God has made humans as open beings. Humans continue to grow and mature. This is the secret of life. Life is born. A birthed life grows up. Look at how children grow up. It is amazing to see how they grow in their intellects, emotions, and spirits. When children grow up to be a certain age, they begin to keep secrets. Secrets, the book written by Paul Tournier, is a book that every parent with children should read. In his book, he says that a child begins to keep a secret when he or she grows up to be a certain age, but this is an evidence of one’s growth. He says that it is a sign that a child is growing to be a personal being who is able to keep a secret.
A few days ago, my 5-year-old granddaughter came into my room and asked for chocolate. So I gave it to her and she ate it before she had her meal. And she asked me to keep it as a secret. She was asking me to keep a secret from her mom that she ate the chocolate before the meal. I became nervous as I kept my granddaughter’s secret, because it is a fearful thing to keep someone else’s secret. My granddaughter and I now have a relationship that shares a secret together.
On the one hand, I was a little worried about sharing a secret with my granddaughter but on the other hand, I was happy. It’s because I know that my granddaughter is now grown enough to keep a secret. To keep a secret means to have self-consciousness. Having an ability to know that she has a secret to keep signifies my granddaughter’s significant growth. Of course keeping a secret shouldn’t be about manipulating lies or concealing wrong doings. I am currently committing a great sin of unveiling a secret that I am sharing with my granddaughter to all who are reading this letter. I ask you to please keep the secret that I share with my granddaughter as an eternal secret. I ask you for your help to keep the trusting relationship that I have with my second granddaughter.
Life not only grows up but also matures. In addition, it surpasses the stage of maturation and reaches to the stage of consummation. That is when a fruit is borne. And the seeds contained in the fruit produce even lives. After coming to believe God, I was able to overcome fatalism. Fatalism sees humans as closed beings. Fatalism is a belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable. It is to see everything as fate or destiny (Pal-Jah in Korean). Fate speaks of a person’s fortune for one’s whole life. This is why those who do not believe in Jesus go to a fortuneteller to find out their destiny (Sa Ju Pal Jah: Four Pillars of Destiny). Our nation has been a slave to Four Pillars of Destiny. We say that we have to live in such way because it is our destiny. Whenever something happens to life, we blame it on our destiny.
Christianity stands against fatalism. The Bible tells us that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). When we believe Jesus, we receive a new spirit, dream a new dream, and enter into a new future. Anyone who believes in Jesus can be changed. To believe in Jesus means to receive the gospel. To receive the gospel means to receive the blessings. The blessings of God signify the flow of God’s life. When we receive the blessings of God, amazing transformation happens. When I was growing up as a son of a poor needleworker, I was enslaved to fatalism. I was so poor and miserable. There was no future for me. I couldn’t dream of going to college. Among my relatives, there were only few who were able to graduate from college. My father’s hometown is the same as that of Sedol Lee, a professional Go player. Sedol Lee had attended Bigeum Middle School. The place where my father was born is Bigeumdo. Bigeumdo is a very small island. During that time, for anyone from Bigeumdo to go to college was like a miracle. This is my background, but I encountered Jesus. Jesus allowed me to embrace new dream. My life was completely changed after encountering Jesus.
Jesus helps everyone who believes to dream new dreams through the Holy Spirit. Mary Magdalene had seven demons in her. During that time, she was completely rejected by the community. However, after encountering Jesus, Mary Magdalene was completely changed. She received Jesus’ love and became a beloved disciple of Jesus. She became a first witness to Jesus’ resurrection. It is never too late to dream a new dream. Do not give up because your situation is difficult. It is not over till it’s over. Dream new dreams in Christ every day. I pray that you’ll create a new future through a new dream.
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.