Tag Archives: musings

assuming asaph, living like levi

I attended a meeting last week and the Lord used a devotional a brother in Christ led to really speak to me. He shared from Psalm 73, a prayer of Asaph.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know a whole lot about Asaph before this week. It sort of sounds like you are sneezing when you say it, especially if you say his name quickly.

This brother in Christ I mentioned above and Google helped me sketch out who this guy is. Asaph wrote several psalms, 50 and then 73 through 83. He was one of King David’s musicians and was a Levite. The Levites were the only of the 12 tribes to not have land. They were the tribe of priests–their home was with the Lord.

Home, for me, is a word that has no boundaries, no nestled yard or cement walls that stay constant for too long. Home, for me, changed often with each move. I didn’t grow up living in the same house or even the same country. Sometimes I struggled answering where home is. When in Thailand, I’d say Texas. When in Texas I’d say Thailand. Saying I was from Texas brought on the “what-high-school-did-you-go-to” question, and since I’m not Thai, saying I’m from Thailand in Thailand doesn’t usually work. Where is home? Home is where my heart is–with my family, immediate and extended.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Rock and firm Strength of my heart and my Portion forever,” Asaph writes in the Amplified version of Psalm 73.

He is my portion. He is my portion forever.

Go back and read that last line again. Savor it. Do you believe it? Do I believe it?

The Levites found their home in the Lord. They had no land to call their own. Their portion was in the Father.

I am a 21st century Levite. Is that OK to say? And really, as believers, we should all be Levites. Land doesn’t matter. Houses don’t matter. As Christ followers we should find our portion in our Creator.

“But as for me, how good it is to be near God!” Asaph continues in verse 28. [NLT]

Being near to God also takes in another step toward our glorious destiny. I wish I could say I came up with that poetic statement on my own, but ole Asaph already did.

“You will keep guiding me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny,” Psalm 73:24 [NLT]

Part of being able to be led toward that destiny is letting our portion be in God. When we hold our portion in our hands, our destiny is only as big as our palms will flex. Now, unless you have super duper mammoth hands, you probably won’t be able to handle much portion.

It is so easy to want to tie our portion down and to find it in the familiar. We want the familiar. It’s easy to want land assigned to us. But our portion is in a Rock that will never crumble, fade or decay.

He is my portion. He’s enough. I’d like to assume Asaph’s attitude and live like a 21st-century Levite

2 Comments

Filed under Life

Soccer strands, and unites Beijing reminiscent, part 2

I managed to get Olympic soccer tickets for a preliminary match in Tianjin. Tianjin is a city an hour away from Beijing.

We took the bullet train from Beijing to Tianjin—it was only 30 minutes. It takes more than an hour to go some places in Beijing!

We cheered on our U.S. men’s soccer team and I felt the bond many feel when watching their country compete in the Olympics, only this time I was experiencing it firsthand.

Tianjin missed the memo about transportation and major worldwide sporting events. Not only were there not enough trains going back to the host city, none were leaving late enough for fans to make it and see the entire event they paid money for. We had to leave the Nigeria v. The Netherlands game we had tickets for early.

Our theory was Tianjin wanted to make money off the tourists by creating a situation where tourists would be obligated to stay in their hotels and not take the 30-minute bullet train back to Beijing.

As my friends and I talked, taxi after taxi passed, already carrying passengers. We enlisted a “bread box van,” as they are called in Chinese, to take us to find a taxi. The driver collects six-inch stools from private drivers who rent them for events like these so they can sit and listen to the event on their radios.

When we found a taxi and finally got to the stadium, we had missed our train and the last train after it.

We were not alone. Many other foreigners and locals found themselves trapped in Tianjin.

Our numbers grew, and before we knew it, we had a posse. A Chinese friend, American teacher and another student joined us, followed by the teacher’s brother and another English teacher and their new-found Ugandan friend.

The ticket sellers we could wait for the 3 a.m. train and purchase standing room only tickets. We decided against this. Ten minutes after this they sold out.

Two women wearing the official American soccer jersey and a father and son from New York joined the ranks.

I admired their jerseys and remarked how we had tried to find American jerseys in the markets in Beijing and were repeatedly shown David Beckham’s L.A. Galaxy jersey.

One of the ladies is the wife of one of the U.S. coaches and they opted to stay in Beijing instead of Tianjin with the team.

I tried to make small talk with a 10-year-old boy who was there with his father. He had caught a grasshopper in the stadium and was toting him around in a box with holes poked in the top.

What did you feed it? I asked.

Grass, he said.

Also included in our numbers was a middle-aged Indian couple who had tickets to events every day of the Olympics. They, along with the soccer wives, were sold tickets earlier that day for a train that never left, or left early.

While our Chinese friends tried to strike bargains, my friend and I made a deal with a Tianjin taxi driver to take a group to Beijing. We sent the soccer wives and father and son in that taxi.

Our Chinese friends told us that because of the restrictions for the Olympics, they might not make it to Beijing. In an effort to keep crowds down, Beijing set limits on cars coming into the capital that weren’t registered within the city.

“We are calling the government,” someone informed me.

Right.

The police called us an eight-passenger van for the 13 of us who remained.

Our head count now stood with, three American teachers from Ohio, a young, four- months-pregnant couple from Ohio, one Chicago native, one Ugandan soccer player, two Chinese students, an Indian couple, an Oklahoman, a third culture kid and our Chinese driver.

We wedged into the van, some sitting and squatting in the decade-old van. The driver told us to be careful of the middle seat, it is not secured, so the passengers in the backseat supported us.

We began to feel like illegal immigrants. The driver told us that what we were doing wasn’t legal. He wasn’t supposed to drive into Beijing because he has Tianjin license plates. We would have to stop and be searched he said, and may not make it in.

I found out that the three Ohio teachers were believers and have mutual friends in Beijing.

The Chicagoan works for an animation company and frequently travels to North Korea, and may get to attend their “opening ceremony,” that is supposedly going to copy China’s.

In the dark, the Ugandan man smiled and his teeth shone in the dark as he told us his wife is expecting a baby. They now live in Australia. With the windows open in the van, I missed the soccer connection in his life story. Throughout the entire ordeal, his face always wore a smile.

Soccer talk further united us during the van. We talked about that night’s game. We discussed our favorite football clubs and players. We swapped stories about playing soccer and injuries we sustained while playing.

When we stopped at the first checkpoint we decided to take a group picture to commemorate our one and only evening together. After applying for a traffic permit and being waved through a checkpoint, we made it to the outskirts of town.

The first taxi called to say they made it safely. We finally made it safely too.

Not only did we get to see Olympic soccer, we had the kind of adventure movies are made from.

1 Comment

Filed under Journals