Reprinted from an email sent to me:
But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. – Hebrews 2:6-8
Today we hear from co-worker, Jan Vermeer about the physical and spiritual challenges in North Korea, number one in Christian persecuting countries…
The inspired writer of the book of Hebrews says that everything was put in subjection under Jesus Christ (2:8). Does His supremacy actually show in this country full of idols, hunger and death camps?
The North Korean Church consists of between 200,000 and 400,000 members. Fiercely persecuted, all of them hide their beliefs from the authorities. The church is truly an underground church, divided into thousands of small networks and cell groups. Most Christians hardly know other Christians outside their families. In case of an arrest, not many other Christians are in danger. The most visible proof of their faith is the possession of a Bible, which is illegal and punishable by death. Probably nowhere else in the world are so many copies of God’s Word literally hidden underground.
But the church is definitely growing. Many Christians keep their faith secret and are surviving. Open Doors is able to support almost 60,000 Christians with Bibles, books, training, food, clothes and medicines. Yet it is the individual tragedies that make it difficult to see, with spiritual eyes, that Jesus Christ is supreme even in North Korea.
For example, a middle-aged man was arrested after the police found a Bible in his home. He is being terribly beaten in prison, as we learn from released prisoners who witnessed it. “His face is deformed. He told us he is certain he will die.” How can Christ be supreme if one of his disciples is tortured so severely? I’ve known this man for a long time,” says a Christian friend of the prisoner. “When he came to faith, he made the decision that one day he would die for Christ. Every Christian in North Korea has made that choice. Every Christian in my country has the spirit of martyrdom in him. If you lose that spirit for one second, you cannot carry the burden of being a follower of Jesus. My friend knew that one day he could get caught and on that day he had to be steadfast in the faith and loyal to Jesus. I am convinced he can take the suffering because he constantly reminds himself of the joy that is set before him.”
The suffering North Korean Christians reveal Christ’s supremacy because they look at the reward – Jesus Christ Himself. He is our Treasure. He calls us to Himself, to suffer outside the gate and bear the reproach He endured (Hebrews 13:12-14). The kingdom of the Kim’s is limited in size and time. The Kingdom of our Lord is eternal and will come with power!
I will rejoice in the supremacy of Jesus Christ, my Lord, over everything and everyone.
Lord, I too rejoice in the joy set before me with You. Keep me steadfast, faithful and loyal.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS) – A daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks
© 2010 Open Doors International. Used by permission.
Open Doors works in the world’s most oppressive countries, strengthening Christians to stand strong in the face of persecution and equipping them to shine Christ’s light in these dark places. Open Doors empowers persecuted Christians by supplying Bibles, training Christian leaders, developing Christian communities and ensuring prayer, presence and advocacy for these suffering believers.