Noodles And Jesus

noodle

Original blog from Elias Popa, Within Reach Global intern: The Seasoned Explorer » Noodles and Jesus.

I was sitting there with Brother C, the man I told you about in an earlier story whose niece had passed away. After 4 days of traveling together, and over 16 hours of driving, we settled in a hole in the wall for a bite to eat, inside an ancient city. One of our many strong bonds is our shared affinity for noodles and Jesus, not necessarily in that order. As we sat at our table we were looking at over the giant mountain that towered over the city. The sun was beginning to set and the city was coming to a slow motion rest. As we waited for our noodles to get to our table, he made a statement that rattled my bones.

“She was the second child I buried. She was the second one who died in my arms.”

With eyes widened and heart stopped I gave him every ounce of focus I had. The charm of the city behind him melted away, along with the mountain and the sunset. It was just me and him in a dark room. He began to share his experience of how his niece died right in his arms. He washed her on the side of the road… baptized her… and buried her right there.

“I can’t imagine how that must have felt… I am so sorry,” I said hoping that my words would give him some sort of rest.

If you knew Brother C, then you would know that he is one of the most stoic people you will ever meet. Every word that comes out of his mouth is preceded by a few minutes of deep thought. It is like he weighs every statement he makes against another that he could make…and decides wether or not it is worth saying, all right in front of you. Needless to say, when he decides to open up, you’d better listen. The agonizing wait to see if I made a mistake and said something stupid in front of him is like drawing clay through a pinhole… it keeps me on the edge of my seat. It seems as if he pays no attention to my simple statement and continues on with his sentence. He is just thinking and wants to express the thoughts in his heart. At that moment, any statements made by anyone else is secondary to what he wants to say…so I listen to avoid interrupting his deep concentration.

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“I asked God, why and why and why and why and why? If he is a healer, why is she gone? Was it our sin? Was it a lack of faith? Would God let a girl die because I was faithless?” His though process was unfolding right before my eyes.

“Did He answer you?” I asked eagerly, waiting to hear the honey that came from his lips.

”Yes. I think He did.”

My attention was arrested. His long pause gave me no solace. Like an itch or a tick, my attention had to be satisfied with some sort of divine revelation or cosmic knowledge. Or rather, I would have settled even for a simple something I have heard before. Anything, I just wanted to know his heart. . He could have said something all week… but he waited until right then.

He said to me… that for those who know Jesus, 6 months is the same as 80 years. In the scope of eternity, a lifespan is to small to measure, a grain of sand in an endless ocean…its all the same. His niece is now where we hope to be one day. We will all day one day, the same way she died. What matters more than the lifespan…is what we have done with it. He said he had peace knowing that life, wether it is a small amount of time or a long time, is worth having if we know Jesus.

Its like a light came on for me. Its about the quality of life rather than the quantity. We have plenty of quantity after death…wether for bad or for good. Its about how will you spend the finite time we have to influence how you will spend time in the infinite.

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Armed with a new perspective, he paid my meal and we got up to find the rest. As we walked down the stairs into the cobblestone road he turns to me and smiles.

“I love noodles.”

With a smile I reply, “Me too.”

Original blog from Elias Popa, Within Reach Global intern: The Seasoned Explorer » Noodles and Jesus.

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
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