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Friday, March 17, 2017

"Shadow of the Silk Road" book excerpt and my thoughts..

Note: I have a curious habit of starting blog posts and then not finishing them until later.... This post below has been waiting patiently as a draft since September 2012!  

I read a very interesting book about China. The author recounts his experiences as he journeyed along the Silk Road, starting in Xian, China and traveling west all the way to Antioch, Turkey. Mr. Thubron is an excellent writer and I have enjoyed his attention to detail and his beautiful depictions of people and places. Here is an excerpt from the book: "Shadow of the Silk Road" by Colin Thubron.

'We are not like our parents. We have no time and security. You say we walk differently from the old, well that is why. It's something nervous.'
   He seemed to wince across the restaurant table: a young man, barely twenty-three, with a pale, heart-shaped face. 'Our parents' world was safer: state pensions, assured jobs, and housing. And they want to go on as before, cautiously, preserving. 
But my generation - our world depends on us.'
   He looked at once anxious and excited. This was the sea-change that was transforming China. All at once the future had grown more potent than the past. Change was rendering things obsolete. You could see this where high-rise apartment blocks barged into the old suburbs, bulldozing the clustered generations of the communal courtyard and banking up tiers of nuclear families in their place. Whole regions of the city had become unrecognizable, the man said. And of course it was not merely buildings that were being exchanged, it was the values they fostered.
  'I spent my childhood in those old hutong courtyards. Relationships were warmer then.' His mouth puckered, as if hunting a lost taste. I wondered if he were not simply regretting being adult. 'Now we live on the fourteenth floor of a skyscaper, and whenever we go we lock an iron door behind us.'
   He was the awkward by-product of this changed world. He loved animals and green spaces - in childhood he had longed hopelessly for a dog - and was studying ecology with a tinge of despair at his country's ruthlessness. He was an only child. 'Most of my friends are outcomes of the One Child policy, state birth control. They call us "little emperors." Parents and relatives all dote on these single children.....
(pages 11-12)

....For a while he picked delicately at the chicken in front of him, sometimes dabbing the corners of his mouth with his sleeve. Then he said with the sudden, paradoxical spareness of his people:  I'm afraid of death. And loneliness. When I close my eyes, I go cold. I think: death is like this. Blackness, where there's no feel or taste. Many young people are afraid of it, I think. Old people can look back on rich lives, perhaps, and are not afraid...'
  I thought: everything was always assured to them.
'...But we young people are unfulfilled, and afraid. Some of my friends go to the Buddhist temple, but only because they want something. I don't believe in that. For us, after death, there's nothing.'
(page 13) 
From "Shadow of the Silk Road" by Colin Thubron. (emphasis mine)

Isn't that sad? "For us, after death, there's nothing" in the words of this Chinese man, after you die there is nothing. Blackness. Silence. Nothingness. How sad! For us as believers, we know this is not true. There are two destinations: Heaven and Hell. How horrible to die and find out too late that you are in hell! 

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works."

Titus 2:11-14

 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 
John 11:25-26

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,  who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  
1 Peter 1:3-5

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” 
Romans 1:16-17 

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:1-2

What wonderful news this is! We have a sobering responsibility and amazing privilege - the opportunity to tell others of this free gift of life. It is available to anyone. No matter how old or young you are.  Whatever language you speak. Whatever lifestyle you come from, The Lord Jesus is able to deliver you from spiritual death and darkness. God's gift of salvation is free and available to anyone who believes in the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Do we realize what a blessing we have here in North America? Most people here have heard the gospel many times since their childhood, and there are church buildings on most street corners. But in many parts of China, there are people who have yet to meet a Christian, or hear the true, vibrant, gospel message. May we pray for searching souls all over the world who are missing something in their life and don't know what. Or others, hardened to the gospel, ignore the truth of the Bible. 

You have two choices. You can either accept Jesus Christ's gift of salvation or reject it. 

Please take time to consider your eternal destiny. 


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