I’ll admit it – I am being selfish. The truth is that I am happy to admit that I am. I am hungry to know more about God my Father. I am thirsty for the Holy Spirit and His personal touch and His revelation. I desire to know and remain in passionate love for Jesus Christ as my lover and the bridegroom. I so desperately want to be touched and be filled by Him. I know I’m being selfish because SMI is supposed to be all about outreach, the kingdom of God, and evangelism – isn’t it? But I see myself asking for God to minister to me and fill me more and more with Himself. Now I am discovering the secret to love others to whom I am ministering: when God’s love fills me with His overflowing love, I can truly love others. I have to be selfish to be selfless.
On the first day of outreach in the midst of the sweltering heat of North Philly, I felt nervous. It wasn’t about the health screenings – I’ve done them many times, and I didn’t feel terribly scared about them. It wasn’t about touching the strangers’ bodies as a timid Asian girl – I attended all the safety sessions and I was working with a close-knit team too. It wasn’t the fact that I could meet violent and dangerous gangs and drug dealers on the streets of North Philadelphia. Part of me was scared that I was about to enter into the shrines of people’s safety, comfort, intimacy and life – their homes. But I was most nervous because I knew and saw my callous, jaded, and insensitive heart to the suffering of this fallen world. When I met a sixty-year old lady who lost her youngest daughter in a fatal car accident, a morbidly obese woman who loves anything to do with witches in her dark and dingy house that no one visits, a man who was drenched with the smell of alcohol and drugs, and many other men and women who have experienced so many hurts and failures in their lives, I didn’t feel “moved” by their stories as much as I wanted to. My heart wasn’t quick to love and embrace their lives as God sees them. I had to “work” for it. I had to “force” myself to love them and understand where they are coming from, and it was hard.
After the first day was over, and despite Dan’s flattering compliments on what an “all-star” I was in my sensitivity and genuineness to everyone we met, I felt exhausted. I felt so empty.
Was I already burned out? Even after the first day?
I was shocked at how much I lacked love.
Yes, I can pretend to be caring, sensitive, understanding, etc. I think that I knew the right words to say at the right moment. Even my medical school, which is undoubtedly secular, teaches us how to be a “good” doctor who cares about our patients’ needs in a humanistic manner. But is my heart REALLY there?
In desperation to love a single soul one at a time on a deeper level like the way God loves each one of us, I started to cry out to Him. “God, fill me with your heart, so that I can feel like You do with Your beating heart, to see everyone around me with Your eyes, and to hear through Your ears, so that I can pray for these people with the same desire You have for me.” It became my earnest prayer.
God has been faithful to me. He’s been showering me how much I am loved by God, that God loves me the way I am (come as you are, Jesus says), despite my failures, weaknesses, and all blemishes, and that God, my Father, has formed me, is molding me, and knows every little thing about me – even the darkest and most secret things in my heart and my thoughts.
Now, I know why “trying” to love someone never works. It’s because God is love, and love comes from God only. Period. Therefore, the solution is quite simple. I need to be continually filled by God and the Holy Spirit so that I can love these people around me and pray for them with God’s very love and compassion that never run out. Without frustration or cynicism, only by God’s love, I will be able to continue to plant the seeds of prayer and joyfully be in partnership of God’s incredible kingdom.
As I am relishing in God’s personal touch and his gentle and sweet whisper, I am being constantly challenged and stretched in so many different ways. When I ask God, He answers me. God is doing more in my heart than what I can do for him for this city.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)
God is good.
– You Na
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