July 08, 2013

The banfa

There is a phrase here, "Mei banfa," which means, "There is no solution!"

No solution?  Really?  Are we all dealt certain cards, and that is that? 

For more than four years, life here was peachy.  I wasn't learning the language so I didn't have to enter into the culture.  I had figured out where to buy cheese and how to decorate for Christmas, and all the rest of it I ignored, blocking out everything (and everyone) I didn't understand.

I never set out to do this.  It was a coping mechanism that just happened.  It worked well, too.  A little too well. 

But all that has changed now.  I started language class.  I got involved in a cooking group with local sisters.  I made a few other changes, too, and suddenly now I find myself living in East Asia!  And I'm miserable!  Five years later and I have culture shock and homesickness.  Talk about delayed-onset.

So what hope do I have now?  I could take off for Ludlow, England and lay low until people stopped looking for me (not that I've thought about it), but that would never do.  I could coerce my husband into abandoning the clear call on our lives in the name of my personal comfort.  That, too, would never do.

The truth is, my circumstances, like the weather, will change in due time.  My culture shock will subside and I will thrive again.  For a while, that is, until I come across the next big hurdle in my life.  And then once I've cleared that hurdle, it won't be long until another one comes.  And then eventually, I will die, just like everybody else.  This life is brief and unstable, making it an incredibly futile thing to worry about.

What will last, and what can change, is my heart.  Thankfully that is G0D's business, a business He is happy to handle whenever I ask.  And I know from experience that a changed heart changes everything.

It is why prisoners can sing.

It is why Job could worship.

Because our troubles can break our bones - even taken our lives - but for those of us who have become sons and daughters of the Most High, there is nothing that can take our hope.

We have a banfa!  He was born to a virgin in a sleepy town in the middle east, lived a guiltless life, loved the unlovable, preached bondage-breaking truth, died a criminal's death, and rose from the grave so that you and I might live with Him forever in absolute peace.

That's what I call a solution.