Friday, May 19, 2006

Oh, to starve again

When are people hungry?
... when they're starving

When do people seek company?
... when they are lonely

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Why am I not reading the Bible as much these days since I'm in Bible School?
Why am I not praying as fervently as when I was in the mission field, on the army camp?

The answer is poverty. Starvation. Loneliness.

These things drive a man to his knees in prayer, they keep him up late reading his Bible when he is sleep deprived, they make him sensitive to the tiniest hint of sin in his heart, so that he can be quick to confess and repent.

Being here in Bible school, there is a feast before me, and I am being force fed. What a way to get rid of your appetite. Around me is Christianity in all its various forms. The intrigue for God as the undiscovered country has vanished from the horizon. I think I know it all. I think I've arrived. This is when I need to stop and realize: Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are the starved, the lonely. As long as we feel satisfied we will be complacent. If you do not feel need, you will not long, you will not pursue and lay hold of.

I need to be swept away by uncontrollable waters. I need to feel hunger again, sorrow again, loneliness again. Only after everything was taken away did Job first pray and worship.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


They say that opposites attract, and that you should try to find a life partner that is very different from you. The problem with that is you first need to know yourself. Who am I, and what am I like? It can be a little confusing looking inward and analysing your qualities to see where you fit in the great personality scheme. I find that around certain people I behave in certain ways. This is probably normal for most people, but it makes it harder to figure out the real me. There's also the question of: who do I want to be?

Sometimes I'm slow and easy going, like to be alone and melancholic. Other times I like being the centre of attention, the sanguine storyteller and jokester. Sometimes I just follow along with the plans of everyone else, other times I want to take charge and lead aggressively. Sometimes I'm attracted to those quiet ones, whose aura is one of peace and calm; other times I'm drawn to outspoken vivacious ones with a fiery personality.

Picture the ideal You. What do you see? I'm 26, which means my personality has almost hardened to what it will remain for the rest of my life. Now is the time to make those changes, if there are any to make. What kind of guy do I want to be when I'm 35? But, at the same time, you don't want to be fake about it. Generally speaking, people are the way they are because of certain experiences they've encountered since their childhood and the environment in which they grew up. Perhaps because of my eclectic upbringing, I find myself adapting moderately well to a variety of different situations instead of stubbornly wanting my way. It's not like you can wake up one day and say, "I'm going to be an extrovert from now on."

They also say that you should be with person with whom you can feel completely comfortable being yourself. Find someone that you don't need to put on an act for; someone who loves the way you are first thing in the morning when you can't tell your right hand from your left. Acting and entertaining for the sake of someone else is tiring business.

but it is true that people's expectations of others can run so high sometimes. We want the most from people, whlie giving our least.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What about him?

At the close of the book of John, Jesus is describing of life and death that Peter will have to endure, to which Peter looks at John and asks, "What about him?" Jesus knew that the Apostle John was destined to die from old age on the island of Patmos, whereas Peter would be crucified upside down, as tradition goes.

I can identify with Peter. We all have our paths to walk and it's not for us to compare ourselves with others. I can't get angry or jealous because I see people with the calling to stay in the city, get their PhD's, teach in a seminary, have a generally normal life, raise kids, have a condo and car and beautiful wife.

Jesus says, "what's it to you? You follow me" Those of us going into missions in hostile, uncomfortable areas are not getting the short end of the stick; it's not a shotty life we'll be looking forward to. It's life with our master. He's leading us and we're following; it's not like we're going off alone. There is great joy and excitement in following hard after the Lord and not fretting about the comforts that others get to enjoy.

And in the end, everything turns out be relative, a matter of degree. There is often a fine line between joy and strife. Life in the city with a career and wife is not all joy. Life in the jungles with the mosquitoes and no running water is not all strife. And vice versa.

The point is to walk wholeheartedly with God, not looking over our shoulder to see what the next guy is doing and how much fun it must be.