Tonight for the first time in my life I wept for North Korea.
On the second night of the Third Lausanne Congress taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, an 18 year-old girl from North Korea shared her story.
She was born into a wealthy family, her father an assistant to the North Korean leader, Kim Jong II. Eventually her father’s political fortunes shifted, and after being politically persecuted by the North Korean government, he, his wife, and his daughter escaped to China.
In China a relative brought her family to church where her parents came to know Jesus Christ. A few months later, however, her pregnant mother died from Leukemia. Her father started to study the Bible with missionaries and eventually the Lord gave him a strong desire to become a missionary to North Korea. But in 2001 he was reported as a Christian, was arrested by the Chinese police, and was returned to North Korea. Forced to leave his daughter behind in China, he spent three years in prison. During this time the girl shared that it only "made my father’s faith stronger” and that he “cried out to God more desperately rather than complain or blame Him.
After three years he was able to return to China where he was briefly reunited with his daughter. Soon after, however, he gathered Bibles having resolved to return to North Korea to share Christ among that hopeless people. He was given the opportunity to go to South Korea, but he turned them down.
In 2006 he was discovered by the North Korean government and was arrested. There has since been no word from him. In all probability he has been shot to death publicly for treason.
In 2007 this girl, who at the time was not a Christian, was given the opportunity to go to South Korea. While still in China waiting at the Korean Consulate in Beijing to go to South Korea, she saw Jesus in a dream. Jesus, with tears in his eyes, called her by name and said, How much longer are you going to keep me waiting? Walk with me. Yes, you lost your earthly father, but I am your heavenly Father and whatever has happened to you is because I love you.
She knelt and prayed to God for the first time and realized that “God my Father loves and cares for me so very much that he sent his Son Jesus to die for me.” She prayed, “God here I am. I just lay down everything and give you my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength. Please use me as you will.”
Now God has given her a great love for North Korea. She shared that, Just as my father was used there for God’s kingdom, I now desire to be obedient to God. I want to bring the love of Jesus to North Korea.
She closed with the following words:
I look back over my short life and see God’s hand everywhere. Six years in North Korea, 11 years in China, and a time of being in South Korea. Everything that I experienced and love, I want to give it all to God and use my life for His kingdom. I hope to honor my father and bring glory to my heavenly Father by serving God with my whole heart.
I believe God’s heart cries out for the lost people of North Korea. I humbly ask you, my brothers and sisters, to have the same heart of God. Please pray that the same light of God’s grace and mercy that reached my father and my mother and now me will one day come down upon the people of North Korea… my people.
How many of us so easily choose the path of comfort and safety. The path that is our answer to the question, “What is best for me?” But so many of those whom God has used to make some of the greatest Kingdom impact have been those who have not made decisions based on "what is best for me?" (at least “best” in a worldly sense). They made decisions, or perhaps for some it seemed like there was really no decision to make at all, based on an undeniable, unshakable, "illogical", "foolish" passion for Jesus Christ and for His kingdom glory among the lost.
For this girl's father there was a “safe” path before him. The door was open for him to go to South Korea where there was political freedom and religious freedom, where he and his family could have been safe. No prison, no persecution, no pain. Instead he chose the path of danger that led him, Bibles in hand, back to North Korea, the homeland that he loved.
And now his daughter has determined to follow that same path.
Paul wrote the following words in 2 Corinthians 5:13-21.
If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
May God grant us the grace to serve with undeniable, unshakable, illogical, and foolish passion for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom glory among the lost. And may we discover the joy in knowing that such a life is a part of the glorious answer to the question of what is truly best for me.