Oh Jonathan, you turned four years old this month! Amazing how time flies so fast. You are my little guy, and I love you, although there are times when you drive me up the wall. Like yesterday. And the day before that. And the entire month of July, for that matter.

I still remember the day I first heard that you were coming into our lives. Your mother was going into surgery for her mastectomy, and her doctor called me in to the surgical ward because she had to tell me something important. When I heard that, my heart dropped into the pit of my stomach. In fact, I almost vomited. You see, the prior year had taught me to expect the very worst from life, and from God: miscarriage, burglary, cancer, health insurance cancellation. And so that morning I braced myself for another kick to the teeth, perhaps news that the cancer had spread, or that the surgery couldn’t be performed.

But the last thing I ever expected to hear was that mommy was pregnant, and that you were in her belly. I was at an absolute loss for words, something that doesn’t happen to your father often. It was in that moment that my understanding of God completely collapsed. I realized that I didn’t understand God in the least, a God who could allow your mother to suffer so terribly, but also would bring such an unexpected gift into our lives. I felt like Job standing before the whirlwind, my haughty theology eroding and folding in upon itself in light of the sublime mystery of God and His ways.

So thanks, Jonathan, for completely destroying your dad’s theology.

Fast forward a few months, and I was with your mother at the Sculpture Garden of the National Mall. I got another call from a doctor, this time from a wonderful cancer ...

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Third Culture
Third Culture looks at matters of faith from the multicultural and minority perspective.
Peter Chin
Peter W. Chin is the pastor of Rainier Avenue Church and author of Blindsided By God. His advocacy work for racial reconciliation has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, and the Washington Post.
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