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

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It. Still. Hurts.
#TamirRice Incredible news: @onedayswages is projecting to have our most impactful year as we grant out $1.3 million dollars! Thank you so much for your prayers and support...please read on to learn how you can join in our work.

As you gather with family, friends, and loved ones for Thanksgiving and the holidays, I wanted to share an opportunity. Often times, when I speak to people about the privilege of generosity, I remind them, "You don't have to but you get to." It's so true.

My wife and I (and our three kids) started ODW in 2009. We felt the Holy Spirit convicting us to give up our year's salary. It wasn't an easy thing to say "Yes" or "Amen" to but we made the decision to obey. As a result, it took us about three years to save, simplify, and sell off things we didn't need.

It's been an incredible journey as we've learned so much about the heart of God and God's love for the hurting and vulnerable around the world - particularly those living in extreme poverty. ODW is a small, scrappy, grassroots organization (with just 3 full-time employees) but since our launch, we've raised nearly $6 million dollars to help those living in extreme poverty: clean water and sanitation, education, maternal health, human trafficking, refugee crisis, hunger, and the list goes on and on.

So, here's my humble ask: As we do this work, would you consider making a pledge to support our work...so that we can keep doing this work with integrity and excellence?
You can make a one time gift or make monthly pledge of just $25 (or more). Thanks so much for considering this: http://onedayswages.org/give (link in bio, too) Don't just count your blessings. Bless others with your blessings. Here, there, everywhere. Be a blessing for this blesses our Father in Heaven and builds the Kingdom of God.

#ReThinkRegugees #WeWelcomeRefugees
@onedayswages Grateful. Still reflecting on the letters that I've received from classmates and students that have come before me and after me. Never imagined all that God would have in store for me. Lots of humbling things but in the midst of them, there were literally thousands upon thousands of daily decisions and choices to be faithful. That's what matters. Seen or unseen. Noticed or unnoticed. You do your best and sometimes you stumble and fumble along but nevertheless, seeking to be faithful.

Also, you know you're getting old when your school honors you with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Lol. 47 is the new 27. Or something like that. Here's to the next 47. In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply.

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