The Words of In Jin Moon from 2009

Only Through Trial and Tribulation Can the Soul Be Strengthened

In Jin Moon
September 20, 2009
Lovin' Life Ministries
Sunday Service
Manhattan, NY

Good morning, brothers and sisters. Please have a seat. Last night was an exciting, fantastic evening, when we were able to celebrate the success of the 17th year of Women’s Federation for World Peace. I was truly honored to have the presence of Mrs. Evelyn Lowery. She really blessed this occasion with her presence. I was so happy to meet a lot of the sisters from around the world whom I have not seen for a long time. It was really wonderful and heartwarming to spend moments here and there with different people whom I have come to love over the years.

Yesterday was extremely gratifying for my family, in particular for my children and, I think, for the Second Generation here because it was truly the first time when we as a community could come together and really celebrate what we are all about. I felt that the real, true stars of the evening last night were our children. They looked so beautiful. It was almost as if the stars up in the sky came down for the evening and danced beautifully on the ballroom floor. Thanks to my daughter, Ariana, you guys are awesome! You guys can really move: not just the First Generation but Mom and Dad and daughters and brothers.

You know, this is what a wonderful community is all about. Not only do we come here to understand the deep and profound suffering heart of God, our Heavenly Parent, but we also come here to experience the love, the laughter, and the camaraderie that are just so pure and beautiful in a family and in a familiar setting. So what could be better than that? I was really tickled pink. And I was tickled pink this morning to see my drummer here wearing bright pink, my favorite color!

I felt there’s so much love in the room, and I really feel God with us today. I know that our True Parents are with us today, and they are still here with us in America. For me, it’s an incredible blessing, not just for my family and me but for our American movement.

Here we are, after finishing the Women’s Federation for World Peace 17th annual meeting. We talked about a lot of things at the conference. We were reminiscing about the history of women, especially the things that women had to go through to arrive at the Pacific Rim Era, when my father, Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon, has proclaimed to the world that this is a time for women to come up to the front and play leadership roles. We must really encourage our families -- our brothers, our husbands and our sons to be truly incredible men of God and our daughters to be women of God.

Whenever I’ve attended different women’s conferences in the past, not just our own, there’s a great deal of talk about how women have been oppressed, abused, and controlled. In many instances, that is the hard fact. Because of the Human Fall, I think many times Eve had the most difficult responsibility to bear in that she was seen as the one who tempted Adam away from his proper role as a true son of God. So over the years women had to endure great suffering.

Many women have not been allowed the opportunity for an education. A producer friend of mine came back from Afghanistan, wanting to make a documentary on the education of the Afghan girls. He was telling me that he went into the basement floor of what looked like a ruin, and there were fifty to seventy girls there, all huddled together, learning to read. He was so inspired by their desire to educate themselves, to prepare to become great mothers so they could better take care of their families.

Then he told me how he was shocked and alarmed when he heard some rustling outside and saw a bunch of what he called 16-ish and 17-ish year-old boys storming the basement school. The reason they came there was to throw acid into the faces of these young girls who wanted to get an education and better themselves. The boys wanted to scar the girls for life, for wanting to get an education.

We hear examples of young female babies born in different countries who are left to die in the countryside in remote areas simply because they are girls and girls are seen as worthless. We hear numerous stories about women in history who have had to overcome incredible odds simply because they were women. But they persevered and were persistent, and they believed that they were daughters of God. They were strengthened by their own belief in God, their Heavenly Parent, and their belief in themselves, that they were put upon this earth to do good work. There are many great women like Catherine Booth, Harriet Tubman, and Mother Theresa who persevered so much to become what they were. Their good works and their memories continue to inspire us throughout the years and even today as we go about our daily routines and responsibilities.

When I think about all these women and how I feel so blessed to be born as a daughter of God, I truly have to thank my mother, who is the international president of the Women’s Federation for World Peace. Single-handedly she has spearheaded a movement, basically asking the women’s movement not just to be a movement of liberation and freedom, but to be a movement that can truly help women to seek and find fulfillment as true daughters of God. Instead of just concentrating on freedom, we were also reminded about the responsibility that we hold in our hands, in particular the responsibility of raising great kids, of raising a great family.

My mother always told her fourteen children over the years (Can you imagine? Fourteen children from one woman?), “You must be men and women of integrity.” I understood her words to mean that we must be men and women of character. Helen Keller, who herself overcame great odds to do so much good for the world, especially for the blind and for people with disabilities, once said something that still rings true to me this day. She said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through trial and tribulation can the soul be strengthened, can ambition be inspired and success achieved.”

When I look at Helen Keller’s life, I see that she lived her own words. She became a woman of character herself and helped thousands of people. When I’m thinking about what kind of a person a woman or man of character is, I’m ruminating on the word character. My mind does interesting things. I approach a word through phonetics, maybe through my own cultural ears or through my own understanding. But char-ac-ter is a three-syllable word. It’s interesting that when you use an Eastern pronunciation twist to it, it almost sounds like cal-rac-tor. And cal actually sounds like the word knife in Korean. And rac sits smack in the middle, the second syllable. And then the last syllable sounds like her. It sounds like knife, rock, and her. Female gender here.

When I thought about it, I thought about Heavenly Parent and our True Parents telling the children and myself, too, “You are like a rough-cut diamond. You must live your lives polishing and cutting away the crusty exterior so that you can truly reveal the beauty of your character and the beauty of your divinity by truly practicing on a daily basis what it means to be a true person.”

For me, when I think of the word character, it’s really an invitation for the mothers in the room because we hold within our hands the power to educate the character of our children. We are the ones holding the knife or chisel, chiseling away at our children. Many times the diamond is not too happy, and many times it might complain. But the mother loves the child and knows that buried deep within is a beautiful, awesome son or daughter waiting to shine the brilliant light that is the light of our Heavenly Parent and True Parents.

It is often the responsibility of the mother to hone, sharpen, and polish this incredible rock that we call a diamond. How fitting that in our society the diamond represents forever. I know that when young girls are hoping for the blessing and hoping for that wonderful man who will be their eternal partner; when they say, “I do,” to Heavenly Father and Mother, not only will they get a beautiful gold church ring, but many of the girls will receive a diamond ring. The diamond is given to your beloved because it’s a symbol of eternity. When God crafted his son and daughter, he was crafting this incredible diamond called you, me, us, and the community.

When you saw my daughter Ariana perform with her Harvard ballroom dance team yesterday, wasn’t she magnificent? But, brothers and sisters, how do you think she got to be so good? She certainly wasn’t sitting back nibbling popcorn and twiddling her thumbs. It’s a lot of hard work. The band here that you heard this morning, weren’t they great? But how did they get to be so good? It’s because blood, sweat, and tears were behind what you saw, just like the blood, sweat, and tears of effort, perseverance, overcoming, and working through the difficult steps allowed Ariana and her friends Tim, Lou, and all these wonderful dancers to grace us with the beauty of the human form.

When our Heavenly Father is asking us, “Look, my sons and daughters, my beautiful rough-cut diamonds, I want you to go through life and really, really work hard to become that true son and true daughter,” I think some of us in the room sometimes say, “Why should we work so hard? Why is life so difficult? I want the good life now.” But what God is really saying is, “Look, my dear children, when you really want to strive for a life of fulfillment, a life of satisfaction, rarely is the greatest satisfaction gained from ease and comfort.”

The greatest satisfaction in life, just like winning the Gold Medal at the Olympics, comes when the process is an excruciating and arduous one. But because you know that if you keep on pursuing your dream, if you keep at it, and if you keep believing that success will be achieved, then the inspired ambition that you hold in your heart can be realized because once you know that you’re the son or daughter of God and feel it in your soul, there’s an incredible strength that comes from knowing who we are. That knowledge of who we are as sons or daughters is the most wonderful foundation for overcoming any kind of difficulty that we have to face.

In the second section of Isaiah, Chapter 43, verse 2, the prophet Isaiah says, “Walk through the water and I [God] will be there and through the rivers, and the river will not overwhelm you. Walk through the fire, and you will not be scorched or burned. The flames will not consume you.” The prophet Isaiah is not telling us, “Walk in the water, walk on the water, walk over the water.” He is saying, “Walk through the water. You are going to get wet. But continue to walk, even if you feel like you’re going to sink. Continue to walk, continue to move, continue to tread.”

It’s very interesting what he says next: “Walk through the rivers and the rivers will not overwhelm you.” When I read this passage, I was thinking about my boys, who love to work out. They’re fantastic specimens, are they not? Maybe I’m a bit biased, but I just love them to death. But they’re very conscious of wanting to be fit and healthy. I fully support all that they’re doing. When they’re working out with the barbells or doing abdominal crunches, they’re always going for what you call the slow burn. It’s not the quick burst of energy that’s going to give you the greatest muscle mass or the leanness that you want; it’s the slow burn that gives you the greatest result.

I think a lot of married couples in the audience here know exactly what I’m talking about, right? Sometimes marriage feels like a slow burn, and maybe we don’t get to look in God’s mirror and see the lean muscle mass that we’ve acquired over the years. Maybe we’re so consumed with the slow burn, which is excruciating. My boys will be doing crunches until they look like they cannot go on. It’s when they hit that moment when they feel they cannot go on that I hear them say, “Seven more!” Or twenty-one more, or forty more. What they are going for is that slow burn.

When they work out they know how far they can go, but they also know the limit. They know when they cannot do any more. That’s the wonderful thing about having a coach. When coaches take you through a workout process, they’re pushing you toward experiencing that excruciating slow burn, but when they feel you’re on the verge of a heart attack, they’ll say stop.

When you listen to this passage in Isaiah and God says to walk through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you, God is being like the coach looking at his children who are feverishly and furiously doing their abdominal crunches. Here we are, feeling like we cannot go on, but maybe God might whisper to us, “Three more.” God might whisper to someone else, “Seven more.” He might whisper to another person, “Twenty-one more.” But when God promises that the rivers will not overwhelm us, what he is saying is, “Look, I’m your heavenly Parent. I’m your coach. I’m watching over you. I know when you cannot go any longer.”

This passage meant so much to me as a mother who has given birth to five children. This is exactly what I experienced, the excruciating slow burn that builds into -- I don’t know what else to call it, a volcanic eruption, maybe? When you’re about to have that child, you feel like you are going to die. You feel like you are going to rip in half. But just at that moment when you feel that the rivers are overwhelming you and you’re going to die, God says, “Okay, time to come out.” And out they came, and aren’t they beautiful?

God is encouraging us, “Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid to go through the waters, through the rivers, through the flame. Don’t let your eyes deceive you.” Have faith that God is watching over us, that our Heavenly Parent is always watching over the children. When you read a bit further down and you get the same chapter, verse 5, God reminds us in a very loving way, “Do not fear, do not be afraid, I’m here.”

When I read the next passage, I feel it is truly a fulfillment of everything that is taking place here in America and also everything that is taking place with the advent of our True Parents. For me as a woman, having the True Parents as messianic figures is incredibly important because our precious, lovely, and beautiful True Mother is truly an incredible human being who overcame the difficulty of being a woman in a society that was not the most loving. Not only did she thrive because she knew she was the daughter of God, but she went on to find this incredible man called Reverend Moon. She was a smart one; she married him. And together they became the True Parents.

For the first time in history, somebody could stand in the position of the restored Eve. This is something that has never happened, that was only the dream of Jesus Christ when he was crucified on the cross and could not have the opportunity to experience the beauty of creating an ideal family. Fast-forward 2,000 years and in our True Parents we have that opportunity. We see that opportunity. They’ve tried their best over the years to build a wonderful family.

But I’ve got to tell it to you straight, brothers and sisters. As great as my father is, there’s always a great woman behind a great man. It’s my mother that kept the family together. It’s my mother and my mother’s voice as the conscience for so many of her children that kept us inspired, that kept us wanting to become who we were meant to be, who we were destined to be. She is still an inspiration to all of us today. Truly that is because of our mother’s great effort and overcoming her own personal suffering and difficulty.

Sometimes I joke with her, “The Kleenex Company should really pay you a commission because you’ve been its most loyal customer.” She’s passed that tradition down to her daughters, and we’re good clients, too. Maybe I should call the CEO of Kleenex to see if we can work something out.

What I mean is that my mother and my family are no strangers to suffering, heartache, and difficulty. But I saw my mother overcoming all these difficulties and still maintaining her dignity as a daughter of God, living her philosophy of simple elegance, which is my philosophy for life. It’s something that I want to be. It’s something I aspire to. We have our most precious True Parents here with us, and God has given all of us the greatest gift. This time is not going to come again. They’re not going to live here forever. Their physical bodies will sometime pass away. Having them here with us, having them here in America today is an incredible blessing.

I think a lot of us here in the room are familiar with biblical prophecy. Those of us who understand the Divine Principle know why our True Father is the Second Coming and why our True Parents are so precious. But when I was reading this book of Isaiah and I came across this passage, I thought that Isaiah 43:5 is really prophetic for our community. It starts out by telling the reader, “Don’t be afraid; I am here. Then it says, “Your offspring will come from the East, and they will be gathered in the West.”

When I read that, I think about our True Parents coming from Korea, the East. They came upon the world and graced our lives with our eternal partners; it is through their blessing and by grafting onto the True Olive Tree that our Second Generation came to be. Our offspring came from them, and they’re from the East. It says that they will be gathered in the West. Here in America and the Western world, we stand on the foundation of Christianity. We stand on the foundation of Jesus Christ’s work. The Bible is reminding us of the significance of our time right now. This whole chapter is really talking about the promise of redemption. God is promising redemption to the reader.

I really felt that this was meant for our community. Here we have our most precious True Parents coming from the East. Of course it would have been better had Christianity fully united with our True Parents, but still the foundation is there for us to harvest if we can truly unite and realize that people of all major religions are all children of God.

When Father says that America must play a providential role in this history, what he is saying is that just as America has been so blessed and now is the superpower of the world, our Heavenly Parent is asking us to think about how we’re going to use this ability to influence. When the Bible says through Isaiah that your offspring will come from the East, it’s a prophecy of the Second Generation that we so enjoyed last night, and the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and all of posterity that will come after we’re gone.

It says that the great harvest needs to be gathered here in the West, that the West must play a role in truly helping our True Parents, in truly doing our best to unite with our True Parents. I think it’s incredibly prophetic that not only do Father and Mother come from the land of Korea, but also the youngest son, who has been anointed as the spiritual head of our movement, is concentrating his efforts in Korea. As Americans, should we not unite with him? And should we not help him? Should we not reap the harvest that is waiting for us?

Brothers and sisters, the prophet Isaiah continues, saying to the North, “Give them up.” He says to the South, “Do not withhold.” When I read this passage, knowing that one of the last great dreams of my father is the unification of North and South Korea, I realized that God was giving a message to the North Koreans, “Do not hold my children. You need to give them up because they belong to God.” Communism denies the existence of God, but our True Parents came to teach us that God is our Heavenly Parent. God is telling the South, “Do not withhold. Do not withhold your love, do not be afraid. Trust in God. Work with your brothers and sisters as if they are your own. Do not think about how to exploit the North. Do not withhold what is truly genuine in your heart.” And what is genuine in every Korean’s heart is desire for Korea to be unified.

The prophet Isaiah continues on, saying, “Bring my sons from far away, and my daughters from the ends of the world.” Many of the sons of our Heavenly Father went away in the pursuit of their own wealth, treasure, or independence. But bring them back, our Heavenly Father and Mother is saying. Many of our daughters, our sisters, were living as if at the end of the earth. They were faceless, voiceless, and having no presence. But in the dawn of this Pacific Rim Era, our Heavenly Parent is asking us, “Be present. Shine your beautiful face as a daughter of God, and speak the words of true love. In so doing you will not just empower your brothers, you will not just encourage your fathers, you will not just nurture and support your sons, but you will be instrumental in bringing about the creation of a new generation of peace, a new generation of young people who truly understand that God is our Heavenly parent and we belong to the same family.”

It is our honor and dignity to love each other, to be kind to each other, to be compassionate with each other, to group together and fight against injustice, just the way Dr. Lowery, Dr. Abernathy, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., did with the civil rights movement. We have seen the fruits of the civil rights movement. Don’t you think it’s high time, brothers and sisters, that we see the fruits of what true love really is?

I saw that last night in our children. Our children are our stars. Our children are the hope. If we can truly inspire them to be more than what they think they can be, which really is the duty of a parent, can you imagine, if the whole world is wishing everyone’s children well, what kind of a world this could be?

God reminds us at the end of verse 7, “I have created you in my name for the sake of my glory.” He is reminding his children that our lives, if you really think about it, are not really about ourselves. It’s really about what we can leave behind. When I was growing up, my mother told us, “Always leave the place that you enter better than how you found it.” This has been inculcated into all of us and ingrained into our souls.

What God is reminding us that we came into this world naked and we will leave this world naked. Let’s not get caught up in materialistic baggage or the pursuit of things that will not last in the hereafter. We need to realize that our lives are really an opportunity to have an experience of self-discovery by going through the waters, by going through the rivers and by not being afraid; by going through the flame because we know that our Heavenly Parent, our coach and our teacher and our most ardent supporter, is watching over us each and every step of the way.

I know that there are times, even for me, when I feel, “Where is God?” There ain’t no sunshine without God. Sometimes you ask yourself, “Where is God?” God is just reminding us, “You are my eternal children. You are my eternal sons and daughters. All you need to do is to speak from within, to allow yourself to feel through prayer or meditation, through concentration, through reflection, through writing, and to allow yourself to turn the switch on.” Then we as the light bulb become a brilliant light unto the world because we’re plugged into this incredible energy source called God, our Heavenly Parent. We are experiencing the true circuitry called true love that will allow us to express ourselves, our own uniquely gifted and talented selves so beautifully unto the world and thereby give great joy and comfort to people around us.

I feel that the experience of last night is really only the beginning of many great things to come. I often like to tell members that the First Generation suffered so much in the time of the wilderness, but in this time of settlement we really need to see our children prosper, becoming internally excellent and externally excellent. I thought last night was a wonderful step in that direction.

I’ve got to tell you, brothers and sisters, I got to dance with Bishop Kim, the Continental Director. He was learning on the spot, but he picked up the three steps pretty well, and he even spun me a couple of times. We have a bishop who’s willing to boogie with us, and that is a good thing, brothers and sisters. So let’s boogie out of the wilderness.

Rev. Ken Sudo has given the True Family countless Divine Principle lectures, and I remember how he pronounced the words true love, making them sound like “tlue rub.” Here at Lovin’ Life I’m always encouraging people to practice “tlue rubbing.” But if you listen to the way he says “tlue,” it kind of sounds like “through.” So it’s “through rubbing” each other or, for the Second Generation, the young people in the audience, it’s going through the rubbing process that your parents are putting you through, maybe with a chisel or a hammer, but they’re doing it out of love. They love you more than anything. They love you more than life itself. Isn’t it wonderful to know that you have parents who truly care? If that is not a blessing, I don’t know what is. So, Second Generation, honor your parents and be grateful to them.

And First Generation, please help me empower our children so that by coming together into this incredible community that we are, we can truly realize everyone’s dream. As a daughter, what I would like is to really see my father’s dream realized, which has already been prophesied in the Book of Isaiah, which I shared with you this morning.

So brothers and sisters, please go in high spirits and know that our God, our Heavenly Parent, and our True Parents love you with all their hearts. You are truly their children. I often like to joke that they really do love you more than us. We are happy for that.

Please go, knowing that you are blessed. Please be those wonderful sons and daughters that all of us are destined to be. So God bless. Have a great week.

Isaiah, chapter 43

1: But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.

2: When you pass through the waters I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned
and the flame shall not consume you.

3: For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.

4: Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.

5: Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you;

6: I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,

7: every one who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made." 

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