Saturday, October 24, 2015

Refining Fire

“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” Job 23:10
I’ll admit it. Coming back to Los Angeles after a year of traveling has not been easy. Somewhere in the middle I ceased to know where home was anymore, because Los Angeles became no longer home, but a rest stop for me to gather my life back as much as I can, and run off in another direction.
In Counterfeit Gods Tim Keller wisely states “You don't realize God is all you need until God is all you have.” I would like to add an asterisk that it’s not so much what I don't have, but the hurt over what God has taken away. Technically, I still have a lot compared to some; but I am brought to my knees when, in one week God stripped away my stability, future dreams, international community, a healthy relationship, and quality of life. I returned to an arid Los Angeles a little shattered and frantic to piece a different me back together. In these moments how can I do anything but to cling onto the fact that my identity is not dependent on my talent, success, wealth, or love life? How can I, when situations are out of my control and God (unfortunately) insists on reminding me that when everything else falls apart, He remains faithful? And He is.
These days, knowing that Jesus (not me,) gives me strength for every new day, is the only thing that makes me brave enough to face anything. Paul says in 2 Corinthians: 
“He said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 
In tough periods such as this, being thankful is the best way for me to witness how God continues to provide for me. I have amazing roommates, international friends who constantly encourage me, incredible friends in LA who care for me, and landed a few animation gigs that I could not have gotten on my own. And perhaps the best part is that in my brokenness God is still teaching me to love others by highlighting the beauty in every person I see. Through Jesus I am retaining my capacity to love, find joy, and be at peace. Never once did I ever walk alone.
It’s been a tough transition to jump from paradise into a wilderness. As reflected in my excessive Facebook posts, summer 2015 was a brilliant star that burned in me a passion for life and expression. Upon landing in LAX, autumn announced itself as a painful season of change that threatened to quench whatever flame was ignited in the summer. Yet I’m beginning to understand that God is bringing me through a different sort of fire. In sports people have a saying that “pain is weakness leaving the body.” Likewise, the Bible often refers to God as a metalworker: "I will... refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are my people'; and they will say 'The Lord is my God.'" Perhaps it’s God’s strange sense of humor after all, that my surname is AU- the chemical symbol for gold.
I’ve still got a lot of fight in me, because I know God is faithful.