Ya Boy Kongming, ep. 4: When God Leaves You Hanging

Once again, Ya Boy Kongming proves to have some surprisingly rich depths beneath its catchy surface this week. The hidden pearl this time lies in the developing relationship between Kongming and Eiko, which is part professional, part friendship, and in this episode at least, all allegory for the believer’s relationship with God, as Eiko’s growing trust in Kongming is put to the test. The way it all plays out, and the realizations that Eiko comes to along the way, can offer some valuable wisdom for those seasons in life when it feels like God leaves you hanging.

So, let’s dive in and plumb those pulsing EDM depths!

So you can listen to the OP while you read. You’re welcome.

Picking up where the previous week left off, episode four, “Kongming Lights the Way”, opens with Eiko being given the opportunity to choose the next waypoint in her journey toward the big stage: she can accept a gig at a small festival drawing a guaranteed audience of 10,000, or take a shot at an event thirty times the size, but with strings attached. To qualify for the big festival, she must accumulate 100,000 likes on social media. That’s more than seventy times as many likes as her most popular post has garnered, and that was for a video of kittens, so… maybe she’d be better off with the sure fire slot at the smaller event, right? That’s what Owner recommends. 

But after seeing how Kongming has come through for her twice now, so unexpectedly and to a degree above and beyond all she could have asked for or imagined, Eiko has started to catch a new vibe. She’s started to dream a bit more, and step out a little more boldly. 

Or at least she does so for the split second during which she makes her decision. And so Eiko chooses the path with the impossible mountain smack dab in the middle of the way. But she’s got Kongming on her side now, right? 100,000 likes might be impossible for Eiko alone, but it will be a piece of cake for Kongming! Right? Hey, Kongming…you’ve got a plan, right?

The problem is, although Kongming reiterates his dedication to her cause, he isn’t forthcoming with any clever strategies. True, up until now he hasn’t been the most transparent with his planning, but he’s always reassured Eiko that he had things in hand. And in fact, up until now, Eiko’s always been a bit oblivious of the true nature of the challenges set before them. In episode two, she naively thought that the singer she so admired was seeking to support her, not realizing that the woman was actually using Eiko as a foil to boost her own popularity. Then in episode three, Eiko was oblivious to the fact that there was even a competition going on with the band at the neighboring stage. She was just stoked to be playing a festival for the first time. On both occasions, Eiko’s sights were set very low, as her expectations for what she was capable of, and what opportunities could be open to her, were barely registering on the radar. 

But now, with two victories in her pocket, Eiko has begun to aspire to the career she’s secretly always wanted. She even articulates for the first time the full extent of her dream: to perform at the world’s largest EDM festival, on a stage to which only established artists are invited. So this time, instead of stumbling into an opportunity, she strides forward deliberately, with her eyes a little more open. This time, she’s aware of the challenges that lie before her, and so she wants to hear from Kongming about what his plans are for snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. She turns to him for the first time in genuine expectation.

And he has nothing to say. No plan to share. He simply agrees that this is a very challenging task indeed. And then he goes clubbing. 

Not the response she was hoping for…

What?! 

Eiko is left hanging. Alone and feeling neglected, she angry-cleans (mood).

Let’s pause here a second. Is it just me, or does this not sound familiar? Is this not, like, the very definition of walking with God? At first, we’re oblivious to the full extent of the challenges, battles even, around us, as we stumble into grace. We learn to see how God carries us, prepares our way, protects us, opens doors and all round lives up to the names of El Roi, the God who sees me, and Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide. We’re just happy to be singing a little song as we begin to notice this deeper reality that is a life lived in relationship with a good God. 

But as we grow in relationship with him, we begin to catch his heart and realize that the dreams we have, those secret aspirations and impossible ambitions, were seeds planted there by God himself, who also has dreams for us. And we begin to realize just how much greater his dreams are for us than what we dared to have on our own, and how willing he is to partner with us and face the impossible with us, to do a new thing, sing a new song, establish us and prosper our souls.

And so the scope, quality, and nature of our dreams shift. They become grander, wilder, as we begin to dream no longer on our own, but with God: with a partner who supports us, yes, but also with the One whose vision and capacity for creativity is so far beyond our own, and with the One who is holy. Our dreams meld together with his, and are purified and amplified as they are set on fire with his presence, his fiery Spirit. We dream of truly impossible things, and the more we know of him, the more possible they become.

So we begin to step out, to stride more boldly, knowing that we’re not alone. It’s not arrogance that drives us, but rather confidence in the One who is teaching us truly to dream with him and also to dream like him.

And then, nothing. Silence. And that immediate sick feeling, “Oh no! What have I done! This was a crazy idea! Ahhhh! I’ve made a mistake, I became arrogant, I’ve been making all this up this whole time and now I’m doomed to fail, to be punished for my pride.”

This is what happens to Eiko the moment after she chooses to dream big and take an impossible leap toward that dream. The doubts assault her and she’s left doubled up on the ground in her regret and fear and shame.

And Kongming is… distant. He and Eiko still work together at the nightclub and chat, but he’s not around as much. He’s doing his own thing, leaving Eiko behind in her doubt and worry, obsessively counting her low numbers on Pinstagram.

What do you do when you step out, in keeping with the path you’ve been walking with God, and at the critical moment, he seems to leave you hanging? 

Well, you angry-clean for starters. No, really: you do the job that’s before you, which in Eiko’s case means cleaning the bar after closing. (It’s also a great metaphor for getting your house in order.) And then you do what little you can toward confronting that mountain before you. For Eiko, this means singing, practicing guitar, getting on with writing a new song, and continuing her social media posting. She remains faithful to the path she’s been walking with Kongming, even though he doesn’t seem to be around as much. She keeps taking the steps she can toward their shared dream.

But she does one more important thing as well: she seeks him out. For the first time, Eiko visits his home and enquires of him. She doesn’t accuse him of letting her down, but rather asks him what he does on his day off, listening to what he has to say. In response, he invites her to go clubbing in Roppongi—which prompts Eiko to clench her fist. But rather than indulge her anger or anxiety about the current situation, she extends Kongming a modicum of trust and heads out to the night club district with him. Probably the last thing she wants to be doing right now, truth be told.

As Eiko follows Kongming that evening, he takes her by an unexpected way, and rather than explaining himself or defending his recent aloofness, he simply lets her observe for herself what it is he’s been doing all this while. She has to want to see it though. She has to keep her eyes on him with curiosity instead of accusation in her heart, which admittedly is a tough ask.

But later that night, once her walls are down, she finally sees it: Kongming has been networking on her behalf. He’s been building the kinds of connections she is going to need to take her record of likes from 1,400 to 100,000, and because it’s Kongming we’re talking about, probably all the way to 500,000! Every conversation he’s had, every selfie he’s taken with someone—it’s all been with Eiko in mind. 

And that’s how it is with God too. He is always—every moment of the day—powered by his thoughts toward us. There is never a moment, not even the fraction of a second, where he is not thinking of you, of me, of each one of us.

And his thoughts are not futile; they’re not wishful thinking. Instead, they are vibrant and active and every word he speaks gets things done. Even the articles and prepositions and the filler phrases that make things sound more poetic: every single syllable is full of purpose and meaning and those purposes and meanings are related directly to us. He prepares our way. He prepares a place for us in his own home, a seat right next to him in his throne room.

But God’s thoughts are also different from ours, as Kongming’s are from Eiko’s. For Kongming, the timing wasn’t right yet to explain everything to Eiko. And in fact, he still hasn’t laid out his plan before her, even by the end of the episode. Instead, he judged it best to leave her to concentrate on her music, while he prepared her way.

It took Eiko awhile to see this and for her trust of Kongming to outweigh her frustration with him. It can be like that for us with God sometimes too. But as it did for Eiko, trust can start small, with a little conversation and a simple statement of faith. And that trust is the open door to the patience and confidence we need to get us through the waiting.

There’s still one more thing that Eiko needs to do though, and that is to prepare her heart for a dream come true. Or in more practical terms, she has to stop putting herself down and begin to recognize in herself someone who is capable of living out the dream she has, and more than that, she needs to recognize herself as being someone who is also worthy of doing so. She must stop speaking of herself in derogatory terms, as “just little ol’ me”.

And so over a bowl of udon, Kongming gently rebukes her: it is time for her to step into a greater level of confidence and stop fettering herself with words that put herself down. And in an instant, Kongming uncovers the wound in Eiko’s heart, the one that has kept her from pursuing her dream wholeheartedly up until now, and as she opens up to him about it, sharing her fears, hurts and dreams, the two embark on a new, deeper level of fellowship together. 

There’s something really beautiful that happens in this final exchange between the two. Kongming speaks of Eiko’s relationship with music as a “water-fish fellowship”, explaining that it means “having a friend who is indispensable”. Here, he’s honoring her dream, and its importance in having helped her through the rough times in her life, before he was a part of it. But Eiko’s eyes and heart have been opened this episode; she has grown in her trust of Kongming. And she recognizes that it is he who is her water-fish.

And so she she honors him in return: “I guess the two of us are like mellow chips.” Ahem. The word is fellowship, Eiko. Fellowship. But yeah, you are. 

And so are we. We too are mellow chips with the One who partners with us and fills us with the confidence, vision, and heart to dream impossible dreams with him.

So go on, beautiful dreamer, go on and dream! Maybe you need to do some cleaning, or take some baby steps toward the dream God’s put on your heart. Maybe you need to stop putting yourself down, like Eiko, and holding yourself prisoner to the small, hurtful words of others. Maybe you just need to seek your Kongming out and listen, taking him up on his invitation to spend some time together, perhaps in an unexpected way.

Whatever the case may be, you can know this for certain: that mountain between you and your dream? God’s got a strategy for it. And he’s a better tactician even than Kongming.


Ya Boy Kongming can be streamed on HiDIVE.

6 thoughts on “Ya Boy Kongming, ep. 4: When God Leaves You Hanging

  1. This was such a moving post and really appreciate you sharing Claire! I found it to be deeply encouraging!!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that! I found it to be such a moving episode and a real encouragement for myself too! I love how their relationship is developing. What a gem of a show.

  2. I’ve been waiting for God to answer my prayers for many years, and as the failures keep piling up, I really don’t feel Him working at all.

    1. Sometimes, when the failures come one after another, or God doesn’t respond in the way that I expect he will, I try to do a couple of things. First, I ask myself, “What is it I should be doing in the short term?” It’s healthy to look ahead, but as Claire mentions, we sometimes don’t know what God’s big picture is. It can drive us crazy—or depressed—if what we think should happen isn’t happening. When I focus on what’s in front of me, I’m often reminded that I need to just enjoy God where I am now by fellowshiping with him and other believers, by reading scripture, etc.

      And second, I try to remember why it is I trust him. I’m reminded of how good he is, of how he would go to the greatest depth out of his love for us, of how he’s the father running unabashedly toward the prodigal—me. And that reminds me that he has my good in mind. He is with me and loving me through the pain.

      That said, I know it’s hard when you’re enduring the pain now. Are you on our Discord server? I encourage you to join, where we have a group of believers who are striving to grow, though we all are struggling through various things. And if you’re not inclined, we certainly are willing to at least pray for you, if you’d like us to.

      1. I’m on the Discord server but only log on for the small group. They have been praying for me, but honestly it’s hard to see what the point is.

        1. I get that for sure! And that’s actually a good question to ask. For my part, I’ve got some core things that have basically been unanswered prayers for years now (decades!), and I go through seasons of feeling really discouraged and frustrated about them. Usually when that happens (which the past few months it has), when I stop and think about my relationship with God, I realise that I’ve let those unanswered things, the big mountains in between me and my dreams for my life (and what I think God has for me too) dominate the conversation and the deafening silence about them drown out anything else God might be saying in the meantime.

          That’s why I really loved this episode: it challenged me to focus on just spending time with God, like Eiko does with Kongming, and set aside the mountains for awhile. Whenever I do, I find that I *can* hear him, and I do see him at work in my life — even if it is just small little winks between us, and not the grandiose intervention I wish he would do. (Shawn Bolz’s book _Translating God_ was super helpful with this!) To use the show again as a metaphor, I *still* don’t know how I’m going to get those 100,000 likes, or indeed, even if I ever will. But I do know that he has not forgotten me, he’s not ignoring me. He’s just not doing what I wish he would, but I’m not willing to give up on our relationship over that. He’s still my fish-water mellow chip.

          So I guess when it comes to that question, what’s the point, well, we all need to be able to answer that honestly for ourselves. Why do we want relationship with him? It’s a really good question. Blessing you and cheering you on in spirit as you face these tough things. Father, show your smile to jaszunai today! And to each one of us. Remind us of your presence in our lives.

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