Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book Review

I have briefly mentioned this book, Out of a Far Country, by Christopher and Angela Yuan, before. I heard them again on the radio this morning. I love most about the telling of their story is the honesty. Chris, the son, brutally tells how pleasurable the drug and homosexual scene was. Angela, the mother, tells how at first the shame of a son not performing to expectations, until she turned to Jesus.
It is a story of two prodigals, two redemption stories. How a mother needed to pray the hardest prayer for her son, who literally slammed the door in his parents' faces, not to change him, but just that he would find peace in Jesus. She speaks on the radio with her Chinese accent. His voice is that of the modern American raised son of Chinese immigrant parents living the American dream. "Tiger Mom" comes to mind. Even Joy Luck Club images surface, but about son and mother, instead of daughters.
Chris tells how his former life felt happy. He did search for that true love, but as he said, men left to their own devices, do not think of exclusivity. He still longed for that faithful lover, who only wanted him. He loved the power and popularity that selling drugs buoyed him. Being the product of meticulous business parents, he kept accurate records that surprised the police when he was busted.
"Why would you keep records," they asked incredulously, "for the IRS?"
Chris sheepishly lowered his head, "It was the way I was raised."
The irony is "forget all the other lessons he was taught." Keep meticulous records.
For mothers, Angela's story, strikes at the heart. We love our children fiercely. We want them to be happy, accept them and for them to accept us. Chris could not accept his mother and then his father, before and after they came to faith in Jesus. He wanted them for what they could do for him, keep him in dental school, three months from graduation- they didn't even try, as he spent all his time traveling and selling drugs in the gay lifestyle, failing school. Sure that was hard and the old parents, before Christ, would have done everything they could to keep him successful, but at this point, they knew he needed Jesus. But this wasn't the lowest point,yet, in their journey.
Angela fasted every Monday for her son. When he totally rejected them on their visit to Atlanta to see him, she returned to her home at a crossroads. Would she give up on him? Or pray the boldest prayer a mother can pray for a child? She only wanted to know for an hour in her life, that Chris was following Christ. She prayed that God would do whatever it took for that to happen. She was led then, to fast, drinking only fruit juices for thirty nine days. And that prayer seemed answered with an arrest and prison for her son.
The remarkable journey of being changed, transformed by Jesus from two vastly different people, but both in need of Christ's love The honesty broke my heart, as well as opened my eyes. This story was an answer to my question a few years ago to God to show me how He felt about this whole homosexuality issue. Chris's story and his feelings on obedience revealed what God calls all of us to in the Bible.
I recommend this book for mothers struggling with rebellious children. I also believe reading their story helps in the incredible journey we are all called to when we follow Christ.
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