Since my first trip to China in 2001 I’ve been studying the Chinese language (Zhongwen) and after all that time I still feel like a beginner. During that first trip a Chinese friend told me that I may be able to speak Chinese but as to reading and writing the characters -- forget it! I read that on the average a person would have to know three thousand characters just to get by on a daily basis - reading a book or newspaper for example. Even with that warning from my friend I still enjoy studying the Chinese characters. The Chinese word for crisis is weiji, two characters (wei and ji). Wei means danger and ji means opportunity. Now we usually don’t associate danger with opportunity but sometimes in the face of danger we do have opportunities. One good example of this can be found in the 21st and 22nd chapters of Acts. In these chapters we read of Paul being arrested amid cries from the crowd to kill him. This was a crisis, Paul was in danger (wei). But, just before the soldiers took Paul away he asked and was granted permission to speak to the crowd. Chapter 22 records Paul’s message to the crowd. Even the face of danger (wei) Paul saw an opportunity (ji) to preach the Gospel.
Now, since “discovering” the word weiji I’ve read articles that stress that too much can be made about the meaning of weiji. However, I believe that sometimes, like Paul, we may find ourselves in a crisis that is very dangerous but at that same moment we have an opportunity. Recently I saw on the news about two young men who saved someone from a car wreck and after they rescued the driver the car caught fire. Weiji! Danger and opportunity!