Thursday, February 25, 2016

Be Not Afraid, part two

Sung Ho Lee has been the pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church since July 2015. At the February 25th Lenten luncheon, he shared the story of how he came to become a United Methodist pastor, which is a second career for him. He also talked about overcoming fear of the future, and he used his personal story as an illustration of how a person can make big changes in his life and do so with confidence, knowing that God will always provide. 

He grew up in Seoul, South Korea. "I had a dream to be a scientist." His goal was to earn his master's degree and doctorate in the United States. He obtained a catalog from Harvard University.

"It was very intimidating," he said. He asked himself, "Can I do this?"

He wondered if he had the passion and the courage of make his boyhood dream come true. He was able to use the power of his passion to come to the United States to study chemical engineering, and he earned a PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He worked in research in Korea for several years.

Pastor Lee was able to take a second leap of faith when he attended the Drew Theological Seminary, first to become an ordained minister and then to earn his doctorate in ministry. It was a leap of faith because he had gotten married to his wife, Jung Lee, and they were raising two children. Chemical engineers are generally well-paid, and going back to school meant a reduction in income.

But, when you receive a call from God to pursue the ministry, you are willing to accept a reduction in income. Pastor Lee said that he was able to "pursue another future" because he realized that it was "God's plan for him to be a pastor." He said that he was able to follow the power of passion and take risks, he was not afraid of the future.

Fear of the future. Pastor Lee managed to overcome that with faith, passion, and courage. But what about the rest of us? Pastor Lee explained that we don't know our future, but God knows, and God has plans for us. This is where the fear comes in. Trusting God with our future is necessary but difficult because, as humans, we want to have control over our lives. We fear that our future will be hopeless and terrible. I know this because this has been a difficult area for me. What kind of future waits for me? Will it be good or will it be terrible, full of loneliness and rejection?

Only God can see into our future. We don't have anything that can accurately show us a picture of our future. Pastor Lee quoted Jeremiah 29:11, which said, "For surely, I know the plans that I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope."

A future with hope. Where there is life, there is hope. Even if we cannot see what our future will be like and we have set no goals for ourselves, God still knows. God has plans for us. We just have to trust, something that is not easy, but also not impossible.

3 comments:

Cerebrations.biz said...

A Chem E pastor...Hmm...
Interesting choices.

Alana said...

From chemical engineering to the ministry. That is quite a change in career. Good for him; many of us don't have the courage to follow our beliefs.

Alice Gerard said...

He is really something!

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