Seek First His Kingdom : Dan Hong
Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Although what was requested was a testimony, this may sound more of an incoherent reflection directed from my honest, raw thoughts. In fact, I am not going to lie to you and say that God moves me greatly as He moves the ocean waves, nor say that I have placed my full efforts on doing the work of God and not on other selfish endeavors. I am not going to lie to you that God has a firm place in my heart and that my once hardened heart beats new. None of that is true. My heart has hardened and to be honest, it has hardened more than ever. I was inspired to write my own testimony by reading all the powerful, moving ones by my fellow brothers and sisters at Grace, yet I simply cannot relate right now. I know I am lost, but the worst part is, I can hardly feel it because of all that is going on right now.
This is not coming from nowhere. I was born into the church like many Korean-Americans and grew up under parents who are loving but also legitimately clueless about the new millennial generation we live in. These days, religion seems second class, under our secular emphasis on individual merit and success in a technologically driven world. Specifically, we now live in a world of endless indulgences/pleasures and gratification is only a tap away on a smartphone. It’s so easy to step away from God when there are so many diversions to temporarily fill in the void in our hearts that only Jesus Christ can truly fill.
But through all these distractions, God has shown Himself in beautiful ways I cannot describe. At times, I feel so lucky to be in a loving Christian family, live under a roof, and have the resources to receive top-notch education; yet I cannot find myself to be humbled under God’s grace. I am stuck and in a lukewarm lake of sin, clueless about my current identity and aspirations with God and unfortunately, I am okay with it right now. Okay with mediocrity.
People assume that once you’ve made it to medical school – the apex of one’s hard work for many individuals – the rest is given. People assume that you’ll automatically soon become some great doctor whom God has called upon to spread health and wellness among the sick and weak. Of course, that would be great, but it also comes with unforeseen obstacles, and it’s not so cut and dry. It’s like going through a dark tunnel and reaching for the light but there are bumps that you cannot predict within the path.
Being a medical student has been the biggest challenge for me so far. I feel like I’m still grappling between still acting like a kid and tackling adulting while simultaneously drinking out of a fire hydrant of endless knowledge. Juggling all this overwhelming work, going to church, and trying to seek God through volunteering and service just becomes too strenuous at times, and many times I resort heavily to those instant worldly pleasures/indulgences for comfort and distraction. To top it off, trying to keep up to date with friends and maintaining what currently seems to be a minimally committed relationship with my girlfriend further exacerbates my position.
I even went to Stand Up Winter Retreat, which focused on a topic I was desperately trying to figure out: self-identity. It was hard to receive a spiritual revival because even during this vulnerable time I had to leave midway for school. Frustrating as it is, it feels like my window of opportunities to encounter God are closing. I know my goal is to become a child of God and spread the Good News to those I help heal but I find myself made up of so many bad and shameful qualities now that only seem to be separating me further from God through this journey. With all this, it’s hard to see myself with God at the end through enduring such troubles.
But one day, I heard a sermon about making time for God, even if you feel like there’s none and you’re preoccupied with so many objectives and temptations in life. It opened my eyes to something new and exciting. One special but basic verse in the passage stood out to me: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). I know this concept is easy to understand, but so difficult for many like me who are distracted and preoccupied. I pray for myself and my brothers and sisters who are lost within the turbulence to seek God first above all, because if you trust in the Lord, everything else will fall in place and will make sense. Instead of waiting for God to come to you at your lowest point, try seeking Him within your daily struggles and you may see new light even before reaching the end of the tunnel.