a prayer for Hong Kong

Three Sundays ago, I browsed my Instagram and Facebook feeds as I was getting ready for church. I was overwhelmed by photos taken by my friends and former students in the midst if a peaceful protest in Hong Kong—a peaceful protest that was interrupted by police armed with tear gas and batons.10628432_536877118441_8472212080523922738_n

These are teenagers and young twenty-year-olds. My heart was and is still heavy concerning over their safety and the future of their city—a city I had fallen in love with long ago. These young people are fighting for their rights as promised to them by China: the right to free election and to be semi-autonomous as they had been for so long. Part of me wanted to stay home and find all the news articles I could on the subject, but I felt I should let the matter sit and go to church, and that God would give me a blessing then.

And He did. There was a devotional sharing from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young that day that spoke to my nerves.

From 22 September:

“TRUST ME AND REFUSE TO WORRY, for I am your Strength and Song. You are feeling wobbly this morning, looking at difficult times looming ahead, measuring them against your own strength. However, they are not today’s tasks–or even tomorrow’s. So leave them in the future and come home to the present, where you will find Me waiting for you. Since I am your Strength, I can empower you to handle each task as it comes. Because I am your Song, I can give you Joy as you work alongside Me.

Keep bringing your mind back to the present moment. Among all My creatures, only humans can anticipate future events. This ability isa blessing, but it becomes a curse whenever it is misused. If you use your magnificent mind to worry about tomorrow, you cloak yourself in dark unbelief. However, when the hope of heaven fills your thoughts, the Light of My Presence envelops you. Though heaven is future, it is also present tense. As you walk in the Light with Me, you have one foot on earth and one foot in heaven.”
Exodus 15:2; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Hebrews 10:23

God also placed Scripture on my heart that more or less let me know He was listening and aware. And it has been my experience for these last nearly dozen years of walking with Him that if God is listening, if God is aware, then God is working, God is prepared. However minute the detail may be, God is very much moving.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all [a]comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

My prayer for Hong Kong stems from 1 Timothy 2:1-2 and Isaiah 9:6. I pray, and ask that we pray together, for the leadership and those in authority in Hong Kong and even Mainland China. And I ask that we remember that ultimately the government stands on a firm foundation. It is on Jesus’ shoulders that Hong Kong rests and is subject to.

One of my students asked me specifically to pray for hope—that whatever the outcome, Hong Kong does not lose hope. She is wise for such a young girl. With God, in God, because of God, there is always hope.

Things escalated again near the end before businesses opened back up and students went back to school, but the protestors have been above reproach throughout the entire situation. The government and officials, however, have been significantly less so.

While the protest itself is done, Hong Kong has a long way to go on the road to desired democracy. While I alone feel powerless to help you or support you on the other side of the ocean, please know—my students, my friends, my family, my beloved Hong Kong—that prayer can moved mountains, and I will be on my knees praying for you every chance I get.

You’re a part of something greater than yourselves. I feel it in my bones.


Since the writing of this entry in my journal, the government has chosen to cancel its meeting with the people and have blamed the Occupy Central movement for deflating its chances at negotiations. Please keep praying for the city, that the corruption will not be tolerated, and that hearts will be changed. No matter the outcome, the new generation has a lot on its shoulders, and Hong Kong will be subjected to many challenges.

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Come Alive

“Fill your papers with the breathings of your heart.” – William Wordsworth

Many things cause her heart to sigh – Waves yawning across the shore; the pointed tracks stretching across the canvas of the sky as the sun closes its eyes and retreats beneath the horizon; a gentle breeze disturbing the leaves; the smile of an innocent; the winks of the stars as they whisper their secrets.

But few things make her heart breathe.

The written word; the heart of God; grace; a city of lights sitting on the edge of the world; the people who need to know Him.

And the combination of these things bring her to life. She overflows. She blooms.

She becomes alive.

And takes her first breath as a new creation.

[written 24 Feb 2012]
(image credit: http://sugarock99.deviantart.com/)

Shattered

A creature created from the earth, living with borrowed breaths from the Sculptor. Her heart is weak, and her flesh is ever more so. How does a creation with these qualities come to gain so much pride?

She had asked for brokenness. She had asked for a glimpse of His heart for His people, for the students He’s blessed her with this summer. He hears her prayers, and He answers in His time.

His time came a few hours ago. In fellowship with the body, she felt the weight upon her heart called “conviction.” She wasn’t giving her all, and she’d known it for some time. Going through the motions and giving only half her heart.

But no one can survive with half a heart. In order to have life, it must be whole. No one can love with half a heart. It is all or nothing. Completely devoted or completely not.

Her hardened heart was shattered in the most remarkable way. While gathering to pray, she suddenly experienced it: a glimpse of His heart for His children.

Oh, how beautiful is His love and how perfect. A love that He wants to flood into His creation. A bigger glimpse into the heart of God to see the great love He has for the young lives He’s entrusted her with this summer.

His heart breaks for the lost, and she thinks of the lives and the faces she comes in contact with everyday. A glimpse of His love for them, His desire for them, His jealousy for them, His heart for them was all she could take. To have taken the entirety of His overflowing emotions for them would render her to her knees and flood her with great longing and heartbreak.

Her doubts have been washed away. This return shook her confidence. Is she truly meant to return after finishing her educational responsibilities?

The crash of her shattered pride and broken heart tells her yes. Her Father has shown her this night that He is not a God of confusion. He is the Good Shepherd, and she is one in His flock. This night, she can have confidence through Him that she will return here in His time, that she will go where she belongs, where He calls her to in His time.

A glimpse of His heart. To see and experience the intensity of His love shook her to the core.

All this time, she could’ve done so much more. Yet now, she has only four days left at her school with her students. What will she do?

Give me a tender and malleable heart, that I may love them with all that I am and give them the best for what’s left of the time we have together and after. If I leave without having a relationship with these students, then this entire summer was in vain.

Let my love overflow. Fill me that I may have what I need in order to pour into them and be fed as well.

This is the day her God gave her the gift of the answer she’d been waiting to know.

Tuesday 27 July 2010 – 12:54am Hong Kong

Break

Isaiah to the modern world is a great prophet, well known as a man of righteousness. Yet in the sixth chapter of his book, he cried out, “Woe to me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

Isaiah beheld the glory of the Lord as a broken and sinful man, whose skin was made of the dirt of the earth, whose breath was bestowed by a Creator so humble, so loving, that He knelt in the dirt and pressed His lips against it and breathed His breath into it to give it life. And Isaiah expected to die as his unholiness came in contact with the holiness of the LORD of hosts. To his lips a piece of burning coal was touched in order to take away his iniquity and forgive his sin.

We gaze at one another with judgment in our eyes. We look upon one another with wrath behind our masks. We glare with a venom more deadly than a serpent’s.

But what are we? Are we not but men and women of unclean lips living among other men and women of unclean lips?

He has refined us, though not as silver. He has tested us in the furnace of affliction.

We should be on our faces before the Creator of the universe, realizing our own iniquities and exactly how much we don’t deserve to kneel, let alone stand, in His presence. And reveling in the power of His gift, of His grace.

For all who call ourselves disciples of the Most High, my prayer is harsh, but it is my conviction. I pray that we will be broken. Completely and utterly shattered before our Beloved. That we may truly, truly see our unworthiness and see His grace shine hundred-fold. That we may give glory to Him because He finished the work and reached His hand out to us. That we may stop seeing each other through filtered and broken lenses. And I pray that we will be touched with burning hot coals and tested in the furnace of affliction. In order to see our brokenness. In order to see His glory. In order to be blameless in His sight.

Make me ready for the fires. And let me revere You in all of my brokenness. Let me see You as I’ve never seen You before. Break me and touch me with burning coals that I may stand before you redeemed and forgiven. Break me so that I will not look upon my brother or sister with a plank in my eye and proceed to dislodge a speck. Humble me, beautiful One, that I may truly love my neighbor as You have loved me.

Ruin me for the ordinary.

Break me that I may be of use to You.

Tuesday 13 July 2010 – 1:58 am Hong Kong

Here Am I

The beauty of Hong Kong is eluding. Here it is, yet still so far away. Beneath my feet and 7,254 miles away from home. Here and now, stepping on its soil (or concrete, if you will) and yet two more years away.

In a city filled with lights and buildings that stretch toward the heavens, the darkness looms among its streets and alleys. Yet the LORD is Adonai even in this place.

His presence in His people is not something to be comprehended or taken advantage of but rather to be revered. His glory dwelled in a box in old times. A very beautiful box, but yet it was still a box. Why did He choose to travel in a box? And one that only takes two people to lift and move?

Why does He choose now to dwell and travel in the hearts of His people? Fragile skin made of the dust of the earth. Within its fleshy confines, rests the glory of the Lord Almighty. Is it not humbling?

The Word of the Lord, the glory of His Name is not meant to sit silent and immovable. It is meant to be carried across distant lands and told to His creation. This is proof of His love for us that He should make us holy that He may dwell in us.

A creature of unclean lips, dwelling among a people of unclean lips. Touch burning coal to my lips and take away my iniquity and forgive my sin. Make me holy and send me, Lord, to these people. This summer and in the future.

Here am I.

Grow even the smallest amount of faith I can muster. Let me gather faith the size of a mustard seed from within my heart. And let my feet run the race, my hands touch the hearts, and my mouth speak Your love.

Here am I.

Sunday 11 July 2010 – 7:52pm Hong Kong

insert awesome title here

She is a failure. She is a sinner. Everything she does by her own power fails miserably. She often runs away and commits sin against the One she claims to love.

Yet He still calls her back to Him. She has marred and trampled the heart He so openly loves her with. How can she say she loves Him? But in her soul, she knows she does. Her distracted mind and weak flesh draw her away. Her spirit must become stronger.

Her future involves her people. She longs to return to the country that her mother hails from. She longs to love people there and teach them.

But why?

Simply loving her people is not enough. Are they her goal or is He her goal? He loved this people so much that He came knowing He would die for them, and He came willing to die for them. She loves her people, but is she willing to lay down a life of comfort to draw them towards Him?

She asks for a stronger heart to do just this. Her love for her people is a gift bestowed to her by the Man who saved her life with His life. But He tells her to wait, to be patient. He tells her that in this time of waiting for Him to let her go, she must wait on Him and learn what He has to teach her that she may be fully prepared for what lies ahead.

He calls her elsewhere currently. In the place she will go, she will be out of her comfort zone. He first took her there four years ago. It is there that He planted a love for her culture and her people in her heart. It will be there that He will grow and cultivate it until she is ready to serve Him by serving them.

She understands now why she must go. She understands fully that this is where He wants her, so that she may learn to love her people deeply and be willing to sacrifice all that she has to introduce them to the Man who loves them even more than she does.

Her heart cries for them and longs to love them. But she must learn that she can’t love them with just her heart – she must love them with His.

In this next chapter, she will learn and pray for a stronger back to carry her load and not for a lighter load. Away from the home she’s known for 19 years, she will learn to solely depend on Him for strength, comfort, food, and shelter. It’s frightening to give up such control.

But He is always watching her and is with her and will rescue her.

waiting

The little ounce of peace nestled in with the anxiety of the whole situation has grown. I feel confirmation that when January comes, it’s time to go to Portland. That’s a scary thought. O.o And I’m still in the process of packing and moving for a local move at this point. -__-;;

I am tired of moving, and I think more than anything, I’m a little tired of waiting. Waiting for Portland, waiting for Hong Kong, waiting for this and that.

God reminds me at this point that there are two meaning to the word “wait.”

The first one is, of course, what I’m doing. I’m eagerly anticipating the arrival of something. However, as this happens, I need to be doing the other waiting.

To wait also means “to be in readiness for; be reserved for; to attend upon or escort, esp. as a sign of respect.”

As I wait for God to carry things out in His timing, I have the opportunity to wait on God and serve Him and learn from Him what is needed to carry out what I’m waiting for.

Am I taking advantage of that? No, not particularly. I’m such a future-dweller that all I can think of is “when this day comes, I will…” rather than “what can I do to prepare myself for this?”

I have a tendency to ask God if I could just fast forward through this part of my life and be in the next already. Welllll… God hasn’t altered time since stopping the sun for Joshua and delaying its setting for almost a full day. Soooooo my chances look pretty slim. =)

I’d better get to packing some more.

peace and love