I guess when I get in writing moods, I just write a lot...
I'm not sure this blog will make much sense, but I'm just processing right now. (I promise to reply to comments later. Well, I'll try really hard..)
Today I went to "Postcard." That's where Sing goes to the station and sells postcards he has made. His fans gather around and camp out while he's there. Lot's of people coming and going. Sometimes they even buy the postcards.
It was a nice day, and I was feeling good. Sing was also feeling good I guess. Sing likes philosophical discussions a lot, and he had just read a new book and wanted to talk about it. He kept trying to talk about it and trying to find someone who would have the kind of conversation he wanted. I could only follow about 60% of the conversation. But the starting point was "if the world was going to end in 8 years, what would you do?" He kept bringing up how the world would go crazy and it would become a dangerous place and what people would become. But at some point in the conversation, religion was brought into the picture.
Now Sing and I have a long history now. I've known him for 4 years. I guess he has this kind of idea of what it is a Christian "missionary" should be doing. I'm not really clear on what that is, but it's been a point of a lot of hurt between us. He also likes to egg things on sometimes.
So I enter into the conversation. At some point, Sing makes it into a "Defend your position" type of conversation. He wants me to "win" the conversation and prove my point. Of course, this can't be done. At least not by me. I'm not good at that. And Sing's good at finding all my weak points.
In one of his books, John Eldredge talks about what he calls the "message of the Arrows." The lies or circumstances that wound you. It's kinda a more in dept concept than I really want to explain here, but I think you can kinda get the point.
At the end of my conversation with Sing, I was processing it, and it hit me. The Arrow. I could see that I had once again failed in Sing's opinion. He had offered me so many chances to do my "job" and I blew it. I couldn't explain it well enough, I didn't make it attractive enough. No one understood. I failed. Sometimes when that happens, I see a look of disdain in his eyes. Or maybe disappointment. Mixed with triumph, like he knew he would win. My loss lowers the value of the entire Christian message in his eyes.
Ouch. It hurt. It hurt a lot. It hurts more because he's so close to me. I came home crying. (discovering along the way that riding your bike while crying is just about as bad as riding in the rain... Note to self...) Again.
But this time, I did something different. I remembered the words about the message of the Arrows. I know that it's not just Sing here. Satan wants me to believe those words. He wants me to be injured. He wants my hurt and my anger and my frustration. And he got it. But, not for very long. I talked to God about it, and God reminded me that it's ok. It's ok if I fail (which is not the point here.) It's God's job to fight for me. God works in my weaknesses. It will be ok.
The conversation ended with "Papa" the man central to the conversation (other than Sing) saying that he kinda understood my words, but He just couldn't understand the point. And I told him it was because he didn't really want to. And he agreed with me.
Here's the point.
If you don't want to understand, you are not going to. If you don't want to find God, you are not going to. This has nothing to do with the teacher.
I teach English for a living. I'm not the world's best teacher, but I'm not a bad teacher. I make mistakes, but for the most part, my students are able to learn English. Working in public schools has changed one central thing for me. I now have students who don't care about English. In conversation schools the student are there because they want to be. In public schools they just have to be. It makes a huge difference.
No matter how wonderful a teacher I am, if the student doesn't want to learn, I can't make them learn English. This is the student's problem. I can teach it in as many different ways as possible, do everything in my power to make it interesting, but if they don't want to learn, I can't make them learn. It's that simple.
This is the same with faith. If people don't want God, they won't understand what I am saying. Does that make me a failure? No.
But I guess the point is not if I failed or not. It's the hurt from the look in Sing's eyes because HE thinks I have failed. It's the Arrows that try to wound me to decide to shut off my heart, get angry at Sing, give up and stop trying. It's easy to blame it all on Sing and trow up my hands and shake the dirt off my feet. And then I remember, isn't that what Satan wants me to do? Let it get to me. And I really have failed.
So this time, I'll just let the Arrow hit me. It hurts, but that's ok. But you know what, as soon as I realized that, the tears stopped. My chest relaxed. I forgave Sing and myself. There's still a long way to go, but if I believe that it's ok even if I'm shot, then I can continue forward. If I trust God to take care of me, then it's ok if I'm shot full of arrows. The point is to not be shot. The point is to continue anyway. This is faith.
So, I think that thanks to Satan's latest Arrow, I've gotten just a little stronger today. It's not about winning or loosing. God will take care of that. I will continue forward, learning as I go. As many Arrows as it takes.
And now I'm tired. That's quite a lot of emotional highs and lows in one afternoon. Time for bed and another week of work.
Thanks for your prayers and your interest in my blog. I am very encouraged when I heard that people who read this are praying for me and Japan. Please also pray for Sing and "Papa" and the girls who were listening. Pray that their hearts will be softened and their eyes opened, so they can want to understand, so that they can see their own need for God. What if the world was going to end in 8 years? What if tomorrow? That thought is kind more painful than all the Arrows. I love these people, and I would like them to share Eternal Life with me. I pray that God gives you wisdom in your prayers for these important people to me.
Thank you so much. (insert deep bow here.)