I Love Asia — But My Lungs Don’t

Last night was a rough night for my 6-year-old buddy and me. We were both up late croup coughing and sounding like seals. After getting the Asian equivalent to Vicks, ‘Megascent Oil’, slathered all over our feet, chests, and upper backs, we went to bed with high hopes that we’d be able to sleep through the rest of the night without coughing. He finally fell asleep, but I was kept awake trying to understand the phenomenon behind why after rubbing menthol on my feet did my cough go away and all I was left with was a minty sensation in my mouth. I can’t seem to grasp the concept.

Belinda and I joke about whether we’d prefer to have functioning lungs, or toned legs. As we jog in the early morning, huge trucks filled with produce and/or people drive by leaving behind black clouds of love for our lungs to enjoy as we run by. Breathing is bad in pretty much any urban area, but for whatever reason, specifically in Asia.

I was facetiming with a friend in California the other day, and we talked about the joys of the California DMV and getting our cars smogged. After living in Asia for so long, I really don’t mind all the hoops I had to go through in order to register my car in the state of California — at least I could breathe and run there.

What are some things you ‘put up with’ because you like the end result?

• Sore muscles because you know you’ll finally get that 6-pack if you keep pushing? Yeah, me neither…

• Working 12 hour shifts, because it feels so good when you stop?

• I wouldn’t know, but…giving birth, anyone?

What about things you enjoy doing, but suffer the consequences for later?

• Partying hard?

• Eating cheese and ice-cream, even though your lactose-intolerant body hates you for it?

I think as believers, it’s hard to view painful situations and circumstances as a beneficial thing, especially while you’re stuck in the thick of it. But when you’re finally able to take a step back and analyse the situation, it’s so much easier to see God’s goodness and how the results — whether it be a softened heart or just becoming more like Christ — make the ‘pain’ so worth enduring.

In the same way exercising and the pain that comes with it: shin splints, fatigued muscles, and cramping, (in time) bring about a ‘hot bod’, God materializes the ‘yuck’ in our own hearts because He loves us and wants us to better emulate His character. The process for both spiritual and physical is painful, there’s no denying that; let’s be honest, if it doesn’t hurt or make you break a sweat, you’re probably doing it wrong. I frequently question if it’s actually doing any good, but I think that’s why God designed it so others are the first to notice and will point out when they see growth.

So, for now, I’ll put up with dysfunctional lungs. It reminds me of how much God loves me and is willing to work through my rubbish with me.

Plus, I mean…Ryan Gosling:


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