Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Walk in the Snow – a personal reflection

As a subtropical islander, I’m, surprisingly, quite familiar with snow. I was in my primary school age when I saw snow for the first time visiting Beijing, and I saw snow few more times when visiting other regions in China after that. Later, I went to school in Seattle, for the two winters I was there it snowed. I love snow, it’s beautiful and calming. But for the past 10 years, I wasn’t able to see snow. Up until last weekend, when we went up to the mountain for the retreat, I finally saw snow again. And this time, snow meant quite differently to me than before.

Back in a while ago, I did a DNA test which traces my ancestry. I’ve already known that I look slightly different from most of my peers in Taiwan, I have lighter color of hair, and I have weird genetic traits. My paternal side of family has always been talking about how my grandmother was a Mongolian, and I wanted to find out if it is true. It turns out, according to the DNA test, indeed, I’m not pure Han. I’m 21.4% Yakut – not Mongolian. But what the hack is Yakut? I have never heard about such ethnicity group before.

Yakuts were hunters originated in the Lake Baikal region in Russia, and later, they migrated to the region around the Arctic Circle under the pressure of the rising Mongols. And for some reason, a group of them migrated again southbound across their origination into China, and finally, settled down in Henan, China. That is where my great-grandparents and grandparents were from.

Walking in the snow during a snowstorm is how I tried to relate to my Yakut side of ancestry. Perhaps it was with that 21.4% of my Yakut inheritance, I have the nature of a good hunter – I aim well and I have good reflex. During the walk, I tried to feel what it feels to hunt in a world that is covered with snow, what it feels to look desperately for a place to rest, and what it feels to live in the Frigid Zone.

In my solitude, I heard nothing but the sound of the wind and the landing of the snow. I was the first one to set my footprints on parts of the hiking trail in the woods. As I was walking, I began to think, what if the rising of Mongols wasn’t the only reason that Yakuts migrated. What if the force of Mongols was just a means by which the sovereign God pushes Yakuts to migrate? My existence and the way I am relied on their migrations.  If the Yakuts had not migrated from Lake Baikal to the Arctic Circle, and from there to Henan, would the gospel reach to my great-grand and grandparents? If my grandparents had not migrated from Henan to Taiwan, would there be me? If I had not gone to Seattle, and gone on vacation in San Francisco, would I be a Christian? If I had not gone back to Taiwan, I may not come to Southern California, let alone this walk in the snow.

It seems to me that it’s through those pushes and pulls at human will that God continues His work of creation, even the creation of me. Isn’t it the same with the story of the Israelites? There was a time I became so despaired with prayer, because my prayers had not been fulfilled. It seems cruel for God to put and keep the wants and needs in me if He never planned to fulfill them. But what if it’s through these wants and needs that He’s continuing His work of creation through me? What if the point is not the fulfillment of my prayers, but the creation of an unseen future? Rather than anticipating my prayers being fulfilled, now I wait in anticipation for the creation that God is to work out through these pushes and pulls in my life.

“13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)

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