Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The dove returned

We heard last week that North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong Un ordered the execution of 33 Christians. As we scoured the internet, we could only find bits and pieces of news, tainted with staged interviews and scripted press releases. From this distance, it is hard to distinguish truth from propaganda.

I found this sliver of information to be consistent in the reports: The 33 Christians were accused of planting 500 underground churches.

Our hearts swelled with a joyful sorrow.

Thirty-three. As it was in the days of Noah, the dove returned in the evening, bearing in her mouth a freshly plucked olive leaf. Ironically, the news of their death sentence is a sign of life — the Lord is at work. So, we receive this dire news with hope. The Body of Christ is alive in North Korea. Against all odds, the church is growing.

This is remarkable given the degree of persecution against Christians there. Following Christ comes at a great cost, sacrifices of many kinds. The "three-generation" policy makes North Korea the most brutal and suppressive regiment against Christianity in the world. Not only would the accused individual be sent to labor camps, but their families, their parents and children, would all be put away. Imagine having to watch your elderly parents and young children die of starvation and exhaustion — because you were found to be in possession of a gospel tract, or a few pages of the Bible.

The blood of God's children cries out from the ground. We must keep our brothers and sisters in our prayers. Pray not only for the 33 saints, but pray for their families, pray for the underground churches, pray for the pastors, and all the saints. Pray that they would be strong and courageous. Pray that they are somehow able to hear God's Word. Let us keep praying for them with all vigilance.

My sister Jean shared this hymn with us last week. She took an old hymn and gave it a new melody and a bridge. As I listened to it the first few times, I was filled with curiosity and admiration for Jean's gift. But as I started singing with her, this song really got to me.

So, I am sharing with you the soundtrack of my prayers for North Korea. I praise the Lord for their testimony, how they hastened to follow Christ, despite the many waters of persecution.

I am hastening, slowly.
Would you come with me? I would love your company.

Stanzas 1 & 2:
Resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world's delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.

Resolved to go to the Savior,
Leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true One, He is the just One,
He hath the words of life.

I will hasten to Him,
Hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest,
I will come to Thee.

Stanzas 3 & 4:
Resolved to follow the Savior,
Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth,
He is the living Way.

Resolved to enter the kingdom
Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me,
Still will I enter in.

I will hasten to Him,
Hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest,
I will come to Thee.

Stanza 5:
Resolved, and who will go with me?
Come, friends, without delay,
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,
We'll walk the heav'nly way.

He's awaiting that glorious day
When His bride sees Him face to face
He's preparing her for that day
Dressed in white and adorned in grace
A queen readied for her place.
Shall we hasten to Him?
Hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest,
We will come to Thee.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful hymn, beautiful rendition, beautiful moment.
Heart moved and silenced. -wini
Thanks Jean.

Anonymous said...

Oh jean I have been back again and again to sing with you. God is ministering to me. Thank you for sharing. I think i will download you and put you on my ipad. -wini

Jean Tsen said...

Praise the Lord! Thank you Wini; your being edified and moved to worship is the biggest encouragement to me!