13.10.06
Chapel Speech

Every teacher has to give a speech in chapel every once in awhile. My first speech is October 28. I wrote my speech really early so I could get it translated into Japanese. I want to give my speech entirely in Japanese so the students understand me. This is one of my only opportunities to speak Japanese to them, and to speak about the Christian faith.

Romans 5:6-8 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I am a failure. Every day I fail in many ways. I fail by not clearly explaining an idea to my students. I fail by not being able to communicate with my co-workers and friends in Japanese. I fail forgetting God during my day. I fail by not achieving my personal expectations. Today I will tell you about my failures in the hope that you will see how, even though I fail every day, God gives me strength, grace, and love to live my life.

Before I came to Japan I thought that, in 2 years time, I could be fluent in Japanese. In America I studied hiragana and katakana. I learned simple words and phrases. However, that was not enough to prepare me to speak Japanese to store clerks, people at church, students, or other teachers. I have become like a child here in Japan—I have to learn how to read, write, and express myself like I did when I was an infant in America. Some days I feel confident in my Japanese abilities. Other days I am frustrated because I cannot communicate even simple ideas. At those times I feel foolish. What do the Japanese think of me? Do they think I am stupid? Or rude? I know now that, even in two years, I will not be fluent in Japanese. My expectations are too high. I feel like a failure because I cannot meet my own expectations for communicating in Japanese.

I fail in other ways as well. I graduated from college with a degree in music. While I was in college I studied many beautiful pieces of music. I learned to write music, because I wanted to learn to write pieces as beautiful as those of the composers I loved. I would sit at the piano for hours to try to write a few measures of music that sounded as beautiful as Bach, Beethoven, and Debussy, but I could never succeed to my satisfaction. To my ears, my music sounded fake, like a photocopy of a famous painting.

I also fail with God. When I was your age, I thought I understood who God was. I knew a lot about the Bible and I went to church and to Bible studies. But I didn’t realize until about a year ago that I did not understand God at all. At that point I felt I had failed, so I gave up on God. I lost all my faith in Him. I decided I didn’t care about Christianity any more because I couldn’t understand it. But recently I realized that faith in God is not possible without questions. No human can fully understand God. The Bible tells us this in Romans 11:33: []. So we all fail at understanding God, and God understands this. God also understands that we fail to honor and obey him. We cannot meet God’s expectations of righteousness. Romans 3:23 says[] . It doesn’t matter how hard we try—we will not reach perfect obedience and righteousness in God’s eyes. But God knows this. Romans 5:6-8. If we were perfectly righteous, if we were not failures, then Jesus would not have had to die. We would not need his sacrifice. But, because we are sinners, we desperately need His forgiveness, which, because of His love, He freely gives.

I am a failure. I cannot understand or obey God. But God knows this, and because He loves me and has forgiven me, I don’t need to worry.

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written by Ruthie @ 9:58 PM  
4 thoughts:
  • At 10/19/2006 9:13 AM, Anonymous mom said…

    Ruthie, check out your 2nd paragraph. You have repeated some sentences, which I am sure you have by now figured out if you are learning to say it word or phrase by word or phrase in Japanese.

    If only the whole world would send their blogs for me to edit. How busy would I be!

     
  • At 10/19/2006 11:18 AM, Anonymous mom said…

    Gee, that sounds awfully critical.
    Your message is so concise and to the culture of today! The only way to reach someone who is spiritually ill is to describe how the One was able to heal your illness. Kind of like they do in AA, only you do a better job. Thank you. Your honesty and sincerity are sweet to behold, my dear. Miss you terribly.

     
  • At 10/19/2006 10:53 PM, Blogger homsar said…

    Yeah, I accidentally pasted in one section twice. I think I fixed it now.

     
  • At 9/23/2007 12:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was doing a search on the words "even though I fail" and was directed to your blog page. I have so often felt quite the failure, in so many areas. The hardest failings are when I feel I fail the Lord. But He does love us, and forgives us, and sticks to us like glue even in the toughest of times. I came into missions late in life. It has been very hard for me to learn a second language even though I've been working at it for ten years. I just seem to fumble along, showing little progress, gaining only a bare survival level at my target language. And culturally I am quite the misfit. I seem to do the wrong thing all the time. I am always offending someone unintentionally. I do not know why God keeps me here. All I can think is I must be doing some kind of good for Him that I don't realize. Or perhaps He keeps me here not for the ministry, but to grow me. Who knows? Just keep holding His hand, dear one. Just keep being willing to be what He wants you to be and where. Blessings to you. - A Grandma

     
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私について

Name: Ruthie
Home: Japan
About Me: I want to know who God is and what his truth is. I love getting lost in beautiful music and cloudless star-filled skies, especially in the fall. I hate being bored. I like big cities. I want to travel the world.
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