From Yew to You


Rev. Wally Yew


A Sandwiched Generation

Immigrants are a sandwiched generation, caught between two worlds. They often find themselves pressed by the forces of two cultures.

Immigrants believe they must please their parents who adhere to the ways of the old culture, while their children adhere to the culture of their new land. Thus their parents expect to be treated with deference, while their children expect to be treated with fairness. Their parents prefer living with them, while their children plan to move out once they are married.

Immigrants are bilingual, but their parents and children are usually not. They don't expect their parents to learn English nor their children to learn Chinese. They are torn between parents who won't go to McDonald's, and children who hate to go to Chinese restaurants. They have to support their parents, save money for their children's college education, and save for their own retirement. No wonder they feel nobody is trying to understand or appreciate them.

I sympathize with immigrants who are torn between opposite expectations. They almost have to be schizophrenic to cope successfully.

But they are not the only generation caught between two worlds. Their parents want the security of knowing their children will take care of them, but they are stuck living in a new land where familiar customs seem forgotten. Likewise, the children are torn between two countries. Their parents remind them they are Chinese, while their teachers tell them they are Americans or Canadians. At school, teachers complain they don’t participate enough in class, while at home their parents complain they are too assertive. Their friends may start dating at age12 and wonder why they are still not dating at 14. Meanwhile, their parents wonder why they are interested in dating at such a tender age of 16. Being caught between two opposing forces may be awkward, frustrating, and painful, but it can also be viewed as a position of opportunity. It is in a sandwiched position that a person is able to reach both sides, serving as a bridge and a mediator.

Moses was caught between a holy God and a sinful people, between a holy mountain where the Ten Commandments were given and a plain where the golden calf was offered. It is safe to say that most Old Testament prophets were caught in similar situations. They were sandwiched between a righteous God and an unrighteous people. In fact, the very nature of being a prophet or a priest was to stand between God and the people and serve as a channel of communication between the two.

In the New Testament, the supreme example of a bridge is Jesus Himself. Jesus served as a mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Jesus came to reconcile humanity with God (2 Corinthians 5:18). Jesus bridged the gap between Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:11-16). It was in this position of intense heat that light was generated.

Of equal prominence and importance is the ministry of the Holy Spirit in bridging the gap between God and man. On one hand, the Holy Spirit will continue to "teach us all things" (John 14:26) so that God can communicate His truth to us. He also intercedes for us "with groans that words cannot express" (Romans 8:26-27) to convey our needs to God. We who are already reconciled to God are entrusted with the "ministry" and "message" of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). We are asked to put ourselves in a sandwiched position so that we can bring unbelievers to God through Christ. We are, as the Bible says, "ambassadors" for Christ. The next time you think you are in a sandwiched position, thank God for placing you there. He has put you there for a purpose: to serve as a bridge, a mediator, an intercessor, and an ambassador.

Being sandwiched? No. Just being an ambassador!

Signature of Rev. Yew.
(Article Link:
Reuse online please credit to Challenger, April 2001. CCMUSA.)