God's Love Is Sufficient
The city of Wuhan where I live is always changing. We can see new public slogans almost every day. Jobs and government policies change very frequently, and buildings are been constantly knocked down and replaced by new ones. Even the weather in Wuhan is always changing fast. Unpredictable events take place at breakneck speed.
I too do different things almost every day. I visit families that have members with special needs, attend work training institutions, conduct art classes, teach the Korean language and work with Catholic youth. I found that I had been constantly challenged to keep up with all these changes when I first arrived in China. I was greatly helped to deal with these constantly changing circumstances thanks to the many Chinese people I got to know.
Every week I visit the home of Chae-wee, a cute eight-year-old that has become my friend. I teach her and her mother art therapy. Chae-wee’s mother is not able to move around very well and finds it difficult to communicate with others. She has been a friend of the Columban missionaries for some ten years now and knew them well when her daughter was born.
Chae-wee is a healthy and lovable trickster. She is an excellent student getting top marks in all her tests and is the pride and hope of the family. One day as she was sharing her prized snack with me she suddenly asked me why I loved her. After reflecting for a moment she declared that it was because of her excellent school results. She appeared to be sad so I quickly said that she was right to feel proud of her results but that I would love her even if the test results were not that good. I love you because of the love and care you show I added. You share your prized snacks with others and make people happy. I was not certain that she understood what I had said and felt bad that Chae-wee thought that I and others would not love her if her school results were bad.
As I reflected on this incident I became aware of the fact that I feared that I might be doing good works in China in order that others would accept me and love me. If that was my motive for working in China the results would not be good. If I truly trusted in and believed that God’s love was sufficient then I would not be trying to seek others approval. While I have told myself this several times I still find it hard to accept fully.
Suddenly the conversation I had had with Chae-wee came to mind. I did not love her because of something she was excellent at. I merely loved her for being the little trickster she was. I realized once again that God loves me just as I am and not because of any good work I might do. I should trust in and believe in the love of God. I prayed that I might experience that love of God even when the unseen work I do in China does not appear to bear any significant results, and I do not feel that Jesus is in my life. When I took a good look at myself and my motivation for engaging in good work in China I could see that I often looked for a sign from Jesus.
One day as I sat alone and thought about all the people I had met in China recalling to mind each one of them. I realized that as I had met each of them I had never experienced a moment’s unhappiness. All of the people had readily accepted this rather clumsy and weak person. As I grew in that realization I was deeply moved and gave thanks for the happiness I had experienced here in China.
Due to my greed I was often hoping for other things and could not see that Jesus was always with me and loving me through the people I met every day. As I realized this I felt that I wanted to be able to return that love to the people in a concrete way.
I spent time recalling all the people I had met and started to remember their names. I remembered all those that helped me prepare for the art classes that allowed people realize that they are important people, all those that shared meals with me, all the individuals that listened to my stories, the ones I had spent time with, those that embraced me with their smiles as we held hands and all the people that prayed with me. I asked Jesus that I might continue to repay others with acts of kindness for the love that God had shown towards me.
Seo Min-ah [Mariana] is a Korean lay missionary working in China. She began working there in 2015. The article was translated by Noel Mackey.