God has been teaching me to learn to stand on my own two feet and be open to new challenges. He’s said, “Look at all I’ve taught you, given you. Look at how I’ve stood by your side no matter what. What do you have to fear?” Mainly I’ve learned this through his Word – and in our church study of Joshua. (And I guess the similar lesson in just about any other story in the Bible). It is interesting how being a Christian in America (at least for me) became so easy that I never challenged myself. In Japan the Christians face bigger challenges like the conformist culture, and traditionalist values that force them to either take Christianity seriously or not at all. Many parents will not approve of their kids believing in God. My pastor’s wife’s mom passed away last month. She took me to visit her a few days before she passed away. She told me how for years and years she disapproved of her becoming a Christian, for dating and then marrying Pastor Kawasaki. She said how for years and years it was so difficult. Just 20 years ago, the grandma finally accepted the Lord and slowly began to change her mind about Christian life, and Pastor. At the end of her life, the Pastor was her favorite and when he came she smiled the most. The pastor’s wife, Chieko told me how she had taken care of her for the past 20 years. Wow. So not only did the mom disapprove of her biggest life decisions, but Chieko was willing to care for her for those years. Talk about difficult.
This, compared to even bigger challenges right now in places like China: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/february-web-only/persecution-in-china-is-very-real.html?paging=off I can’t help to think that the Bible is more similar to those stories – stories where there was an antagonist, a challenge. And how much more can be accomplished, how much more God can do against strife. He’s taught me to seek out these opportunities, seek out places of fear – because He is able to overcome. When choosing between what is difficult and easy, choose difficult – because you can be more dependent on God.
This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”