In 2012, I was in a crossroad.
I finished paying off all my students loans and I just quit the most depressing job I’ve ever had.
I had been teaching bible study for over 2 years.
I just didn’t know what to do next with my life.
Moreover, I had so many intellectual questions (or so I thought they were) I was asking God about.
I questioned and complained about many things that I didn’t understand.
They messed up my brain enough that I thought I would have more faith if only God answered them.
And so my quest for answers began.
After I quit my job, I decided to go on a personal mission trip to the Philippines for 4 months. I was on a mission, not only to serve but to seek. I volunteered at different groups, churches, and organizations every 2 weeks.
In the Philippines, I was invited to help facilitate a small group in a Christian youth camp. My role was to lead devotions and to explain further what the speakers talked about. I also mentored and counseled the boys in my group. It was a responsibility that I was already used to since I’ve been teaching Bible study in Maryland. I was so comfortable encouraging them and teaching them.
As I got to our room one night, I noticed one of the boys in my group sleeping in a fetal position. He looked like he was cold without a blanket on. I fixed my bed and got my blanket out. It was a bit cold so I wrapped myself in my blanket and tried to go to sleep. The boy coughed and it sounded deep and horrible.
I looked at him.
For a few seconds, I contemplated whether I would give him my blanket and just put my sweater on. I reasoned that I needed the blanket since I was sick. I was at the tail end of recovering from the flu at that time. I told myself that if he coughed again, maybe I might give my blanket.
In the midst of all these contemplation, one of the boys in my group got down from his bunk bed and gave his own blanket to the boy.
Then I heard a voice in my head, “what about compassion?” I realized right away that I was very slow when it came to compassion and loving other people. Here I was trying to teach these boys about how the gospel changes us to be like Jesus and I was hanging on to my dear blanket.
At that moment, I realized I was asking all the wrong questions. I don’t even remember the intellectual questions I used to ask God. He answered my question with a question. He must have chuckled at my questions.
I’ve learned a few things that night. Maybe it’s by loving other people that I will find the answer to my questions. Maybe it’s when I love people in spite of who they are that I will gain the experience to understand life. Or just maybe, I need to accept that some questions will never be answered until I see him again and so it’s a waste of time to dwell on them. Maybe what I ought to be asking right now is “what about compassion?”