Life Revealed as a Resource

Today’s post is by Ernest Yau

What was he up to; I had no clue…until years later. He nudged then urged, rushed then pushed, finally roared at me to get out of my cozy world inside the walls lined with bookcases. My ordered life was soon disordered.

I thought I was minding God’s business by enrolling in seminary. His message instead was: The Word must be made flesh and blood. Studying theology is good but serving suffering people is the greater good. Do both.

To comply, I checked out a women’s shelter and signed up to serve lunch weekly to the marginalized. And that was summer 2006. But my heart surrender was not an easy ride, more like a rebellious teenager choosing between chores or movies. On the morning before volunteering, waves of emotions would overcome me. I resented the manual labor, a lowly task that interrupted my heady reading, a high calling. With righteous indignation, I would stomp out of my house, grumbling and mumbling. It was a season of mounting tension and unrelenting resistance before life was reordered. Then came the Aha  moment.

A decade later, in the balcony of a Mother Teresa’s home for the poor in Egypt, I watched an old, ragged man squatting on a chair alone all day. He buried his head in his cotton robe, stuffed food into his mouth with his filthy hand, spit out his saliva and urinated on the floor shamelessly. The pathetic scene evoked a sympathetic impulse and then empathic presence in me. Choking up with tears, I scrubbed and mopped the floor hard with chlorinated disinfectant, wanting to provide a sanitized place at night and a holy ground at dawn where I would join God in cuddling him with love. I felt there was no place on earth I wanted to be, desiring to give away myself. That was a far cry from my soul in its adolescence.

Soul transformation is slow and gradual, often painstakingly so. Though God has architected and orchestrated, I am often too blind to his blueprint and deaf to his music. Yet I learn to co-participate with God even begrudgingly plowing along as his hands and feet; and reluctantly heeding Jesus’ charge to start small and local (Matthew 10:7, 42). Then life will bear fruit revealed as a divine resource to the world, in parallel to a life concealed in the Source. The secret to the visible is the Invisible.

June 06, 2019 by Ernest Yau
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