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.
Last year, I was at the church of Hyeon Soo Lim. He is the Canadian pastor who was imprisoned in North Korea while providing humanitarian aid. Fortunately, he was released in 2017. 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 worshipping alone for 130 Sundays.
Hardship can draw us closer to God — or push us further from Him. Hyeon Soo Lim chose to draw closer. What an example!
Paul said that nothing "will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord". (Romans 8:39b NIV) That includes imprisonment, hard labour, and loneliness. And it also includes bad days, feeling sad, regret, and stress.
The reason that I say this today is because I'm sure that some of us are going through a tough time right now. So, let's believe what the Bible says in Romans 8:39, and be encouraged and inspired by the example of Hyeon Soo Lim.
Hardship can draw us closer to God — or push us further from Him.
Which do you choose?
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your unshakable love in Christ. Rescue us, strengthen us, and shine the light that can come only from You! In Jesus' powerful name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Be Present At Our Table Lord" (Lyrics)