Eugene Cho

a difficult week

This past week was incredibly emotional and difficult.  The life of a pastor and shepherd is such that in some form or another, you go through the ups and downs – not only of your life but the lives of the men, women, and children you have the privilege calling “the body of Christ.”

In these recent days:

  • One of our community group leader’s mother past away.  She lived a long life but nevertheless emotional.
  • One of our pastor’s grandfather passed away.
  • One of our congregant’s cousin – at the age of 29 – passed away in a car accident.
  • One of our congregant’s father passed away.  Thankfully, she and her husband moved back to the East Coast this past month and was able to spend couple weeks with him before his passing.
  • The expectant couple [who I’ve blogged about before] had a difficult turn of events.  This past week, she again lost much of her amniotic fluid and was rushed to the emergency room.  I’m thankful I had an opportunity to spend some time with them at the hospital yesterday.  Things appear precarious as doctors expected the baby to arrive “any hour” since she was several cm dilated [she is only 23 weeks into her pregnancy].  Fortunately, the baby’s still inside her womb and needs to stay in for at least couple more weeks.
  • And then, last night…incredibly painful news as I heard the news of a young man at Quest  [recent college graduate] who lost his father yesterday in a tragic accident.  According to the Bellingham Herald:

A 59-year-old Glacier man died Friday after apparently falling off a cliff near the Mount Baker Ski Area.

Robert K. Lee was found unresponsive at the base of the cliff near Chair 1 by members of Mount Baker Ski Patrol at around 2 p.m., Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Doug Chadwick said. He was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Deputies examined footprints in the snow and believe that Lee was searching for skis at the top of the cliff when he fell, Chadwick said. It appears he was alone at the time.

Chadwick said the area where Lee fell is separated from the ski area by two rope barriers and signs advising of the danger of cliffs.

JL’s former college pastor in Bellingham remembers Mr. Lee who was a missionary in Thailand.  Deep condolences to JL and his family. 

My temptation is to want to “fix” things. I can’t fix them.  I can just be present to come alongside these moments of deep pain and questioning.  While it may not always soothe the immediate pain, our source of hope and meaning is in knowing that God through his son Jesus Christ ultimate has fixed things.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:36-39

Filed under: christianity, religion

5 Responses

  1. Dan Price says:

    Eugene,
    I’m a co-pastor with Noel Heikkinen at Riverview in Michigan, and I’m sorry to hear about all the loss. I feel the same way many times. I wish I could fix things for people, but that’s not my job and it’s not usually going to get “fixed” like we think it should.
    Hang in there. Praying for you this morning.

  2. Randall says:

    When I heard about JL’s father this past Friday, it was from others in our Cgroup. We’re all still kind of shocked and aren’t sure what to do or how to help apart from praying and voicing support through a card that was being passed around at last night’s Christmas party.

    To be honest, I’ve never really liked Christmas (the kitsch and the way everyone turns into retail animals) and this has made a difficult Christmas even harder but Advent is lovely because we are reminded to “rejoice, rejoice, Emanuel has come to thee, o Israel” (and to the rest of the world) and in his birth here on earth we are reminded (as you reminded us last week) that God left the splendor of heaven to commune with us on this dark planet. Because he loves us that much.

    No, we can’t fix things but you know, even though Christ could have fixed everything while he was here, he somehow saw that it was more important to just be here with us for a while. And maybe that’s a message for us – that being there (which is something we can do) is as important as miracle fixes (which we can’t).

  3. Jeff Mangum says:

    Eugene, my heart goes out to you and your church. Amazing how pain and suffering has this beautiful refining process…yet how painful that pain really is. Keep journeying through my friend.

  4. Mrs.K. says:

    Something else from Romans: Romans 5:3-5 “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

    Pastor, you are dearly loved by God. I have greatly enjoyed getting to know you and your church through the internet, even though I’m sixteen hours away in BC. I grew up south of Seattle, so I feel a kindred spirit in some of your musings (the ones relating to Seattle…they make me miss it). Thanks for keeping up God’s work.

  5. […] service, I was surprised to run into JL and his mother.  I wrote a brief blog entry about them and the tragic loss of JL’s father.  They had trekked down all the way from Bellingham…with the hopes…of worshipping and […]

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One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Window seat. For the win. As leaders, we must not see ministry and family as competing commitments.  We must not sacrifice our marriage and kids for the sake of "ministry." How can we? Loving our families IS ministry & good leadership.

And on a side note, we took this goofy photo for Mother's Day last Sunday at @seattlequest. I was shocked! What in the world happened to our kids? Our 13 year old son blocked four of my shots on the basketball court yesterday. He's since been grounded... I fear that we ask God to move mountains, forgetting that God also wants to move us.

In fact, it's possible that we are that mountain. Time flies. The eldest is wrapping up her 1st year in college and the college tours have begun for the 2nd child. The youngest enters high school in the Fall. Can't say enough about how proud Minhee and I are of the kids - not just of their accomplishments but the people they are and are becoming.

But...man...we can't wait to party it up when we're emptynesters. Party at our house. It's going to be epic. Humbled. Grateful. Mindful of God's grace and faithfulness in my life. It's all grace... It's an unexpected honor to be invited back - even with some mini-drama - to @princetonseminary to receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award - exactly 25 years after starting my journey there as a student in 1992. Wow.

Princeton isn't necessarily for everyone. And to say that I loved everything about my experience would be misleading but it was very formative. Ir challenged me to examine why I believed in what I believed. It reminded me that God could handle my questions. It prepared me for a post-Christian context where I am not entitled to be heard but I had to earn the right to be heard, and of course, it taught me that all is good with a Philly cheese steak at Hoagie Haven.

No one is an island to themselves and I am certainly an example of that. Many people - women and men, young and old, and of many backgrounds - prayed, encouraged, mentored, and loved me along the way. Grateful for my professors at seminary, my many classmates, and the numerous fellow staff and co-laborers I've had the privilege of serving Christ with past and present. And of course, I'm forever inspired by my parents, my children, and my wife, Minhee. Thank you for your faith, hope, and love...and oh, for your patience. Only your family will know and see both the best and worst of you. They've seen my worst...and keep on believing in me.

Thank you again, PTS and President Barnes, for this honor. Then, today, and tomorrow...by God's grace, just striving to be faithful to my Lord and Savior...to preach and live out the convictions of the whole Gospel. Amen. So humbled and grateful to be with @catalystleader in Cincinnati to encourage leaders from all around the country about the invitation to Uncommon Fellowship.

Preached from John 4. We can talk, preach, sing, philsophize, liturgize, and spit rhymes about Samaria...but we still have to talk through Samaria.

my tweets

  • "They got money for wars but can't feed the poor." ~ Tupac #trumpbudget || 18 hours ago
  • Heartbroken. Praying for Manchester & the UK. For those mourning loved ones. For those injured and fighting for life. Lord, in your mercy. || 2 days ago
  • Window seat. For the win. https://t.co/yG66Sm2bvu || 4 days ago
  • As leaders, we must not sacrifice our family for the sake of ministry because loving our family IS good leadership: instagram.com/p/BUVAGVwg-5z/ || 4 days ago
  • We long for a Gospel that comforts but resist the Gospel that disrupts. Having the former without the latter seduces us into complacency. || 4 days ago
  • Love wins in the end but in the meanwhile,it fights for things that matter. Love isn't sentimental. It's both gentle & fierce. Love endures. || 5 days ago