I now think that the Bible is a parenting guide of what to expect with your children. In Exodus 16, God must find a way to please the grumbling Israelites. Apparently, they are not happy that they are free from the clutches of Egypt. They are now in the wilderness, and they do not like what they are eating. They wished that they were back in Egypt eating meat from bowls in the ground. So as unreasonable as the Israelites may sound, God is gracious and gives them enough food for the day, and evening.
But some Israelites did not heed the commands of God to not take more food than what is needed for the day. Basically, don’t try to save food for the next day, because the next day there will be more food. So, when the Israelites tried to “save” the food. They find out the next day that it is covered in maggots and has a bad odor.
Like my children, who don’t heed my commands, they had fallen into the personalities of the Israelites in Exodus 16. They are unhappy with the breakfast that was provided for them yesterday. So, I had to ask them what they want. I get some odd requests. Norah wants to have cereal but with no milk. And Ben wants to have milk in a cereal bowl but no cereal. Together, they would have proper cereal. Ok, whatever makes them happy, I guess!
Throughout the day it is constantly hearing the grumbles of my children how there is nothing to eat and that they are hungry. Anything we try to make, they are unsatisfied. But finally, found food that they are willing to eat. Noodles, and a ton of them. But I tell them that not to bring the food into the living room. They must finish the food at the dining room table. Eat until you are full, and don’t worry about the rest. Just don’t try to save it, which my son has a habit in doing, by hiding food in an unknown location and eat later. But I tell them don’t do that! These were my commands. They failed to follow the instructions.
So, food was brought into the living room, food was left in places hidden from my eyes when cleaning up for the evening. And low and behold, what has appeared in the morning? Ants. An army of ants. Nice.
So, yeah… the Bible may not give you all the answers to raise children, but it sure will let you know what you can expect from raising children. I will start calling Ben and Norah, the Tribe of Benjamin and Norah (they are now one entity). Now I am looking in the Bible how God got rid of the maggots in Exodus 16, which is nowhere to be found. I think God’s solution was for the Israelites to continue wandering in the wilderness, just keep moving locations to get away from the maggots. Well, I can’t move into a different house, but I will take the kids out into the wilderness (outside) and let them wander. I just hope they don’t think anything they find on the ground is food from heaven. I’ll worry about the ants when we return from the wilderness. This is the day the Lord has made…. Lol…
Last week at on Sunday at church we talked about Jesus healing a demon possessed man, who went by the name Legion. At service I focused on how this man named himself and defined himself as “legion” for he had many demons inside of him. He defined himself through his ailment, disease, possession. Which is heartbreaking. Your ailments, stress, disorder, possession, shortcomings in life are not what should define you! Your name, it is your identity, it is the name that God calls you by to come to His fold. We should remember that! There is nothing or nobody that can tell you who you are! You have a name, it is your own, given to you by your parents, who God calls you by.
But this passage is so rich with other life learning lessons. One in particular is that fact that the name once named “Legion” is a person who walks among the dead. In the story, Legion is found near tombs of the dead, in the shadows, in darkness, totally isolated from other people.
It reminds me about that life we have right now and how we live that life. Do you find yourself in “tombs” living among the dead? OR do you find yourself living life to the fullest, without regrets, without shame, without burden? Well the truth is most of you might find yourself a bit in between the living among the dead and living joyfully.
But what is important to me is the choices we make when life doesn’t seem as go lucky and cheerful. Those moments that you do find yourself wandering in the tombs, walking among the dead. We have a choice. We can mope around and be one of the dead, buried in the tomb. Choose to be immobile, powerless, and frightened. Or we can choose in the moments of darkness, to rise above the challenging experiences. We can believe and hope that living life is more important than a life just waiting to die.
As Christian we are called out of the tomb to live again, each day and every morning. We are called to look forward to the day and hope for tomorrow. No longer do we live as if our past haunts us and those burdens of regret bury us. Our chains are broken, and we are called by Christ to be guides for the people we may meet. We are not the dead living amongst the living, but we are called to live life abundantly through God.
Puzzles are supposed to be challenging and fun. As a matter of fact we bought a few puzzles during the time of the pandemic and it was fun doing it all together as a family time and time again. They are inexpensive, but provide nice breaks in the day and also great to do it with family. We had a lot of laughs trying to get the puzzle look like the picture on the box.
But there are puzzles out there that can be quite discouraging. For example. The picture above is the puzzle we bought through amazon. Look at how tiny these pieces are! Holy buckets! They are so tiny! This is a 350 piece puzzle that each piece is less than one inch across. It took my wife less than 10 seconds to realize that this is not what she wants to do on her day off. And I quickly followed her lead because I do not want to do this by myself. This puzzle offers more challenges than fun!
But I guess sometimes life offers more challenges than fun. And sometimes we gotta know when the challenges are not worth the torture. It’s time to let it go. But I do believe that every challenge has its reward, but at the same time I do think that each challenge is given to us to the specific person or certain times.
But don’t ever get discouraged in life when you feel the challenge is too much. It is ok to let it go! It doesn’t ever mean you are good enough or smart enough or strong enough. It just means the challenge was not meant for you!
That being said… does anyone out there want a 350 piece puzzle divided that is smaller than the tip your pinky finger? Please let me know. The picture is really cute. It is of three very cute puppies. God bless everyone and God be with he person that wants to take this challenge on!
So, a few nights ago, after I put the kids to sleep. It feels awfully too quiet. So out of curiosity I went upstairs to check on them. Norah, not quite asleep, but a little wiggly, Ben normally should be asleep is not. Lying on his back in the bed, with his arms up in front of his face. Cute and weird kid, but whatever. However, I noticed that there was something glistening from his middle finger. I could tell because of the ridiculously bright night light he keeps on while he sleeps. I could see this long, dangly, shimmering slime hanging on his finger about to fall on his face. It was a long piece of snot, that he was… I dunno..... enjoying?
I immediately said to him, “What are you doing?” He doesn’t respond but proceeded to want to wipe the goo on his shirt, which I promptly stopped and told him to wash his hands and go to sleep. I really have no clue what he was trying to do, why he was doing it, and what was he thinking. I will probably never know. But it made me realize that I find myself, asking my children, “what-are-you-doing” question a ton. It is quite common that I use this question every day, multiple of times.
Then I think about if that is what God is saying to us, every day multiple times. God must look be looking at us, and wondering, “What are you doing?”
And many times, we leave God speechless, and without any sort of response. Just think about it. God has a different perspective than us just as a parent has a different perspective than their children. So anything we do, especially when our lives seem to go off the rails, God must be asking us, “What are you doing?” It’s funny because God knows more than us. God can see every possibility of the choices we can make in our life. And ever though God is doing His best to steer us in the least harmful, least stressful, and most beneficial path, sometimes we go in a different direction, leaving God scratching His head and asking us, “What are you doing?”
Just remember when you feel your life is going off the rails, God is still there with you. And even if the process of getting back on the rails is slow and possibly painful, it might just be the path that God needs you to be to grow and mature into the being that He intended you to be. And even if you miss a turn that God needed you to take, have no fear because God is there to redirect you back on the right path. Never, think that all your struggles will last forever, they never do. Just be patient, trust in God, trust in His guidance.
Even though God may see us as mere children, lying in our beds with a long booger dangling from our fingers, ready to fall on our face, God still loves us! God may be confused in what we do what we do, and why we do it, but just like a loving parent, He is going to redirect us; telling us to wash your hands, and get some rest. Tomorrow will be another day that will be full of surprises, both good and bad. Life is long, so be patient, and live as if you have something to hope for, because life can be wonderful, fun, and full of clarity.
So, the internet has been down all day and night at the home and church. Which is annoying since I do a lot of work using the internet to get Bible commentaries, theological journals, blogs, and just any ideas that I need to prepare for Sunday worship. But it’s not bad, luckily, I do have a ton of books and commentaries I can use at the church, it just takes a bit more time, but also totally not a big deal. However, what is a big deal is the fact that most of the internet usage in the house and possibly at the church is for entertainment for the kids. I know that sound horrible, that the internet takes care of the kids. But I need that in order to get most of my work done with little distractions from the little ones. Especially when Eunkyung is working 12 hour shifts at the hospital.
So, I pretty much lost my babysitter for the entire day. And the entire day I was dreading what to do with the kids without the internet entertaining them! I was seriously nervous picking up Ben and Norah after school thinking, I don’t know what to do when they played with the toys, role playing, playing shopping, and whatever idea they have in their big heads!
As usual, the kids come home and they immediately told me they are bored, right when they entered the door. My nightmare is coming true! I asked them to play with their hundreds of toys, but they didn’t want to. (makes me wonder why I bought all those dang little toys when they get bored with them overnight. So, I said lets play in the backyard? Nope… not that either. Then I said, what if we went fishing? And they first said no because they were tired of catching the same ol’ bluegills and green sunfish or trout. So I asked them what if we tried something different. What is you tried to use artificial baits, like daddy and try to see if you can catch a largemouth bass. They seemed to like the challenge. And I told them that if they can beat me in numbers of fish caught, I would buy them whatever they want for dinner and get them a new toy.
Game on. I took them to the tough and pressured Canoe Creek. I set them both up with a hook and plastic worm, and instructed them, to make a cast parallel to the bank, pointing out noticeable drop-offs. They went to work, and so did I. I figured I should win this easily. Canoe Creek can humble you. You may not catch 10 bass like in other places, but I know the tricks to conquering Canoe Creek. So I thought! Norah amazingly struck first blood. I looked back at her and I see her pulling on her fishing pole straight up with the fishing pole bent over. She was reeling frantically. I dropped my stuff and starting running towards her. I held her pole so she can reel up the line as fast as she can. However, the fish gave a nice little jump and spit the hook out. But she was totally hooked in getting a second chance. I encouraged her to do exactly what she did the first time. She worked this plastic worm like a pro. Making long casts and just working it slowly back to her. Letting it settle at the bottom, waiting ten seconds, and then twitching the rod very slightly, then reeling the slack line. Soon enough she got her second chance. She saw her line jump and she reeled until her line was tight and set the hook on the fish as if she was the great pro bass fisherman, Jimmy Houston. This time the fish didn’t get away. She reeled it in and got a nice 1.5 lb largemouth bass. She immediately casts in the same area a few more times and then hooks into another. She muscled it in towards the bank, and it was bigger than her last one. 1.75lb largie. We spent about two hours, and she got 2 largemouth bass and I ended up with one, and mine probably was only about a pound, not worth weighing. I took the loss that day. But I am glad I lost to my 7 year old daughter. Even Ben got a couple of bites, but we were too late in setting the hook.
Best fish story so far! I am so thankful that the internet was down. I was however, hoping that the internet would be up and running when we came home, but no luck! I complained to Judy Pursley and the kids reminded me that I lost today and that I owe them dinner and a prize. So it was McDonalds and Taco Bell and some sort of weird little toys that will probably lose it’s meaning tomorrow or will get lost in the house or end up lodged in my foot when I stumble downstairs in the middle of the night trying to get a glass of water.
But the point is when the world gives you lemons, make lemonade. Yesterday, Norah and Ben learned how to fish using artificial lures and conquered Canoe Creek State Park, not to mention catch more fish and bigger fish than daddy. I am so dang proud of them. I am happy that God shut down the boring internet and gave us this day.
But seriously… breeze-line internet service, if you are reading this, I need the internet tomorrow… for real! And God if you care about what will happen in worship this upcoming Sunday, lets get this internet to work. Maybe God is telling me to go to the local library to finish my work. Also God, next time I go fishing with the kids, let me win, I’m way to competitive when it comes to fishing, that’s really the only thing that I can have a big ego over!
**I wrote this article last week, that was when I was having internet troubles, all is good now**
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).