Rhythm of Life
Rhythm of Life
I am a son of a peasant who used to live in my native land, Cambodia. After Cambodia fell in chaos condition I was coerced away from my parents and siblings to join in the army who was commanded to attack their own people without reason which I would not agree with.
At that time the political drive of the society forced people to serve its immense misery and demands though I did not like to do it. I was not only physically forced to serve but also mentally and nobody could share ideas or to listen to other opinion. The oppression was increased from one generation to the next. The youth in my generation [1971-1973], who were around 20 years old was forced to leave families. Their human right was taken away from protecting their own freedom. Especially there was distrust among the people and even within the family.
New law and regulation forced the young people not even to forgive their own parents if there was a mistake. After serving under the unjustness of the new government; I was hurt mentally and consciously. Sometimes, I followed the command as I liked to do it, but I actually pretended to like it.
Another regime arrived through the rescue of a neighbor country. War also continued and left my family with a new religion. My family used to observe Buddhism and later changed to follow Brahmanism. It seemed as if there was no own native religion. Khmer nation changed from a democracy to an uncivilized society. There is not a genuine national army, or no real national devotee, but only a compulsory army and animosity among their own people. Everyone is enemy. The similar condition exists till today. There is no Khmer hero. The national army from one generation to the next was also forced to serve. They all became victims of the new government. There is no monument of the genuine Khmer heroes for the next generation to remember. In opposite, those who have sacrificed their lives in war were accused from either side. There was no justice, freedom, and mercy for them at all. Neighbor countries watched and laughed and just waited to take over the country.
Nowadays Khmer people still live in an ancient system which existed two thousand years ago. One tyrant king was overthrown, next one was installed. Whoever is the head of family is the heir and inherits the power. All properties and riches is given to him or her and they own them as their personal belongings. The suffering and slavery of my family living in Cambodia right now still exists. What they experienced in the past prompts them to live out today. In comparison: gold usually valued as 10 K, now seems to be only valued as if 1 K, because generosity, moral conduct and good manner are not important anymore for the present generation and many Khmer people care not to observe these aspects of life.
In Angkor Era, there is Angkor Wat (a magnificent temple) which represented a great nation, now people are careless of the greatness which was built by our Khmer conquerors because it is meaningless for them in the present time. They dig, break, and steal, whatever they can find to sell it for their daily living.
Some of the survivors from that grand horror and agony are rescued and set aside by the Creator, who is God of all things and all races. He calls His children and people to come to Him in His time to receive His gift of the Holy Spirit. His love, honesty, justice, salvation, and mercy that were lifted up in the refugee camps softened the hearts of those who listened and obeyed His word. They thoughtfully surrendered to Him through the conviction of the Holy Spirit to obey and to follow, leading to their arrival in Canada. This was made possible through the honest servants of God from today St. Thomas, First Christian Reformed Church.
Later I really knew that my family and I were sponsored to leave from refugee camp though we owned no personal belongings to come to Canada. We owned no piece of land. My family consisted of four living souls, father, mother, and two sons. But God planned a great plan for us to lack nothing. At first there was a challenge of how to live here. We did not know anyone or have any friend who came from the same horrifying place and nation, but in opposite, we began to know better people who are like our parents. As a Buddhist, I could not find any other Buddhist who has a heart like a Christian. I am a son of peasant who had never dreamed to have a car but God gave me cars. I used to think that only those who are rich and smart could get education in the third country, but God also had a plan for me too.
Why I was a Buddhist is because I just followed my ancestor. I was ashamed after I found out I could not find a good Buddhist like a good Christian. The goodness I found could not be made by human power, but by God only. That goodness is to the glory of God, through this congregation in this church. They have shown us how to lift up God’s name through which His prominent salvation is freely given. Any religion that does not practice like Christian could not find salvation through Christ. And also there is no salvation through human work because the salvation is given through God’s grace for those whom God has selected.
From my daily living and for the future, I believe that God already did have a plan for my family. I pray for my family - may God forgive us and keep us in Him. He has chosen us and may we live under his wings, justice, perfection, mercy, love, and kindness forever and ever. Amen!
May the God of kindness always be the great Rock where my family finds refuge! May we always remember the words of 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” NIV
I believe that whatever I have today is God’s plan for my family. May my God be praised everyday as he governs us from the beginning till the end! With a heartfelt love given by the gracious God
San Sok and family
For our Thanksgiving service the congregation was encouraged to offer a concert of prayer in the form of laments, which expressed the burdens of our hearts, and then to contrast that with a confession of hope and faith. As we reflected on these laments it was painfully obvious that we are a broken people but with an incredible gift of faith. The following are some of the songs of lament that were submitted.
Lord, my heart cries out…. That we would not panic when times of uncertainty happen.
But…… we know you are sovereign and will help us to find comfort in knowing that you will always accompany us through trying times.
Lord, my heart cries out…. For our church family. It seems everything comes hard for us. Even our Renewal Journey has road blocks.
But…… we are confident that God watches over each one of us and regardless of outcome His will is being fulfilled and His love for us is constant.
Lord, my heart cries out…. Against racial violence, discrimination and oppression.
But…… I remember that there is no Greek or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. All are one in Christ Jesus, and you Lord, care for us all.
Lord, my heart cries out…. For refugees and displaced people in parts of the world where thousands flee their homes and fear for their lives.
But…… God is our shelter and an ever present help in times of trial. May his presence be evident in the places of brokenness and fear, and may His love shine.
Lord, my heart cries out…. For the prevalence of evil in the world.
But…… we know you are in control of all things.
Lord, my heart cries out…. when children don’t get along and make family holidays stressful.
But…… I trust in your faithfulness and in your promises to love and restore. Help me pray faithfully.
Lord, my heart cries out…. For days of strength and no more tears, for healing and purpose: for truth and justice.
But…… I know and believe that you know all things and see all things. You want me to rest and trust in you alone, for you hold all things in the palm of your hand.
Lord, my heart cries out…. there is so much destruction in the world, fires, floods, earthquakes and hurricanes. There is so much greed, a seeking after wealth, possessions and please.
But…… you Lord, allowed Israel to suffer in Egypt before freeing them. Help us to see that you wanted to get “Egypt” out of Israel, and in the same way you want to get the world out of us, so that we can be free to serve you. Help us love you as you love us.
Lord, my heart cries out…. For someone who lived alone because illness distanced him from people.
But…… I know he was always your child. And you held him in your care and loved him. Thank you Lord!
Lord, my heart cries out…. For places of natural disaster which leads to human suffering and lack of food.
But…… You lord, provide even in disaster areas. We have more than we need and we can help in Jesus name. “For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 107:1b
Lord, my heart cries out…. For all of my sinfulness.
But…… Jesus paid it all! He served the Father perfectly. He came to serve us and to free us from all our sin. He will come back as King, restore his children, and he has done away with sin. We will live forever with him, our Triune God; as holy children, to the glory of God.
Lord, my heart cries out…. For those who do not know the Lord and who suffer illness, loneliness and separation.
But…… then I call to mind and therefore I have hope, for you Lord are steadfast and your love never ceases. Great is His faithfulness. For he gives freely the gift of salvation to us who were once lost. Receive and give thanks for His great gift of mercy which is full and free.
Lord, my heart cries out…. For broken families, uninvolved parents and latch key children who are hurting deeply and don’t even know it because it has become normal.
But…… Jesus came to be with you so that you would never be completely disconnected or alone. He came to save. He died to set you free and give new life.
Even those who are full of life and enthusiasm hurt inside if not for themselves; for others. God gives some the gift of mercy, some the gift of intercessory prayer, some the gift of care. God allows burdens to fall on our hearts so that we will recognize his blessings and also opportunities to reach out to those who are in need. We are the body of Christ in this world today and it is through burdens that we feel God’s heart lamenting too and though our responses, we are the hands of God reaching out. And our success is to the Glory of Him who loves us.
Psalm 13:1-6 – How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer me, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me. (NIV)
A few months ago, I left Soroti, Uganda — my home and mission field — to have an eight-day vacation with my parents in Ireland. Arriving at the airport, I could barely grab my bags off the luggage carousel because I was experiencing two major pulmonary embolisms. From there, I spent five days in the hospital, and then, I had to spend six weeks in Ireland, waiting for my body, lungs, and heart to heal and be safe enough to fly again. During follow-up doctor visits, it was discovered that I have further medical issues, so my insurance company flew me to my other home — Canada — to undergo surgery. I am now, unexpectedly, away from Uganda for eleven weeks, and this adventure is far from over.
The medical journey has been long, tearful, painful, and full of questions. The unexpected absence from Uganda has meant just letting go and trusting other people to pay bills or step up to fill ministry opportunities.
And yet, I know that God is good. The Lord has a plan for my life. He desires me to have this time of rest. I have seen His hand at work, as many people have been praying or helping me to communicate with others at a distance, and doctors have had miraculous openings to get proper medical care faster.
All of us have times of lament — sorrow, grief, pain, struggles, enemies, and loss — but we still need to praise God through those storms.
Lamentation is a powerful, and meaningful, form of worship because it places our love for God above even the worst of circumstances in our life. … God does not ask us to deny the existence of our suffering. He does want us to collect it, stand in those things and make Him an offering. The Holy Spirit, our Comforter, helps us to do this: He aligns Himself with our will and says, "I will help you to will to worship God." The glory of the majesty of God is that He helps us will and do. – Graham Cooke
Thanking God honestly and worshipping Him intimately during a time of suffering is difficult, but we must choose to recognize the majesty of God at work in our lives. He is a God Who desires to comfort, heal, and bring peace.
In church the other day, the pastor gave us all an assignment, and I would love you to do the homework as well. First, offer your lament to God, and then, share your moments of thanks or glory to God:
Lord, my heart cries out…
Prayer: Almighty Father, we know that sometimes, life can be overwhelming and super-challenging. Forgive us for failing to see You in the hard times. Help us to trust in You through the good and the bad. Lord, fill us with Your peace and comfort, because we all desire to sing, "It is well with my soul", to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.
My curiosity was aroused recently when I heard the Bible reading referred to as a Bible “passage.” Why do we use the word passage in that context?
So it was off to the dictionary to check it out. For all their dull reputations, dictionaries can be fascinating places to do historical digs, finding archaic meanings and clues about words, their ancestors and their cousins.
A hall with many doors is a passageway. Or you can book passage on a ship as part of undertaking a journey to faraway places. You can use “passage” when describing a short section in a book or in music, because it has the ability to transport you to other places. A Bible passage can invite you to adventurous living.
When I was a child, I used to love houses, their nooks and crannies, attics and libraries. Even now, a historic or model home beckons me to explore. In a good study Bible, the footnotes open tunnels to other passages in the Bible, and so much more to investigate. The Bible is a key that opens up doors to places in Old Testament times, it’s a pass that admits us backstage in the story of Job, it’s a ticket to Paul’s hazardous missionary journeys. In its mirrored rooms, we glimpse our own soul. In heavenly places the door swings briefly open and we see the awesome glory of God in his splendid throne room.
And the best part of all of this is that God wants us to experience it, to seek and find Him. We can be at home in His house, as big as all creation. So take that Bible passage, open that door, set off on that amazing journey!
I am very thankful to be writing about yet another mission trip.