Certain Hope in Uncertain Times

Any kind of life that grows in the desert is due to a seed that found a crack in the dried ground. It falls deep into the crevasse of cracked ground to find some water hidden from the surface… We too must go deep in these “dry” times.

Life’s Surprises

I met my wife Sonya at 18, and we dated for four years. When I  got accepted into seminary in California, I knew I had to leave her behind in London, Ontario. If we loved one another, it would all work out somehow. The thought of marriage at the age of 22 was not even a consideration.

We were too young, and besides, our parents would never approve.

Then, one day, when I was working at Sonya’s dry cleaner in the early afternoon, her father called me to the back of the store. At this point of our relationship, conversations were still few and far between, but there were now occasional smiles. I knew they felt comfortable with me, for I had worked at their store for nearly four years, for free.

He then asked me a startling question: “Do you love my daughter?”

Sheepishly, I said yes; it was an odd question to ask out of the blue. He looked straight into my eyes, as though to gauge whether or not I was telling the truth. He finally seemed satisfied that he had found what he’d been looking for. He then said something that I could never have expected in my wildest dreams.

“Why don’t you and Sonya get married?”

It wasn’t a question nor a request, but more a command. He sounded so sure that getting married was the right thing to do. He added, “Everything will be okay. I’ll help you, so take my daughter with you to California. Get married.” He then took down his church calendar (Korean churches love to get custom calendars made every year), circled the date September 3, and said, “September 3rd, that’s a Saturday. It’s a good date.” Just like that, we were married on September 3, 1994, and a week later, we left for Pasadena, California. Our lives changed in what seemed like an instant.

Life is full of surprises.

My father passed away suddenly on August 9, 2019. It was a curveball I didn’t anticipate. One moment we were having dinner for my wife’s birthday, and then a month and a half later, he had lost 40 pounds. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in the first week of July and passed away 4 and ½ weeks later. I am left now to take care of my mother who relied on him for everything. She lives in a senior’s community of elderly Korean immigrants. She seemed to be adjusting to her new circumstances, and then the pandemic invaded the world. My mother lost her husband, and a few months later, she was locked down in a senior’s community unable to leave the premises. These kinds of sudden events are certainly unwelcome.

Times like these seem more like a never-ending desert road rather than a momentary valley we quickly traverse.

Time goes by so slow when things are not going well. These kinds of seasons can slowly evaporate all residue of hope if we are not intentional about setting our gaze on Him who holds the future. We go where we look!

Faithful is His name

In the Old Testament scriptures, God reveals to Moses that His name is Yahweh. The name is translated, “I Am who I Am.” No name is worthy of defining Him. There is a mystery to Him that cannot be denied. But beyond that, I remember my favorite Old Testament professor in seminary explaining to us the deeper Hebrew understanding of God’s name: Yahweh. That this name can also be loosely translated to mean, “I will be whom I will be: I will be whom I will be to you as I was to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

God wants us to know that He is faithful. He is faithful to keep His promises to us because He loves us. He is our father; it is His very nature to preserve us and keep us in His will. He is for us!

He wants the world to know that the sum total of our lives will be a witness to His loving faithfulness.

He may not tell us everything, and we may not know what surprises lay ahead. But we can rest assured that it will all turn out for our good somehow.

So we praise Him for the surprises of life. Good and bad. He is Yahweh! He is faithful even when we are faithless. It’s in His name, His very character. He cannot help but be faithful to His children. So in difficult seasons, we hold onto His name. We hide deep in the crevice of His heart. Holding onto Him tightly.

Go deep

Any kind of life that grows in the desert is due to a seed that found a crack in the dried ground. It falls deep into the crevasse of cracked ground to find some water hidden from the surface. It is in these times of desert, times of trials, obstacles, boredom, where nothing seems to be going right and it is void of life, that one goes deep into one’s soul to find hope that defies outside circumstances. Like a seed that falls through the crack in the lifeless earth to find living water. We too must go deep in these “dry” times, to find hope, vision, and belief in an orchestrator that is conducting our lives for the good of us and the world. For without such hope, we will die of thirst during these desert seasons, helplessly hopeless.

“Know therefore that the LORD (YAHWEH) your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His covenant of loving devotion for a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.” 

Deuteronomy 7: 9

Steven Hyun Wook Kim is an Instructor of Leadership at TWU Richmond. Born Seoul, South Korea, Steven immigrated to Canada and grew up in Toronto, Ontario. He has also lived in London, Ontario and in Pasadena, California. Currently, he resides in Vancouver, British Columbia.