“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.” (Matt 5:10, MSG)
Who do we prefer to deal with: Committed or uncommitted individuals? Some believers like to have one foot in God’s kingdom while the other remains in the worldly realm. Such endeavors truly lead nowhere, except for discouragement and defeat. The same is true with uncommitted marriages. They bring death instead of life.
Some individuals feel quite uncomfortable in the presence of those committed to our Heavenly Father, even though this is not our purpose. “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:20-21, NIV)
No wonder some bosses, principals, etc. yell at those of us who try to do our work to the glory of God. They are not used to being loved no matter what. It would seem that all they wish to do is to break us, and when it doesn’t happen, they stand wondering.
Some go a step further, and persecute believers. Are we even aware that, “More Christians were martyred in the 20th century than in all other centuries combined” (christianity.com)? Right now, more than hundred million Christians are being persecuted around the world!
Truly, none of us delight in persecution. We would rather live in peace and harmony; but more often than not, this is not the case. We may have to leave our homes and belongings, but even that is insignificant compared to being in the presence of our Father. After all, our Heavenly Father is our everything: “You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.” (Heb 10:34, NIV)
When we focus on our Heavenly Dad, something quite unusual happens: Our sorrow turns into joy, for persecution leads us to a deeper relationship with our God: “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” (Acts 5:41, NIV2) “But the Jewish leaders…stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region…And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:50, 52, NIV2)
Let me share a testimony that demonstrates this very nicely:
One of the most moving presentations at the Cape Town 2010 Congress on World Evangelisation was presented by an 18 year old North Korean girl, Gyeong Ju Son.
Gyeong Ju Son was born in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. Her father was a high ranking communist government leader, an assistant to the North Korean leader Kim Jongil.
In 1998, when Gyeong Jun was only six years old, her father fell out of favour with the political leadership and the family fled to China. There her parents encountered the grace and love of God and were converted to Christ. A few months later her pregnant mother died of leukemia.
“It was in the midst of this family tragedy that my father joined a Bible Study led by missionaries from South Korea and America and after a time his strong desire was to become a missionary to North Korea.”
In 2001 her father was arrested by the Chinese police and deported to North Korea where he was imprisoned. Her father’s faith was only strengthened during his three year incarceration in North Korea. After Gyeong Ju Son was reunited with her father, he chose to return to North Korea. “Instead of enjoying a life of religious freedom in South Korea, he chose to return to North Korea to share Christ’s message of life and hope amongst the hopeless people of his homeland.”
In 2006 her father’s work was discovered by the North Korean communist government and once again he was imprisoned, and, as far as she knows, executed for refusing to renounce his faith in Christ.
In China, Gyeong Ju was adopted by a Christian family. Their love, compassion and protection of her made a deep impression. When they left for America she was given the opportunity to go to South Korea. While waiting at the South Korean Consulate in Beijing, Gyeong Ju’s life was dramatically changed when she encountered the Lord Jesus Christ in a dream. He said:”Walk with Me. Yes, you have lost your earthly father, but I am your Heavenly Father.”
She surrendered her heart, soul, mind and strength to the Lord Jesus Christ to do with as He will’s. She was flooded with a deep love for the lost people of North Korea and of the need to bring the message of Jesus to them. This became her life’s purpose. “I look back over my short life and I see God’s hand everywhere: 6 years in North Korea, 11 in China, and now in South Korea. Everything I suffered; all the sadness and grief, all that I have experienced and learned; I want to give it all to God and use my life for His Kingdom. In this way I also hope to bring honour to my father.”
Gyeong Ju Son is still a student and she intends to study political science and diplomacy at university and then to dedicate her life to working for the rights of the voiceless in North Korea.
“Brothers and Sisters here in this place, I humbly ask you to pray that the same light of God’s grace and mercy that reached my father and my mother and now me, will one day soon dawn upon the people of North Korea, my people.”
As one, the thousands of participants at the Cape Town 2010 Congress on World Evangelisation rose in a standing ovation with the most thunderous applause in praise to God, and in solidarity with this young Korean girl and her vision for reaching North Korea for Christ.
(Reprinted with permission from Dr. Peter Hammond firstname.lastname@example.org , Frontline Fellowship, P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725, Cape Town South Africa)
(To access the entire “Majestic Mountain View” devotional series, please click here.)