Monday, January 26, 2015

Soccer, Garlic, and Acupuncture

Yesterday afternoon we played soccer in a nearby hospital parking lot. We have found that it's the best open space available, and it usually works pretty well except when our bouncy ball rolls under a bus or an ambulance and we have to put the game on pause to maneuver it out.

We played a fairly intense game, and I was reminded once again that coordination is not my strength. I can picture in my mind exactly how I want to control the ball skillfully past my opponents, with a perfectly placed pass to one of my teammates or a quick shot right into the goal. But unfortunately my feet are not nearly as speedy or as coordinated as I wish they were. Despite my best attempts, my opponents (Charly, Jordan, and David) seemed to keep getting the ball away from me, intercepting my passes, and blocking the goals I tried to score.

As you might imagine, my teammate Joshua could handle the ball much better than me (and even Daniel ended up scoring a goal when the ball accidentally bounced off his chest), so our team won the game. And our only injury was when Joshua's chest got slammed into the rear view mirror of a bus when he and Charly were both aggressively trying to take possession of the ball. I said if anyone needed stitches we couldn't be in a better place than right there at the hospital. But fortunately there was no blood.

After the game, we walked to one of our favorite spots for dinner. While we were waiting for our food to arrive, Daniel asked if he could eat the garlic that was there on the table. He peeled a large clove by himself and put the whole thing in his mouth. All eyes were on him as he chewed. At first he casually shrugged his shoulders and told us “I'm not crying.” But as he continued to chew, his already flushed cheeks turned an even darker shade of red. His eyes widened and filled to the brim. He grabbed his water bottle and took huge gulps. We couldn't help but laugh at his reaction. When he finally set the water bottle down on the table, he let out a dramatic “Whew!” and managed to laugh a little bit with us.

Last month Joshua made his debut on Chinese TV. It was a documentary on an area called Ping liang in Gansu province, and as a Western explorer who got sick, he was taken to a local hospital for an acupuncture treatment. This is the link if you want to watch a one minute clip. 

They had to re-shoot this scene multiple times because Joshua's face didn't have a painful enough expression when the needles were going in. (I think he must get his high tolerance for pain from his grandfather.)

How do we react to the things that happen to us?

My feet don't react in the coordinated way I want them to when I'm playing soccer.
Daniel tries to be tough, but reacts strongly to eating garlic.
Joshua has to “fake it” in order to show a reaction to pain that doesn't feel like much to him.

How does God react to us?

He says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

The Creator of the universe is both bigger than our finite minds can comprehend and available/eager to listen to each one of His precious created ones. Awesomely huge. And at the same time approachable. His desire is for us to know Him, to love Him, and to follow Him with our whole hearts. He even wants to share His own heart with us. Isn't that amazing? To tell us great and unsearchable things we do not know.

How do we react to God's invitation to call out to Him?

How do we respond to His answer?

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