When we hear about other people going through hardship in a noble way, it can actually be a source of encouragement for us.
First, we sympathize with their situation and offer help.
But it can also make us think: ‘If they can do it, so can I!’ We can learn from their example.
Recently I was at the church of Hyeon Soo Lim. He is the pastor who was imprisoned in North Korea for his faith. Fortunately he was released last year. Praise God!
For two years he was forced to do hard labour. He had to dig holes in the frozen ground with his bare hands. He also had to break apart chunks of coal. Upon his return he talked about his battle with terrible loneliness.
So, what did he do? Mope around in an endless pity-party?
He spent what little free time he had by reading 100 books on North Korea, reading the Bible in English and Korean five times, memorizing more than 700 Bible verses, and worshiping alone for 130 Sundays.
Hardship can draw you closer—or push you further—from God. Hyeon Soo Lim chose to draw closer. What an example!
In Romans 8:39 Paul says that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” That includes imprisonment, hard labour and loneliness… and it also includes bad days, feeling sad, regret and stress.
The reason I say this today is because I’m sure that some of you are going through a tough time right now. So believe what the Bible says in Romans 8:39, and be encouraged and inspired by the example of Hyeon Soo Lim.
Hardship can draw you closer—or push you further—from God.
Which do you choose?
By Matthew Ruttan
-My small group is engaged in a letter writing project in support of persecuted Christians (like Hyeon Soo Lim above). Here’s a post that tells you more about persecution and what letter-writing can do.