Will he be proud of me
By Anonymous | Middle East in Middle East
I am the firstborn in an Asian family. I suspect that my parents expected me to be the first of the family to achieve something. This was unspoken, but my siblings and I understood. We’re really good at reading between the lines.
I performed well in secondary school, usually near the top of the class. In my graduation year, I was voted the “most likely to succeed.” In university, I studied engineering and I suspect that my parents had high hopes for me: abright career and prosperous future ahead, the pride of a parent and a reward for all their hard work and sacrifice. They could keep their heads high among their peers.
But counterculturally, I threw all of that away when I decided on this life of serving God as one of his workers many miles from home and family. I know that my mother worried when we said our farewells at the airport.She often told me to make sure I didn’t work too hard and had enough rest. She still worries. If it weren’t for God, perhaps I would have fulfilled some of my parents’ expectations. But somewhere in university, God found me and my worldview changed.
Recently I heard a story of a man from the Middle East named Simon*. He did his secondary education at a Christian school. His parents didn’t think much about it being a Christian school because it was a quality education. There, Simon met a humble believer who volunteered his life away. The man did good work in the community and asked nothing in return. Most people in the neighbourhood thought that was foolish. It was a waste to not expect some sort of reward in exchange for good deeds. Simon admired this man’s work and later joined in to do odd jobs and, strangely, found joy there. It stuck with Simon even as he moved to Europe later in life. He tasted that joy again when he came across people in the church. There, he believed in God and his worldview changed.
A son is a father's pride in the Middle East, just as it is in Asia. That’s why it’s hard for a son to leave his family’s faith for another. Simon hasn’t told his father. And, though it’s unspoken, his father suspects a change, though he won’t say out loud. But even when unspoken, both can read between the lines.
Simon wants to tell his father one day … One day when his father might begin to be proud of his step of faith.
Following God is hard. Sometimes it’s at odds with our desire to make our family proud. But somehow, knowing God is worth more than what we feel we might lose. The joy off in the horizon is enough to help us through.
But we still want our parents to be proud … Particularly, our fathers.
We wait for the day our fathers will also understand why we are at the airport ready to leave home and familyto serve God. We hope for the day when our fathers can express themselves in words and say something like …
“You are my child in whom I am well pleased.”
But even if he doesn’t say it out loud, we’ll be able to tell. We’re good at reading between the lines.
I know my father is proud of me. And even if it isn’t so now, I hope your father will also be one day. That day when he’ll tuck money into your jacket pocket at the airportand you'll have understood everything you needed to know.
Pray with us
That God would continue to call people from non-Christian contexts.
That God would send more workers to communities where He’s least known.