This afternoon, I was half-sleeping on the subway
when the older man sitting next to me called out to an old woman selling gum. Sometimes people wander through the subway cars selling gum or some other little item to make money, but I rarely see anyone look up at them, much less buy what they are selling.
The gum-buying man seemed pretty gruff. When I first got on the subway, his hand was leaning on the only vacant seat in the train, and I almost thought he wasn’t going to move it for me. He suspiciously eyed the change the woman gave him and then roughly pushed her hand away when she offered to give him back another dollar, but all the gruffness in his manner couldn’t hide the fact that he had compassion for the woman.
Most people in Korea are apathetic to the poor, homeless, or crippled elderly people who wander the streets and subways, so I wondered what had made this man take pity on the woman.
My curiosity woke me from my semi-slumber.
I began to take note of the people sitting around me. Most of the people were middle-aged. Most of them were napping.
Tears started to fill my eyes.
It may sound strange, but I started imagining what revival would look like in that subway car. I imagined hope filling people’s eyes and joy brightening their faces. And I felt God say: “You are going to witness transformation here in Korea. Revival is coming, and you are going to be here to see it.”
Wow. I can’t describe how privileged I felt in that moment. I am realizing more and more that me being here has to do with so much more than just me.
As I face this transition
from life as a Fulbright scholar supported by a stipend to life as a piano teacher in Korea who still isn’t sure the best way to go about finding students, I am tempted to stress out about money. I’m tempted to start pinching pennies (even though I have sizable savings), because I don’t know when I’m going to have a real income.
But on Saturday night, during a crazy-powerful prayer meeting, God spoke to me rather clearly:
“I want to use you to influence the youth of this nation. So stop thinking that your goal is find 6 piano students.” (the number I need to make a comfortable living) “Stop calculating the fewest hours you can work to make enough money. This has nothing to do with money. This has to do with changing lives. So start asking for more influence. Don’t waste a thought on money–providing for you financially is nothing to me. And don’t be intimidated by the idea of making more money or having more influence than you ever imagined. I will give you the wisdom to steward everything I give you.”
I broke down at that point. And I prayed a crazy prayer I still can’t quite believe I prayed.
Give me the keys to the Korean youth.
My pastor has been saying that God is calling our church to influence the Korean youth mightily for months now, so in that context, my prayer doesn’t seem so crazy, even perhaps mundane. But it was crazy because I prayed it with all my heart. I was literally doubled over in the middle of worship, sobbing into my hands, asking God from the bottom of my heart to give me the keys to influence the Korean youth.
What in the world? Where did that kind of emotion and conviction about something that isn’t even directly related to me come from? I can only conclude it came from God. That prayer wasn’t just me making a request of God, it was God planting His desires directly into my heart.
Sometimes I still don’t understand why He entrusts me with these things. I am still blown away by His fondness for me. But one thing I know: He can accomplish anything He wants in and through me.