When I was growing up one of the most popular ice breaker questions was, “What is your most embarrassing moment?” I hated that question. For one, the only thing I could think of was when I threw up in front of my first grade class, which to me was not very exciting as far as embarrassing stories go. Secondly, if I really had a horribly embarrassing story, why would I want to share that as an introductory piece of information to a bunch of strangers? However, I soon found out to my dismay that I didn’t have to have an embarrassing story to share for people to laugh at me. From the fact that I was Asian to my hearing impairment to my cluelessness regarding the things my peers talked about, I felt that I was an embarrassment. As an adult, though people don’t laugh at my culture or disability as much anymore, it sometimes doesn’t seem as though my laughingstock status has changed much, especially when it comes to my career/purpose.
I’ve dreamed of being a teacher ever since I was eight years old, but more than that, I’ve dreamed of making a difference. However, every attempt at doing either of the above has ended in humiliation. As I am waiting to hear from schools, I’m starting to feel the humiliation once again. Last night, I thought to myself, “Other people are getting interviewed, hired, and promoted, and no one has even called me.” I must look like a fool to everyone around me.
As I was thinking those things, a really interesting Scripture popped into my mind. It was from Psalm 40. I have written before about how I have put Psalm 40 into music and have sung it from time to time. I also shared about the time I sang it in a prayer meeting despite being tone deaf. One thing that really stood out as I sung it during the prayer meeting was the reaction I got when I sang verses 14-15, “May those who try to destroy me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble, be turned back in disgrace. Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now.” I was encouraged by the verbal agreement from those praying for me when I sang those two verses, but was surprised to see that passage flash in my mind as I was thinking about what a laughingstock I have become.
God reassured me with those verses that once he accomplishes his purpose in me (finishes what he started) then those who have tried to destroy me or who have rejoiced in seeing me stumble will tuck their tails between their legs and walk away in shame. Once his strength is perfected in my weakness, those who oppose me will have nothing left to say. God will be lifted up and will draw me to himself, safe from the accusations of my enemies. Then I can say with the psalmist, “Those who look to him are…never covered with shame” (Psalm 34:5).