1/25/2011: The Biblical Standard for Suffering

1/25/2011: The Biblical Standard for Suffering

S: 11:38pm

E: 1:56pm

Due to my lack of preparedness on January 23, I was unprepared for guard. I woke up with just barely enough time to eat beef sausage and bread, pack necessary items, do some hygiene, dress up, and leave. I planned to wake up with barely enough time because I slept late last night so I needed as much rest as I can get before I start my 24-hour guard duty.

I then found out that today, is the last day that 3-43 has guard and it has to be me! Someone else came to us believing he had guard but according to our roster, he didn’t. I considered offering to pay him for taking my shift but the soldiers around me convinced me not to. I’m on the roster and it’s our last guard shift.

It’s not just the physical side that is hard, but the emotional and spiritual side as well. Throughout the day I was tired and I tried to take bits of rest by closing my eyes. One of the soldiers, V, would always harass me by jumping to conclusions. After living with him for almost a year, I can see that he is prideful, arrogant, but also has a good heart and intentions.

He would say, “Wake up, Yeh!” when I wasn’t really sleeping. My eyes were half-closed. I don’t like how he jumps to conclusions without knowing everything. I don’t like how he judges people, not just me but everybody else, based on the limited knowledge he knows. God knows everything; let God be the Judge.

Throughout the day, he would accuse me by making assumptions without looking at the whole evidence. When they were talking questionable sexual things in the evening, V would say, “Earmuffs Yeh!” “I don’t want to damage your innocence!” He assumes I can’t handle what they are talking about but I can. I’ve listened and interacted to their racy conversations many times while also trusting in God. There are also other times, but I forgot. He would say things to provoke me (by making untrue assumptions) and force me to defend myself. After a whole, angered, I would say, “Let God be the Judge.” I told V that he doesn’t know everything, that his accusations are not true or lack other major elements. Once when he was walking outside while opening the gate, I told him privately, “V, you need to stop trusting in yourself and start trusting in God.” I can see from almost a year’s experience that he always trusts in himself and his own strength. I was a bit afraid to tell him that but I’m trying to help him and if me saying this can change him for the better in the future, it will be worth it. He looked at me surprised and replied, “Yeh, I cannot trust in God. I have to trust in myself. If I rely on God, he’s not going to help me all the time.” I think I told him that if he chose to follow Jesus, God will help him all the time.

All the judging and false accusations from my three battle buddies made me upset. When guarding the site (and the first time I actually have live weapons), I would not talk to them. I feel angry and upset and if I do try to defend myself, they will just twist my words and accuse me again. Wisdom came to me and I realized silence is the best answer. Every time they hurt me, I would angrily pray and ask God to judge them. I also asked Him to judge me too but reminding him that I want his mercy and love rather than his justice because “no one living is righteous before you” (Psalms 143:2).

Out of anguish, I would take my pocket Bible out and read the psalms and pray and sing regardless if other soldiers noticing me. I remember a quote from C.S. Lewis saying, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

That is so true. I find that I seek God the most when I’m in pain or when life is hard. I prayed and asked God that if that’s the case, then please make my life hard so I can be with You.

Eventually, my anger would subside and I would tactfully talk to them again, knowing that I need to be like Jesus.

A serious event happened later in the night. Since I was so tired, I slept, along with another soldier (who also didn’t sleep well last night). Midnight chow came and two of the soldiers, there were four of us total, went to eat chow, leaving just V and me. While looking for traffic, I accidently dosed off and a car came. V saw it and we quickly went outside to open the gate. When I came back in the guard shack, he was very upset at me. He told me that I should not be tired, that I have plenty of sleep (while he stayed up all night), and that if I’m tired I should take a walk or pour water on my face. He also made many accusations and judgments on me that are incomplete. When I tried to tell the “truth,” he accused me of making excuses. When I told him that I really can’t stay up, that I’m really tired, he told me he doesn’t want to argue with me anymore. If I were to close my eyes again, he would force me outside the shack. I said I too, agreed with him that I don’t want to argue or make excuses. I just want to put out the truth. The truth is, I can walk outside and stay up if I have to, but the limits of my endurance have been reached. I refuse to suffer anymore. I already suffered so much physically (doing guard), emotionally (their verbal attacks and judging), and spiritually (constantly praying and asking God for help and vindication). I also told him that I’m stressed out because I have two jobs: being a soldier and serving God. He told me I need to meet the SOP (standard operating procedures) which states that I cannot sleep. I told him that the Bible is above the SOP, but the Bible does state to submit to authorities (Titus 3:1). I tried to tell him the truth. I sat back down and then went outside for some water.

Then suddenly, it hit me. I have been saying I’m sick and tired of suffering. That I hate how my life is so hard. Then I remembered what the Bible says about how much suffering is enough.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood (Hebrews 12:4  ).

I cried out to God and asked Him to forgive me. That is the Biblical standard for suffering. In my suffering, I haven’t even come close to shedding blood. I realized that I must be willing to endure and suffer so much more. I realized how weak I am. I must be willing to suffer for Jesus, not so I will lose my petty comfort, but to the point of losing blood. That is hard suffering and that is what the Bible teaches us to endure to.

I stayed outside and walked around, happy that I finally knew what the Biblical standards are. The humvee came back but I continue to stay outside. I washed my eyes with water because it was stinging me. Later, V told me to come back in but “stay awake.” I told him I prefer to be outside.

Oh, and for dinner, thanks to another soldier’s help, we got Chinese and Korean food! I got, along with my SOG (sergeant of the guard), kimchee and rice. The kimchee was very spicy, however, but I ate a lot of rice. Yummy!

After that awakening, that I need to adhere to the Biblical standard of suffering, the rest of the day improved. I did not try to find an easy way out, but I contributed and helped clean the guard area up. Today is the last day our battalion has guard duty. We have to make sure the area is presentable.

Everything went well until near the very end of our shift. That is my second serious incident. We (the guards) found out that 1-44, the battalion replacing us, were not informed of their guard duty. They were simply told they were shadowing us. That means there is a possibility that we have guard again, a 48-hour shift. All of us were upset. To make the long story short, the SOG for 1-44 decided to do the changeover (praise God) but we still had to wait for another sergeant from Echo company to be their shadow SOG. While we are waiting, I proposed many ideas. I said why not two of us take the bus and the other two take the humvee? I began to complain, internally. I thought about what to say to my relay sergeant. I need to prepare and know the approach and words so I might get tomorrow’s PT off. I really want free time. I wanted to scream, or just take off in the humvee because I was upset at our battalions lack of organization in this matter.

I also had a debate with P, another soldier and I did cry and show my tears because I wanted to change them for the better. But after much arguing, I realized what Watchman Nee wrote: “It is not a life changed but exchanged.” V and P were telling me that they believe I want everyone in this world to be like me. I told them, initially, sadly due to my defensive nature, that I didn’t. That everyone is created with an image of God and we need to “shine the light that God gave us.” I admitted, later, that I did act as if everyone should be like me and everyone else not like me is wrong, evil, etc. They accused of being a hypocrite and I did admit it. But, I told them that we all make mistakes, that we are all sinners, and that we all need Jesus.

I have been telling V throughout our guard shift that he needs to “change.” He needs to change his pride, arrogance, tenidency to judge, etc, but I realized all my efforts were in vain. Because they cannot change themselves. According to Watchman Nee, human beings cannot their evil human nature. In order to change a person, that person needs to be exchanged with Christ. I admitted my mistake to V and P and told them not to change, but to exchange your life with Jesus.

However, V told me if I am happy. After some thinking, I told them that I’m not happy (“not as happy as I should be” would be closer to the truth). Then V went on to say the reason why I’m not happy is because I’m too focused on God. That I need to put myself first (not God) and enjoy the pleasures of the world. Then, according to him, I will be happy.

Seeing these two soldiers having a serious discussion with me made me feel like I’m Christian in the Pilgrim’s Progress. I told V that I understand his viewpoint, but I feel the answer to happiness is not found there. The answer to happiness is found in letting Christ live instead of me.

Throughout the conversation, I kept mentioning Bible and they told me to stop mentioning it. Not everyone believes in the Bible, they told me. But I told them that the Bible is the bedrock of my life. P thinks the Bible is just a good teaching book, but it is more than that, it is a manual to life. That conversation eventually developed to me not using any spiritual arguments, that I can only make logical ones. That, I told them, is misleading. The human being is made up of the spirit, soul, and body. The spirit is above the soul, therefore, the spirit should be dominant. I told them there is an unseen world; a spiritual world, and that the Bible says the unseen is greater than the seen. V and P asked me again and again do I love God more or my mom? I told them that I love God more because I must love God much more than I love my mom or dad or brothers and sisters (Matthew 10:31). They told me who help me more, God or my mom. They obviously wanted me to say “my mom,” but I told them that, ultimately, God helps me much more.

Lastly, we argued that if God is omnipotent, then does God know what choices we choose beforehand? I told P no because if he does know completely beforehand, then God will not be a good god but an evil one. If God knew Eve is going to be deceived in the Garden of Eden and all mankind will suffer the penalty for sin, He would not have created us. God gave us free will to chose whether to follow Him or not. Yes, God knows us much more than anybody else, even ourselves, but he doesn’t know 100% what our next actions will be. This is where P and me disagreed and I tried to find scriptural proof, but was mostly unable to.

Psalms 139:1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

God knows our potential and what we could be if we follow God to be used by Him, but to say that he always knows every action that we will perform ahead of time is untrue. If that is true, then God may not be a good God because then he knew all the evil and suffering that will come as a result. I need to continue to grow more in God and perhaps ask for some help to find out more. That is about the extent of our discussion. I then used the latrine again and decided to sleep inside the humvee.

As I was sitting in the humvee thinking about the conversation, and how angry I am about the guard changeover and what to do about it, another thought came in, from heaven, and it told me to “give it all to God.” In my first serious incident, I learned that I need to be able to suffer and endure more, to the point of shedding blood. However, in this second event, I realized that God is in control of everything, that there is nothing I can do to change it. I must trust in God and let Him be in control. Whatever happens, I must “give it all to God.” So I began to repeat “give it all to God” over and over in my mind. Slowly, I began to feel peace. I began to feel happy and at ease. God is in control of everything. Why am I worrying? Give it all to God. I fell into a peaceful sleep.

When I woke up, I knew that I’m still in the humvee, but I’m not upset because I already gave all my angry and bitter feelings to God. I find that once I give my hurt and negative feelings to God, I feel free. I used the latrine again and decided to listen to a 睡夢鄉 (Land of Dreams) bedtime stories. I don’t know why, but I decided to listen to 好姊姊米利暗 (Good Miriam) because I felt Moses calling me. I closed my eyes and deeply listened to the children bedtime story. Listening to it made me so thankful of what God had given me. The narrator, Auntie Choi, began the story of Moses by saying the Israelites in Egypt were prosperous. Pharaoh was afraid that the Hebrew people might start an uprising so he subjected them to hard labor.

Exodus 1:10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”

11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.

12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites

13 and worked them ruthlessly.

14 They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.

However, the more the Hebrews suffered, the more prosperous they became. Hearing that gave me encouragement. It is like a God-given answer to suffering. It teaches me not to be afraid, that God is in control, and that God can use my suffering to benefit me even more. I got to the part where the counselors advised Pharaoh to kill every male child. I can hear the babies’ crying and the mother’s screaming. It felt so real and I felt so sad.

I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders. –Jewish Proverb

Then, I saw my SOG and P come and say it’s time to go. Happily, I put away my mp3 player and started to leave.

I learned so much about suffering today. One, that I need to suffer to the Biblical standard which is to the point of shedding blood, and two, to “give it all to God.”

睡夢鄉- 39 好姊姊米利暗

 

Sing and Smile and Pray by Sofia Tsatalbasidis

 

Sing the clouds away,

Night will turn to day.

If you sing and sing and sing you’ll sing the clouds away.

 

Smile the clouds away,

Night will turn to day.

If you smile and smile and smile you’ll smile the clouds away.

 

Pray the clouds away,

Pray and pray and pray.

Night will turn to day,

No matter what they say.

 

Sing and smile and pray,

That’s the only way.

If you sing and smile and pray you’ll drive the clouds away.

 

Pray the clouds away,

Sing and smile and pray.

Night will turn to day,

No matter what they say.

 

Sing and smile and pray,

Night will turn to day.

If you sing and smile and pray you’ll drive the clouds away.

 

Sing_and_Smile_Sofia_Tsatalbasidis

1/23/2011: Better than them

1/23/2011: Better than them

S: 7:47pm

E: 8:33pm

I don’t know how to start this. People read what I write and people are concerned about first impressions. It’s like I know what to write but I don’t know how to disseminate the information. This is the gift of a teacher. A teacher knows stuff but he or she has to find a way to share the information so everyone else can understand as good as the teacher. Just as I’m trying to think how my former students think and process learning information, I’m trying to think of how to approach this. I’m glad when we go to heaven, time will not be a matter, so therefore, first impressions will not matter. I can spend infinity and infinity with everybody.

I just found out what an evil and wicked person I am. Of course I know that I’m evil and everyone is evil because we are born in sin, but I am just beginning to realize the extent of my sin and uncleanness. Knowing God is not a substitute for following God. I found this out the hard way. I can read so much about God, read the Bible, pray, love, etc, etc, but if I don’t follow Him, everything will go haywire. That no matter how much we know about God, we still cannot live righteously. The way to live righteously is to pick up our cross and follow God (Matthew 10:38). Knowledge about God cannot change sinful human nature.

This is where I failed yesterday. After a frustrating day of work, I came to my room and I’m glad I can finally detress and unwind with Sunday, a free day, ahead of me. There was nobody in our tent. I laid down on my bed and temptations came to me. This is your chance, my mind told me, there is nobody here. Nobody will know. I was tempted to check pornography. But then, I remembered what I wrote yesterday about the dangers of unwinding in God or in the world. I got up my bed and decided to write a discovery about my hardship when I was trying to sleep (but can’t) on Friday night and what I learned.

After writing about half-way, I had a need to use the latrine, so I went, took a dump, and came back. However, when I came back, my flesh won over. I thought screw it, I’m just going to check and relieve myself really quick. Nobody will know. Well, God will know, but He will be the judge. I have to; I can’t help myself. So I got out of bed, closed my half-written discovery without saving, and checked porn. Granted, I had a good time but I knew that short-term gain is not worth long-term pain. After that incident, my morals went downhill. I played computer games. Adult Japanese computer games. I did not eat dinner that night because I feel so afraid. Just as Adam hid in the bush after eating the forbidden fruit, I want to hide in my room and enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. And that vicious cycle went on until today. When I realized that I’m not as good as a person I think I am.

I look at my battle buddies, fellow soldiers and they talk about sin openly. They talk about sex, girls, hate, they spread gossip, etc. They spend a lot of their time watching racy movies, some even porn movies. I know soldiers who have gigabytes of porn. I can’t believe it. They live on what feels good. I shun their behavior. I try to avoid them. I try to help them. But then, half an hour before I started writing this discovery, a realization came to my mind: That I am just as sinful, if not more sinful then they. The only thing that separates me from them is that I try to do good, that I try to follow God, that I have organized resistance against evil. I look at them and I’m glad I know and love God, that I’m not a “sinner or tax collector” (Matthew 9:11).

Matthew 9:10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.

11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)

So many times, I know I’m an evil person, I know that I sin (specifically, fall into temptation) all the time but at least I’m not that bad as them. I don’t talk about evil (much), I don’t watch porn movies, I don’t do these nasty things, but yet, I do them in the safety of my own room. I’m being like a Pharisee, too. I don’t’ do these evil things openly and I disapprove those who do and I try to help and pray for them, but yet, I myself do those things secretly. I heard from the Barnes Poll that a third of pastors check porn at least once a month. That’s shocking. Today, I discovered that knowing about God and experiencing Him is no substitute for following Him. I can know God, I can praise and say He has done wonderful things for me, but yet, if I chose not to follow Him, I am no better than a sinful and evil man. If I don’t follow God, I am no better than people living in the days of Noah.

And this is one reason why I’m so afraid and ashamed to be out with people. Because I feel so guilty and ashamed of my sins. Because I feel such a hypocrite.

Proverbs 28:1 The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

After sinning against God, there are times when I want to “flee from his presence” (Psalm 139:6), yet, as the Psalmist wrote, no matter where I go, God will still be there. I cannot run, I cannot hide, I can only repent.

1/19/2011: A Life-Changing Alternative

1/19/2011: A Life-Changing Alternative

S: 6:50pm

E: 7:10pm

Yesterday and today should be easy for me, because my NCO and squadmate had guard duty. However, it wasn’t. It wasn’t because my relationship with God is not right. I played tons of computer games and fallen into temptations and it’s hard to get back up. When I got off work today (I mostly just hang about in our office since it’s almost time to go home!), I immediately went online to search for some RPG games. After spending an hour just browsing games, I found a game, Call of Duty 2, that I think I would enjoy. The game has a WWII theme and I love WWII games. However, my credit card got denied! Hmm, that’s strange. So I went to my Wells Fargo online account and paid my current e-bill, but that should have caused the rejection. So I tried PayPal, but I forgot the password, and I remembered that if I kept on trying, it will lock me up (by experience L), so, I gave up on that. The website, Direct 2 Drive, an online gaming retailer, told me to contact customer support. Well, I’m afraid to talk to people so I rejected that idea. That leaves me with no games to play! Then, I searched for some flash games but they are all empty to me. I either played them all or it is just not fun.

It is then (now), that I decided to try a new thing. I feel so alone, so left out, and so unloved by the world. I try to worship God, I try to pray but my desire to play games overwhelmed me. But praise God, because I felt that by me being denied games, I found something more meaningful. I could go to WordPress and not only read my past blogs (I still haven’t uploaded them all) but I can read others as well. I typed in “Chronicles of Narnia” and “suffering” and found a blog post that is similar to mine. He shared about his life and the book! I read others and I felt hope. I felt hope because I found something that can really take the place of computer games. It’s like how the world relies on fossil fuels for energy and finding solar or wind power. Hehe. Well, the best form of power will be from God. When He comes, there will be no need for energy, for He (God) will be our source of energy.

Revelation 22:5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

That is what I need to do. I need to find an energy alternative to games to a more meaningful or cleaner solution in learning more about people and their walk under the sun. Reading like that will be like reading a wonderful story again, like reading the Chronicles of Narnia.

I should write more often, so I may help others with my life experience, and also to help myself too. When I get older, I will look back at what I wrote five, ten years ago and relearn and relive my life or other people’s lives. I am already reading my high school self and I’m very surprised at how much I’ve changed. For the better, of course. As long as I pick up my cross and follow Him, my story with God will become better. I am constantly changing and I hope I’m changing for the better.

11/30/2010: Back to Basic

11/30/2010: Back to Basic

 

S: 6:51pm

E: 7:07pm

 

 

Life recently, has been very hard for me. I felt like giving up. I cry. On my bed, I even contemplated suicide. However, I realized, when going to dinner chow, that no matter how hard my life may be, it will never be as hard as basic training.

 

The drill sergeants got it right. By making the entry of Army life for a soldier hard as hell, that drill sergeant is actually teaching the soldier to be prepared for anything. And for me, that anything includes hardship, suffering, both from my body and by people around me. I can still remember vividly my many experiences in basic and a lot of soldiers can remember it too. One of the topics we talk about in guard duty is our experiences in basic training. The hardest part of my life, and I guess the hardest part of anyone’s life has to be in basic.

 

I suffered so much, I got made fun of so much, I got cursed at, misunderstood, misjudged, cussed at, tormented, got tired, but with all that, I also had God. And it was God who helped me through it. Every spare time I had is spent sleeping or reading the book of Psalms. “I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’” (Psalms 91:2). “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalms 91:1). “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalms 32:7). “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalms 118:6).

 

Now that life has gotten harder, I should not give up. I should not wish I have more free time. What I really want is a life where I can worship and give glory to God continually. Of course, I cannot do that. I need to be strong, to be humble, and to wait on the Lord. I need to pretend that my life right now is like basic training although it is a lot easier. I need to serve God and love people. I need to have a basic mentality.

11/29/2010: Free-writing

11/29/2010: Free-writing

S: 7:38am

E: 8:21am

I love journal writing or writing on my discovery because I get to free-write. I love free writing because I get to put my thoughts out. It doesn’t have to make sense; it just has to make sense to God :) .

Well, actually, it’s quite hard to free write when I’m also trying to defecate. Heh, but it’s okay, what matters is that I do my best to worship God.

This world is so messed up now. I can sense it every day and it seems to be getting stronger. I can feel more hate when passing people. I still try to say “hi!” or “good to see you.” They can hate but I will love because love comes from God.

It’s sad that when times are hard, people tend to be meaner to each other. They love others less while they love themselves more. When times are good, if you say “hi” to them, most likely they will say “hi” back. Now, if I say “hi” to them, they just ignore me. I can sense the increased amount of stress. I think this is what distinguishes Christians and non-Christians. When times are hard, Christians tend to rely more on God and seek spiritual help from other Christians. They become more loving, happy, patient, peaceful, because these heavenly gifts comes from God. Non-Christians, however, transfer the love they had for people back to themselves. They become more selfish, more self-centered, meaner, and they do more evil things. When a disaster comes, Christians tend to help people while non-Christians tend to destroy people. And yes, there are good people outside of Christianity too, but that is self-righteousness. The Bible says there is no one good but God alone (Mark 10:18). The good things that we do come from the flesh and since they come from the flesh, they are like “filthy rags” to God (Isaiah 64:6). The flesh can do both good and evil but because it is also capable of evil, the flesh is hostile to God (Romans 8:5-7). His standard is perfection (Matthew 5:48). Only our spirit, through God’s Holy Spirit is acceptable to Him because it is completely good. We can only worship God in spirit and in truth.

Okay, I finally took a dump! Mission accomplished! Heh. I remember while I was still on the say, I thought of the verse:

James 1:15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

I need to be careful. It’s not what I want; it’s what God wants. I think I thought of this because to me, taking a dump is like giving birth. It’s not easy and once the movements come, I have to go! I can’t just give birth any time I want.

I remember my mom also has this problem. Sometimes, she would say, “Praise God, I was finally able to drop a big one!” or “Aaah, I feel so good now, now that I took a dump.” I would be surprised that she said it but, now, it makes sense. Once I feel what others feel, it makes sense.

I think the ability to pray to God is such a wonderful gift. When this world gives me the hates, I can always talk to God in prayer. I know that God is the ultimate judge and power comes from Him. I feel peace in the midst of chaos because I can always talk to God about my thoughts and troubles. Anxiety

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

I will always pray, pray, when things go wrong till in your heart rings heaven’s song, the loving God, His voice will hear come back to Him he’s always near.

Communication with people is important, but communication with God is more important. Everything that has to do with God is always more important because God is always important. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and He created us.

There is still so much I want to write such as the “trial-and-error” logic. Human reasoning is very flawed because there is always something that humans don’t know. On the other hand, God’s Word is always correct because God knows everything. One reason why I love free-writing is because it also allows me to a preparatory phase before writing a paper on a topic. Maybe that’s what I’m going to do! When I get an essay assignment from English class, instead of using outlines, and drafts, I will just write about it. Free-write. Then, I can reread and harvest the gems to put on my essay, after some organization. To beat an essay I will write about it. To win a war, like what Winston Churchill did, he just talked about it!

23 Jan 2010

23 Jan 2010
12:35pm

I need to stop reacting negatively when people treat me inferiorly. I need to submit to God and let Him be the judge. We are all inferior to God. The Bible says there is no one who does good. People are trying to think they are part of the “elite” class, they try to rely on their own strength and smarts. Their strength is limited, but if I trust in God, my strength will be unlimited. With a donkey’s jawbone, I can make donkeys of them. Amen. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Amen.

25 Jan 2010
12:45pm

These days are hard for me. It’s hard to do both God’s work and man’s work at the same time. I get tired; I don’t get enough rest. During the work day, of course I do the best I can. The Bible says pretend I’m not working for man but working for God. I always try to volunteer, try to be useful, but it’s tough. Few days ago, I was so discouraged that I prayed that the girl I love could send me a message. I don’t care how. Either by e-mail, phone call, etc. Everyday, I feel God gives me just enough. Just like basic training. It was awful. I would hate to go back to that time. When I came back to my room, I found that my internet is down! I later found out that the friend I’m using the internet from, is ETSing (leaving) tomorrow. I knew about that, but I didn’t know it was that soon. So, I’m stuck without internet, and have to rely occasionally from my friends or bike to a CeeZee café. It’s okay, cause I’m still pumping out music videos for God. I have a lot to do and not so much time.

I feel writing more is wasting time, but I’m going to the range next week to qualify for my weapon (M16). I shot sharpshooter in basic. I was very surprised that I shot sharpshooter. In basic, I suck at everything lol. It’s awful. I feel all someone needs is a cocky attitude towards me and he wins. The drill sergeants were so surprised that I shot a sharpshooter that they thought my babysitter shot the targets for me. He was pissed off too, because he didn’t pass and he denied that he was helping me. Who wants to help me anyways? Only God can help me. So we took the qualifying test again and I got sharpshooter again. My babysitter passed this time; he got a marksman. When I was shooting, I knew I have to shoot by faith. I was wearing two glasses: my normal civilian glasses and my eye protection. Due to that, I can’t see clearly. The eye pro presses against my eye brows which causes sweat to drip down my glasses. It gets even worse to see through the tiny sight picture. To make matters worse, I still have some double vision, despite my surgery when I was a child. My eyes now just LOOK normal. I get a little nervous every time I go to get my eyes checked. I prayed that the doctor won’t notice my double vision and so far, they haven’t. My whole military life teaches me that I can’t trust or depend on my own strength. I would be dead by now. I have to rely on God. I was born 3 months premature. I would have died, but  no, God saved me.

I also feel everyday is a life-threatening day for me. God saved my life everyday. I need to be happy when I’m weak because when I’m weak, then I’m strong.

12/13/09

12/13/09

S: 9:36pm
E: 10:20pm

It’s over. It is so fucking over. My life has now come to an end. I checked on google (I didn’t dare go on my facebook again, it’s not the Steven Yeh anymore) for Endora. And guess what I found? On her profile picture, is a picture of her boyfriend. I don’t dare look at it again. I thought maybe it’s someone else since the message mentioned Japan. But when I checked the friends and saw one of my church members, I know this is it. No, I don’t want to be jealous and I am not jealous. I’m just very angry at my abilities and my current life situation and the way I was trained and brought up. My whole life has been prepared for failure. It is one big collosal failure. I can’t deal with people anymore. I don’t want to talk to anyone anymore unless I have to. In that case, my logical mask takes over. I can’t wait for the day of my death. I will see my parents, fake a urgent visit, and then die. I can’t wait. I just have to die. To die. The love of my life. And I just checked Dorcas’ too. Although it isn’t very obvious that she has a boyfriend, I saw her prom pictures. I think.. she probably has a boyfriend. Of course. The girls I love are spiritually high-class girls. I will have no chance. Or maybe not spiritually, but I’ll say smart, with a little bit of Jesus inside. Sigh. It’s okay. It’s alright. Endora is taken. Dorcas is probably also taken. I don’t want to find out because the probability is too low. I will just assume Dorcas is taken. Okay, so both girls are taken. Okay. Okay. I guess I will depart from this world then. This world really has nothing for me. I can’t stand living in this world. It’s just too difficult, too hard, too much suffering and shame for me. My life isn’t trained to be anything but a loser in society. Heh, what my dad feared has come true. His attempts to help me failed because he didn’t trust in God. And now, I am reaping the fruits of it. Ok.

I will still love God, because he still died on the cross for me. But I know that my life is too hopeless, too painful, too shameful to live on. I’m tired of failing God, tired of sinning against God, tired of having to fight against my weak flesh (both morally and physically), tired of being socially inapt, tired of everything, tired of wasting my time on fuitle things, on worldly things, tired of fear, tired of everything! My flesh is too strong. My spirit is too weak. I have no social support, none of the friends that I care about loves and cares about me. Endora is gone. Dorcas is gone. Canaan moved on. Jack Li is gone. Charles Song moved on. Wilson Chien is gone. Michael Bryan is gone (he moved). Wayne Lai is gone (I betrayed him). Heh, everyone is gone. I can’t live on anymore. I refuse to live in this painful, fuiltie world. I refuse to live with my strong flesh and weak spirit and willpower. I am overstressed, overburdened, overtroubled, and I have to deal with them by myself. Other people will probably think I am too high to maintain. Yes, by worldly standards, I am. But, by Godly standards, I’m not. God made me, he knows everything about me. To love people and to love God, no. To love God first and then to love people is the sole duty of man. Everything else comes second, or maybe last.

I want to say fuck everyone in this world. Fuck all my aquentises. Fuck those…. Well, the biggest blame and the biggest fuck would have to be me. Fuck me. I’m a loser and I always will be. Things happen to me, I don’t really make things happen. ANd if I try, it always fails. ANd when I try not to fail, I give up and choose to follow God.

I did not have sex in high school twice because I refuse to have my body sin against God.
If I were a nurse, I will make my patient list my “prayer list.”
If I were a teacher, I will teach my students something more permant: eternalty.
If I were a soldier, I will sling my rifle on my back and read the Bible. I will trust in God, with my expression of obidence.
If I were a ruler, I would have my people know the ways of the Lord, for it is in Christ that makes us free. And once He comes, I will surrender all my power and all my crowns to him. I will choose to be the lowest of all His servants if it needs be.

I am tired of writing what ifs. They won’t happen and will never happen. I am just going to live a lonely loser life for the rest of my days. It’s not a suicide, its an escape. An escape from this harsh world and my weak self.

ANd I hate comeptetion. Why do people try to best one another. And once they win, they subely brag and are proud. Why can’t those who are strong pretend they are weak and help those who are weak? And those who are weak be humble? For we are all weak before God. He is in heaven and I am here on earth. This world really is unlivable for me. Sure it has food, water, oxygen. But what it needs most is love. FOr it is love that God created the heavens and the Earth. It is out of love that he made us so we might be able to fellowship with HIm in a new heaven and a new earth. It is love that made Him die on the cross so we might live. More than oxygen I need your love. More than live-giving food, the hungry dream of. Yes, more than anything, I need His love. I need His love right now.

It’s just so painful to have such a weak spirit and a weak body (both, of course).

I hate those who think they are the best and know everything. I even hate those who are proud in their own eyes. But I think my biggest pet peeves is those who are right in their own eyes and they think that they follow God. Only those who I personally talk to and know can fall in this catogery. If it’s possible, I would gladly associate, live, help those who are much worse off than me. But I can’t.

I had a dream, and I wrote this before, about going to Xinjing, the western-most part of China. I want to be a missionary there, telling them about Jesus and the love of God. Heh, I’m glad it was only a dream. Because I have no chance. There is no hope for me. It seems that people are just too evil to truly love God and to love people. And yes, I am just too weak to live in this world. I don’t want to live to do evil, no, if that’s the case, I would rather not be born. I cannot to evil, I will not give Satan a foothold. I will either serve God or die. I will not serve myself, this world, or Satan. There is only one God in heaven that I will serve.

Many times, I asked God if he can just change back the hands of time. God could do it, because he created time. He is omipotent. But, I am only appointed to live and die once. My request goes against His Word. So… I guess I am just going to die. It is too hopeless to live. Just thinking about what I could have been if other people helped me is depressing and hopeless enough.

Nothing I write is worth anything. Because people only care and listen to those who are rich, have influence, etc. Heck, they don’t even listen to the Words of Jesus. Why would they listen to me?

You know, there are times when I wish I had some magical powers, to balance the unfairness I have been given in my life. I wish I can fly. I wish I can, with a stroke of my hand, cause fire and quakes. Heh.

Life is what happens to you when you are young, and from that path, what can you do about it? Every young people in this world needs to be taught the path to escape from sin and sorrow. To escape from death. To trust in God. To love God and to love people. That is the path of true happiness.

I write too much now. Heh, that’s cause I hardly write at all these days. It’s just too painful and too much suffering to write. But here are my words, my speech, and my thoughts.

I can’t wait and I look forward to that sweet refrain!

10/2/2009: My Story as a Soldier / The Weakest Link

10/2/2009

The Weakest Link

I injured my left thumb last week during basketball PT so I shouldn’t be typing. Now, a week later, my thumb is still swollen with bruises. I went to the TMC (troop medical center) and got my hand X-rayed. The doctor told me I had no broken bones and that my thumb should heal within a few weeks. Praise God, because God delivers the righteous, not one of my bones will be broken (Ps).

As I sat in the van, I thanked my relay sergeant for giving me a ride to the aid station. Once there, I will get my thumb double-checked. He told me no problem, because I am one of the best soldiers in the platoon. He told me I always volunteer for details and always help out. I got a brigade coin a few months ago because my whole battery nominated me. That was scary. And today, the sergeant major of the battalion talked to me and told me I must be saving lots of money, since I hardly go out. I also shook hands with him. That was also scary. Normally, when you do talk to him, it is because you are in trouble. Everyone in the battalion fears him. This whole “best soldier” thing is scaring me. I’m never the best; I’m always the weakest, not because I want to be, but because I am.

During basic training, I was so physically weak that I almost got kicked out. The six hours of sleep allotted is enough for everyone but me. I was tired all the time that I cannot think. I was forced and bent under peer pressure to say and do things I don’t want to do. Any spare time I have is divided between reading the Bible, singing songs, and trying to close my eyes. I had trouble listening and remembering what my drill sergeants are saying, and thus, I had to have a “babysitter” to be with me at all times. Praise God, because he was very helpful and kind. Having no experience in mechanical things (my dad even fixes my bike tires for me), I was slow to learn almost everything in the Army. There is hardly any book learning, everything is hands-on. I had difficulty communicating, thanks to a combination of shuddering, nervousness, and fatigue, learning, and performing Army standards. I almost always fall out of platoon runs, first to tire on upper-body exercises, and I usually forget even how to do exercises. I got constipated, fever, and injured my feet. The only thing I wanted during BCT was rest, but I hardly got any. I had to resort to something similar to psychological warfare. I had to pretend I’m as stupid as I’m weak so I could be treated better. I had to endure verbal taunting daily and I only have one or two soldiers I can call friends. It sucks. I see other soldiers, other people, and they are all so strong and blessed. 4 hours of sleep doesn’t faze them; they still laugh and joke all day long (see Ps. 73). However, despite all this, I refuse to quit, because doing so would be so shameful, and I also refuse to let this torture training harden by life. I managed to pass my PT test during basic, barely, but to me, that was a big praise God and I graduated with an award as the most improved soldier. I hardly feel improved, I just relied on God. If I were to go through BCT again, I would probably be the same. Everyone in basic knew I was the weakest link, second only to the battalion.

AIT (advanced individual training) was a easier on the physical side, but it’s still almost the same environment. Although we do get a little more sleep, I still feel tired. I couldn’t pay attention in class (we are learning patriot stuff) and I struggled to stay awake. The one time I chose to sleep, I woke up with a sergeant (add a drill before it too) up my face. I never slept since. But praise God, I still managed to pass my tests. I hardly volunteer in BCT or AIT simply because I am so weak and tired. I want to, but I can’t. I ran on “low-power” mode the whole time. There are times when I wished I could just die, yes, die. There are times when I just wanted to fall out of formation and just lie down and cry. Pray and cry. Everyone would probably surround and scream at me, but I will just ignore them. I would just pray and pray. Then they would probably punch me and hit my pressure points, but I will still ignore them and pray. Towards the end of AIT, my class went to the field. Some fun in the sun, right? Nope. Although I almost finished my training, I felt I hardly learned a thing. If I was told to emplace or operate any equipment (except computers, even patriot computers, simply because I love computers), I would have no clue. My whole time in the field was a struggle. Even when it’s time to rest, there are always surprise attacks which forces us to grab our rifles, and wearing combat gear (I always sleep in them), rush outside to the nearest sandbag. There was a time when we got smoked (punished) doing this because we aren’t “motivated” enough. I still don’t understand this motivation concept. I would prefer to tell the truth and trust in God. I hate to pretend to be all sappy and gung-ho just so others can see, while I feel the opposite inside. For our smoking, we had to run from our tent to the sandbags over and over again. For some reason, I was again the weakest link. I was trying to do my best, but everyone, even the fatter ones (sorry), run faster than me. I don’t understand this. It seems like everyone is better and stronger than me. They learn faster, and are quicker than me. I feel so stupid, dull, and weak. Completely useless. Again, I had to pretend I’m about to fall out, so they could let me drink water, while everyone else is still getting smoked. Justice is simply not fair in AIT. You could get blown up for just a little thing. My squad leader told our class to mop and wax our rooms. To me, it isn’t easy. Even getting the equipment to wax the floors is hard. I tried, I did the best I could, but due to my fatigue, and my roommate is getting chaptered out, so he can’t help me, I didn’t make the deadline. Then there was a time when I was playing my guitar singing Christian songs right before weapons draw. I just had to pray, I had to sing praises to God, I have to have some devotion time with him before I continue my job. I thought I was on time, but because I didn’t come early like everyone else (they were all looking for me), I got hammered. At first, I thought I might receive some mercy from the sergeant doing the weapons draw, since he was a deacon so I thought he would understand my needs and grant me mercy. Instead, he was merciless and made me write a thousand word essay. That wasn’t too bad, since in basic, I had to do a three-thousand one, but add that to my squad leader’s demands to wax the floors, and I’m done. Then, the one day I forgot to bring my ID card (forgot due to shower), our battery had a urinalysis. Everyone is required to bring one, so I got in trouble again. These three strikes led my squad leader to give me an Article 15 (the mother of all punishments), on top of all the punishments I am getting. Oh, and by the way, my weekends suck too. Since I wasn’t strong enough (it’s sad that the military looks at the legs of a horse rather than at the heart), I was only given an Amber 1800 pass, which means I only have a few hours of free time rather than a whole days worth. Wow, so article 15 for three incidents. I was scared and depressed. I missed her last deadline to wax the floors because I was having diarrhea, but I can’t really use that as a reason. Everything I say will be taken as an “excuse.” Shortly after that, I had a fever. I am condemned, because all these charges on paper are true. But you know what? I still managed to graduate with my class, and I heard later that my article 15 was canceled. I was just about to do something desperate if that wasn’t taken off. Having an article 15 means either having extra duty, which means even more work and less sleep, or they take away my pay, or both. I would rather have them take away my pay; money means nothing to me at that stage. Praise God, that I called to him, and he answered me. He is surely my mediator.

It was not until when I got to my unit that I finally learned to be longsuffering, to endure, to be patient. Before I learned this, I tend to respond much more rashly and without much wisdom. Now, I finally learned to endure pain, suffering, and shame. Of course my capacity is still limited, but God always finds a way for me. It seems when I was just about to do something desperate, things change. Even the times when I get angry at life and God, when I choose to sin, he still loves me and still protects me. Of course, I am still weak. Weak physically and mentally (I’m a slow learner), but with God, I can survive.

I apologize for any English mistakes in my writing, since I wrote all this in about an hour. And I wrote this at night, since I am best at night. I wrote many notes on facebook that I deleted, and some talked about my experiences during BCT and the Army. I’m still thinking about re-posting it, or re-deleting it, since it’s so embarrassing. But I’m writing this so others can know more about me, if they want to know, that is, and also because the truth will set me free.

I also know that there are people who will embarrass or reject me. That is the reason why Facebook was so discouraging to me, then again, I don’t feel like talking to my old friends, so why should they? Be prepared, I am not going on facebook for another few weeks due to this note.

I also talked to my education counselor recently. I hope I can get in Mid-America Christian University with a major in Christian Ministries and also one in math. I was so happy to find a university that offers both Bible studies and math and a university that is part of the military agreement. I failed college once, but now, I am getting another chance. This time, I am not under law (admission requirements, GPA, etc), but under grace (simply being in the Army).

PS: I wrote this a long time ago and I feel it’s missing a few parts. When I have the time, I will go back and revise it. God bless you!