Two Perspectives

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“Repeat after me. ‘Ruh-now.’


After a month and a half of Mandarin classes, I was accustomed to the drill. When Lu LaoShr introduced new vocabulary words, we were to repeat them before learning what we’d said. 


“Ruh-now,” I recited, thankful this one didn’t include that tongue twisting “jrz” sound. 


Using only Chinese words I already knew, Lu LaoShr began explaining the new adjective. 


“You go to the park for a picnic. It is a holiday. Many others are also in the park. You say that today the park is very ‘ruh-now.’


I drew a blank, so she tried another angle:


“You are at the market on a weekend. Many people are also shopping. You could say that the market is very ‘ruh-now.’


I must have still looked confused.


“You are at a party. It is very crowded and noisy. You would say that the party is very ‘ruh-now.’ So what does this mean? What is ‘ruh-now?’  Teacher Lu asked.


“Um…,” I stalled. “It describes situations that are crowded and noisy, right?”


“Yes, yes,” she nodded vigorously and smiling broadly. “Make a sentence using the word, ‘ruh-now’. 


Feeling fairly confident, I remembered the church pot luck we had experienced the day before. 


“Yesterday, at church, we had a ‘love feast’ (the literal English translation for a Chinese meal of believers). It was very ‘ruh-now.’” 


I should have stopped there. Lu LaoShr was obviously impressed at my comprehension. And to top it off, I had even managed some decent grammar. 


However, I never seem to quit while I’m ahead. I always seem to stick my foot in my mouth and culture shock wasn’t helping. I’d had it the day before with lack of personal space. So with no better judgement I added, “And it was not fun.” 


From her reaction, I knew I didn’t get the concept after all. 


Now “ruh-now” does describe a lively, rowdy gathering. And to most Chinese, this as an exciting and desirable place to be. I just didn’t particularly see it that way. My definition of “ruh-now” seemed very different from everyone else on the island. 


God says: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are My ways your ways.” (Isaiah 55:8)


As we begin to see things from His perspective, we realize that there is always more to our circumstance than our comfort.


Could it be that….


The selfish individual that so annoys us has been placed in our lives to show us our own selfishness? (Matthew 7:3-5)


The financial stress that has driven us to our knees is actually an answer to prayer to “know His strength”? (Philippians 4:11-13)


The suffering that we currently endure is the best antidote for the habitual sin that holds us firm? (1 Peter 4:1)



Give me a Spirit’s-eye view of my circumstance. You’ve promised that you do nothing unless You reveal to us Your secret counsel. (Amos 3:7) Show me Your perspective on this issue that worries me so. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.