“Speak when you’re spoken to” was the maxim with which most of us grew up. I’m trying to live by it now . Don’t say anything unless there is something to say. Wait for the message. Here’s what comes today, in the form of a question:
Where is the greatest danger for the Christian believer today? If you could choose to live in a place where you, the church, the world perceive the greatest threat to your personal safety, your character, your soul, your eternal relationship with Christ, where would you go?
I do not suggest that it is given to us to decide such matters. The Lord of the harvest must send this one here and that one there. So it’s good that we not necessarily respond to our decision as though our thinking process is what makes the church go ’round.
But where would you go? I have portrayed North Korea as one of the most horrible places a Christian, or anyone could live. No liberty. No church, at least above ground. Tortured and tormented for naming publicly the name of Christ. Abject poverty. No modern conveniences except near Pyongyang. Big Brother alive and well and watching every move, and reporting it too. Oh my! Dangerous!
But out of North Korea come saints who walk with God. Not because American missionaries come in and out of that nation;they’re not allowed. They don’t thrive on American dollars and conveniences. Our gifts are mis-directed and hoarded by the inner circle. How do they possibly thrive without American riches and ingenuity? What drives a refugee who has finally escaped the nightmare, to turn around and walk right back in with Bibles, tracts and personal testimonies, to share Christ with neighbors and family? Yes, it happens in this dangerous land.
Danger you say? I agree. Yet when these souls pass on to the next life, it is all soon forgotten. These suffering saints are received in Christ’s embrace and eternity begins in His arms. Makes North Korea look a little safer after all.
Consider fellow-nation USA. Safety everywhere you say? Oh, I agree there also. No guns. Well, actually lots of guns, but most people can move freely to places where guns aren’t an issue. No persecution. No problem with church attendance. Why, a church on every corner. Plenty to eat and drink and enjoy. A comfort zone if ever there was one!
The dictator of North Korea has deceived his people into thinking that he is a god. Fear of failing this god has created this nation. But Americans are convinced of lies just as serious. Even Christians. They are convinced, for example, that a bag of air carried from one end of a field to another by a highly paid athlete, or a rawhide sphere slammed by a stick over a wall is gravely important and worth whiling hours and hours away as their safe little nations sinks deeper into its sins and faces the wrath of God.
Where are the heroic saints emerging emerging from this land? Believers who still go to church better not be asked to stay over an hour per meeting. The prayer meeting has all but died, and its format has been dead for a long time. Music is worldly, messages are minuscule, and evangelism has stopped in so many of these period pieces. Soon the world will speak of post-Christian America as we speak of Europe today.
Did we say this is a safe place? Not for the soul. Temptation is all around.
The answer for most of us is not to move to North Korea. But to repent. And to be such odd ducks for Jesus here, for holiness produces such, that the persecution will follow us too. Where is the cross in this nation? Surely Jesus has one for you, and it’s not that sore toe or rheumatism. The world can boast of all those things.
It’s the sold-out devotion to a living God that brings the wrath of the Enemy. Without it, our facing of eternity may be more hazardous than we had bargained for.
“Must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free?
“No, there’s a cross for everyone, and there’s a cross for me.”