Christians: Claiming a name unbefitting our behavior.

Many Christians have realized the beauty of the Bible and its mysterious, ever-enchanting richness every time it is read. A certain psalm may capture your current state of mind or step in your journey, but in the next month be replaced by another reading. On the other hand, scriptures that you have read countless times may take on a new meaning as your eyes course through the text. Similarly, rereading my journal has produced a comparable affect. These are the words that I read as I began my trek back to Beijing. I wrote this entry in my journal on October 28th and for the first time, really absorbed each and every line.

Oh how my soul longs for You.
How my heart quickens its pace at the mere mention of Your Name.
All words are lacking when they attempt to describe Your beauty and Your glory.
For your love is better than life and it is for this I thirst.
Please help me catch my breath.
Grab my hand before I falter.
It is in You that I find my pulse.
It is at Your side that I find my strength.
Let this feeling last forever.
Keep me in your sights.
A day without your presence is an abyss of darkness,
And alone I am capable of nothing.
May these words echo in Your heart and remain for all my days.
Until I may have the deepest pleasure of life with You in my eternal resting place.
Forever and always I am Yours.
Although unworthy, please claim me as Your own.

My time at home, although blessed and filled with irreplaceable memories, revealed its own set of challenges and battles to remain virtuous, faithful in prayer, and keeping Christ at His “top-dog” ranking in my life. More times than not, I failed and found more than convenient excuses to soften the blow of reality- the path to holiness is very much like our parents’ claimed walk to school: a marathon, uphill, both ways, in the snow, with no shoes on. And I pitifully sat in defeat at the bottom.

Not like I needed any more convincing of my failure or the importance of having a good witness, the Lord, through an amazing book called A Severe Mercy, really drove the point home.

The best argument for Christianity is Christians: their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians- when they are sombre and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths.

This is the point where God gives us light on a certain situation, laughs at our attempt of roughing it alone, and offers us a way out. His boundless mercy and patience astound me, as I realize just how untrusting and downright irreverent I can be towards Him. I pray that the words I wrote on the pages of my journal can remain in my own heart as I begin again on the strengthening of our relationship. And to quote yet another prayer I discovered in the recesses of my journal,

I have crosses, Lord. Please help me to give You those which You no longer want me to carry and help me to shoulder those which I will never be able to remove; those which are essential for my salvation.

May we all, as Christians, take a look at our witness and realize how great of an impact it may have on others. For those that may have seen me without the smile that Christ has put on my face, I apologize and hope to return to you filled with the joy and peace that comes from a relationship with Him. I thank my family and friends for providing me with such a blessed time at home and I ask for your prayers as I begin another year of service here in China. I love you.

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