So who needs North Korea? The Christian Church of the West, for one.
Last spring I attended a life-changing conference in Wheaton regarding North Korea. Incredible. Here I met my first North Korean. A truly broken man who sat in a wheel chair as he ministered to us. He had been wounded severely in the Korean War days, but not before, he said with deep sorrow, he had killed many American soldiers.
He told us the story of what it is really like in NK and left indelible impressions all around. I certainly won't forget him.
But perhaps my most unforgettable moment at the meeting was when a speaker was comparing our way of life in the church with that of the 18moa North Koreans. He stated that believers here have developed a great theology of worship, and even of thankfulness, a theology born out of abundance. And so it should be, he said. The abundance. And the gratefulness. Who can deny it?
But the speaker went on to add that what is lacking in the West is the theology of the cross. Now, we all know about the cross of Christ and greatly appreciate it. But the theology of my cross and your cross ... that, he concluded, seems to be sadly lacking. We hear messages about it now and then. It's part of our doctrinal stand. But is the cross being lived out in most lives?
The speaker concluded, and I agreed though regretfully lacking myself, that we need North Korea at least as much as they need us. Probably more. It would seem to me that the cross trumps abundance. Often seems to wipe it out altogether for a time.
Jesus' Calvary stay was not an example of the abundant life being preached on TV these days, except that it measured His abundant love. North Korea calls us to examine our fruit, to see if our hearts are Christ-filled, or, like the "Juche" folks in Chosun, filled only with ourselves, self-reliant.
North Korean Church, we need you. Thank you for carrying the cross of Christ. Pray for us that we will be as willing as you to go to Golgotha and die.