What is carrying Christ’s presence into the world was like this?
What if every morning we lifted the yoke onto our shoulders, hooked our buckets on either side, and trudged down to the well to fill up on a bit of Jesus?
What if bringing living water to others meant that we physically weighed ourselves down and felt the burden?
For me, a trip to the well means a fresh-brewed cup of coffee, a blanket on the couch, the sun glimmering through the trees, and my Bible open in my lap. For me, a trip to the well is pleasant, comfortable. It involves reading, praying, writing, thinking … things I love. For me, the greatest challenge is getting up early enough to have quiet.
Not so for our brothers and sisters around the world. Not so for the 33 Christian in North Korea currently facing execution.
While privately praying may not bear immediate consequences for them, carrying living water into their world does.
These Christians were working with South Korean missionary, Kim Jung-wook to set up 500 churches in North Korea. They are church planters pushing seeds down deep, underground, in hope of seeing life emerge.
North Korea. Here the government maintains a facade of religious tolerance, and yet violently represses religious expression. Four state-controlled church buildings are located in the capital. And yet no worship takes place here. No prayer. No teaching. They seem to serve only one purpose — to make the facade look good.
Christians in North Korea are actively pursued and captured. When they are captured, they are sent to prison camps without any hope of a trial, to be starved, tortured, and perhaps even killed.
Most likely, these 33 Christians will be executed. Massacred really. Surely we should pray for their miraculous release. But, more than that, we should honor these Christians and join them in their pursuit of real life. Here’s how:
1. Go after the living water.
If it’s as easy for you as it is for me to get to the well each day, then do it. Don’t squander the freedom you have. Get to the well. Fill up on living water.
2. Feel the weightiness of your freedom.
The freedom we have doesn’t make you and I any more blessed than those who are in chains for the gospel. We don’t have this freedom so that we can be fat and happy. This freedom carries responsibility. Feel the weightiness.
3. Pray for the persecuted church.
As Nik Ripken says in Insanity of God, don’t pray so much for a ceasing of the persecution, but for believers in persecution to be “faithful and obedient through their persecution and suffering.” Pray for our brothers and sisters in chains.
4. Educate yourself and others about the persecuted church.
Read books like Insanity of God. Subscribe to the free monthly newsletter put out by Voice of the Martyrs. Seek out real news and consider the ramifications upon Christian believers in North Korea, and Ukraine, and Syria … Raise your awareness level. Educate yourself and others.
5. Carry Christ’s presence into your world.
While believers in North Korea will not be arrested for praying silently and privately, they will be arrested for going public. When we live out the love of Christ in our world in word and deed, and embrace the consequences, we are honoring our brothers and sisters, and we are honoring Christ. Feel the responsibility of your freedom and boldly carry the presence of Christ into your world.
In North Korea, and around the world, light is shining in the darkness. Light is shining in and through the hearts of our brothers and sisters. This “light and momentary affliction” is preparing for them an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison as they look beyond what they can see, to what is unseen. Beyond the transient to the eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.
Because my heart breaks for them, I will go to the well, I will pray for their strength to endure, and I will do my best to live out the love of Christ in my world. Join me?
In the comments, would you write a short prayer for these 33 believers? I’ll start.