Strength from God

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.” John 9:3

Dear members and friends,

It was late at night in the fall of 1981 and I was wandering the streets of a strange city when everything changed for me. A few months earlier, my mother came to visit me at my grandparents house in the country where she had deposited me five years previously. During that time, she was entirely absent from my life. Then, she suddenly came to see me and found that I had become a country boy; dirty and malnourished. She cried for a few hours then asked me, “Do you want to live with me?” How could an 11-year-old boy who had been waiting for his mother for the past five years say no to this?

My mother brought me to the city, Gwangju, the capital of the province. But instead of taking me to her home, I was left at my mother’s aunt’s house with her children. My mother explained that she was now married to another man so I could not live with her. She stayed with me that night, but in the morning she was gone. Her aunt told me afterwards, “The man your mother is married to does not know of your existence. So, you will have to stay with us.” I did not know what to say. What made the situation even worse was my great aunt’s eldest son. Five years previously, before living with my grandparents, I had stayed with them for a few months. He was a horrible man back then and had not changed a bit. I felt betrayed, hurt and unwelcome. So, one evening I decided to leave that place and wandered the streets for hours. I had no money, and no place to go. The city at night was not only strange, but dangerous. When I found a lumber yard, I hid myself in between the piles of uncut logs. I cried to myself asking questions like, “Whose fault is this?”, “What wrong have I done to be born in this situation?” and “Why have you cursed me so much?”

At first, there was no answer to my cries. The night was simply getting colder and darker and I was cold and hungry. I felt like I could die in that place for nothing. But suddenly, I had the feeling that I deserved better than this! As if some mysterious being was pouring courage and strength into me, I felt that I could face the challenges and endure the hardship. I went back to my great aunt’s house and ate and slept. Though no one realized that I had been gone for six hours that night or knew that anything had changed, I felt very different. The next day was the same as all the previous ones, except how I perceived and lived with the challenges brought by life.

Even our worst days can be instrumental to a happy ending, but only if we are willing to find and cultivate the happiness within ourselves with strength from God.

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee