“Never place a period where God has placed a comma!”
By the Rev. Mia MiKyung Park
This quote is attributed to comedian Gracie Allen in a letter she wrote to her husband, which was found after her death. As I reflect on this quote, it recalls numerous occasions when I attempted to impose a period when God was putting a comma. Additionally, I contemplate my intentions of adding commas where God was putting a period.
I am grateful that God placed a period on my ordination process, the Fruitfulness Project, all the summer activities at the church, and a couple of projects with the family during this summer. These events are now closed with a resounding period. Additionally, I experienced a situation where God placed a comma where I thought there was a period.
I lost contact with one of my good seminary friends who had supported me greatly during my time in seminary. One night, probably in my second semester, a few of us were preparing for final exams and writing final papers together in the downstairs lounge of the dormitory where we used to study, talk, play ping-pong, and have late-night snacks. That night, I was feeling discouraged by the constant pressure from studying away from the family more than usual. My friend not only prayed for me with other friends but also proofread one of my papers voluntarily before he completed his paper for the same class, enabling me to move on to the next assignments. I was deeply moved by his friendship.
However, some difficult challenges arose for him, preventing him from completing his studies. He left the campus during our last semester, but we lost contact with him. It was deeply heartbreaking for us to disconnect from our dear friend and couldn’t help him. I thought it was the end of our friendship. Surprisingly, we reconnected with him in the middle of August when he reached out to one of our group friends. We will soon set up a Zoom meeting to see each other, including my friend, who hadn’t been in contact for over four years. What a surprising gift of a comma! What I had thought was the end of our friendship turned out to be just a comma, and I am very grateful for God’s comma.
When I think it’s time for a period, God’s comma opens my mind if it’s God’s timing for a comma. This punctuation pause allows me to take a deep breath, inhale the freshness and excitement of the moment, and oxygenate my mind. Also, God’s period helps me to move on from the previous situations, knowing and grounding in confidence that God will take care of every situation. Sooner or later, I come to realize from all those experiences of periods and commas that God has other plans that are way beyond my thoughts and expectations. Those experiences have taught me to open my mind and ground myself in the affirmation of the Bible verse, “My plans aren’t your plans, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my plans than your plans.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
For the September’s Bible memorization in the Church School, we’ll be focusing on Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to me, and I will answer you and reveal to you wondrous and hidden things that you have not known.”
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