infinite compassion. In praying for others, I lose myself and become the other, only to be found by the divine love that holds the whole of humanity in a compassionate embrace.
Rules for Self Discovery: 1. What we want most; 2. What we think about most; 3. How we use our money; 4. What we do with our leisure time; 5. The company we enjoy; 6. Who and what we admire; 7. What we laugh at.
"My love for God is not out of emotions, but commitment."
—- Daily Examen —-
Third part: pay attention to your emotions.
After being afraid during the summer, and clinging onto Him for a grasp of air, I have finally received the email, and it still remains unopen. I’m scared.
In times like these, I think I have to remind myself that God is for me and not against me… that He is not like the others. He knows and understands my heart better than I can understand myself. He fully understands the thought process and what my heart yearns… and to be quite honest, I think He honors that.
So in these trouble times, I’m not going to stop praising Him and be unfaithful to Him because of my foolish emotions, but rather, I’m going to yearn for a place where I am able to be with Him and be in tune with the Holy Spirit; because everyday, I’m learning that what God and I have is a relationship, not a fling.
"You’re a Jonathan in my life; like David’s Jonathan — in the bible.
You’re a spiritual friend, you help me find strength in God.
We’re not dependent on each other, but Him.
So I say when there is a greater purpose, we are strengthened.
And I have been blessed.”
—- Daily Examen —-
First and foremost, become aware of God’s presence.
As I’m walking to class, as I’m praying across the drillfield, as I jam through the quads listening to Citipointe Live, as I remain silent in moments… The Trinity is well around me. When I get easily tired of studying and working because I continued to use God as an excuse; saying that I am studying for His glory, and not of my own when it’s really about earning His blessings on this exam so I can feel satisfied and comfortable. During those times, I have to stop and examen my heart. But people like, my beautiful mother, humble Alice, and my best friend who yearns for God every moment of her day, Jenny, keep me anchored to my faith. And they continue to lead me to the right path. They are JONATHANS in my life.
And if these people aren’t blessings from Him, I don’t know what is.
Second part of Daily Examen: Review the day with gratitude.
God, I thank you for the troubles, I thank you for these people who continues to help me to find strength in You, and helps me to be present in moments with You.
—— Continuing to learn what it means to… be with Him.
This is actually so frustrating. All the prayers I have been praying, they are all teaching me a lesson. God truly works in mysterious, unexpected ways. This walk, this journey, this part of faith, this process is going to take a long time, but I see evidence and fingerprints of God everyday… So I know I’m in good hands.
Slowly, everyday, I’m constantly and consistently learning what it means to be part of a community/fellowship. And the importance of simply being present in…moments.
During those moments, I’m not talking about sharing exotic stories to grab attention or try to be the center of a circle, but listening and joining in other people’s journey — I love that. It’s encouraging me to see how the Holy Spirit is stirring up their souls and excited to share how God has been faithful and working in their lives.
And being part of these people who regain strength from The Lord and who are too happy to lock in their happiness — I find joy, peace and comfort.
At times, I believe it’s those people who keep me anchored to my faith.
I thank you; for being strong when I can’t. for showing me that God is alive when I doubt His abilities.
Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control, let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy’s fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love and whisper a surprised thanks. This is the fuel for joy’s flame. Fullness of joy is discovered only in the emptying of will. And I can empty. I can empty because counting His graces has awakened me to how He cherishes me, holds me, passionately values me. I can empty because I am full of His love. I can trust.
"I do not recall another period when ‘faith’ was as popular as it is today. ‘If only we believe hard enough we’ll make it somehow.’ So goes the popular chant. What you believe is not important. Only believe… What is overlooked in all this is that faith is good only when it engages truth; when it is made to rest upon falsehood it can and often does lead to eternal tragedy. For it is not enough that we believe; we must believe the right thing about the right One."
I think God sometimes uses the completely inexplicable events in our lives to point us toward Him. We get to decide each time whether we will lean in toward what is unfolding and say yes or back away. The folks who were following Jesus in Galilee got to decide the same thing each day because there was no road map, no program, and no certainty. All they had was this person, an idea, and an invitation to come and see.
And all the while reading this part, my mind couldn’t stop questioning, “Hannah, where is your Galilee?”
"That’s probably why Jesus’ disciples never said they were on a missions trip. I think they knew love already had a name and they didn’t need a program or anything else to define it. We don’t either. The kind of adventure Jesus has invited us on doesn’t require an application or prerequisites. It’s just about deciding to take up the offer made by a father who wants us to come."
I apologize in advance for many excerpts from Love Does, but it’s just a fantastic book about a man who is in love with the Lord, and takes on a journey everyday with Him. Pretty inspiring, actually.
The cool thing about taking Jesus up on His offer is that whatever controls you doesn’t anymore. People who used to be obsessed about becoming famous no longer care whether anybody knows their name. People who used to want power are willing to serve. People who used to chase money freely give it away. People who used to beg others for acceptance are now strong enough to give love.
When we get our security from Christ, we no longer have to look for it in the world, and that’s a pretty good trade.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”—C.S Lewis
Slowly, everything seems to fit. Few pieces are still missing, but I’m starting to see the bigger picture of this. Not too long ago, I have changed the direction of my future, and needless to say, I was worried and doubtful. But in the midst of this, God is directing me — I am going to shadow a doctor, Dr.Park, and he is trying to recruit me for his winter medical-mission trip this upcoming December.
There are many more stories about where I will be in few years and in 4 years from now — especially about my future school, but I won’t share much about the uncertainties.
I have been struggling a lot about my faith and doubting God countless times this past few weeks as my family struggled with our business and what might happen in the near future. But with these awesome news/opportunities I have received, my optimism is back!
Though few things are shaky within my family, God will have His way in us. It’s easy to forget that, but there’s power in knowing that God is bigger than our problems and that He is for us; not against us.
God is faithful even when I’m not.
And so, I am thankful — with every ounce of my body and my soul.