Take Up Your Cross | Pastor Kim

Take Up Your Cross | Pastor Kim

Have you ever sung to yourself? Who hasn’t, right. Okay, have you ever sung to yourself a song praising or glorifying God? Well if you are a Christian, then more than likely that’s a yes too. Okay how about this; have you ever sang to yourself, a song praising or glorifying God, while you were in pain?

Like right after you hit your thumb with a hammer, or stub your toe in the night? Not as many of you on that one, huh? Try it! Maybe next time, instead of a tirade of expletives, or crying out of the injustice of it all, try offering up a song of praise to the God who made those wonderful thumbs and toes. Sound crazy?

Incredibly, many of the stories of our past martyrs tell of how they sang during their torturing and executions. Richard Wurmbrand, who spent 14 years in a Communist prison in Romania between 1940-1960 said of his time there, “We didn’t know we were in prison. Sometimes when we were beaten and tortured, we were like St. Stephen, who while they threw stones at him, did not see his murderers, did not see the stones, but saw heaven open and Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. In the same way, we didn’t see the Communist torturers. We didn’t see that we were in prison. We were surrounded by angels; we were with God.”

“More Love to Thee”

Pastor Kim & congregation

North Korea 1950s

    For years, Pastor Kim and 27 of his flock of Korean saints had lived in hand-dug tunnels beneath the earth. Then, as the Communists were building a road, they discovered the Christians living underground.

    The officials brought them out before a crowd of 30,000 in the village of Gok San for a public trial and execution. They were told, “Deny Christ, or you will die.” But they refused.

At this point the head Communist officer ordered four children from the group seized and had them prepared for hanging. With ropes tied around their small necks, the officer again commanded the parents to deny Christ.

    Not one of the believers would deny their faith. They told the children, “We will soon see you in heaven.” The children died quietly.

    The officer then called for a steamroller to be brought in. He forced the Christians to lie on the ground in its path. As its engine revved, they were given one last chance to recant their faith in Jesus. Again they refused.

    As the steamroller began to inch forward, the Christians began to sing a song they had often sung together. As their bones and bodies were crushed under the pressure of the massive rollers, their lips uttered the words:

        “More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee

        Thee alone I seek, more love to Thee

        Let sorrow do its work, more love to Thee

        Then shall my latest breath whisper Thy praise

        This be the parting cry my heart shall raise;

        More love, O Christ, to Thee.”

 

    The execution was reported in the North Korean press as an act of suppressing superstition.

    “Without fear we sang in prisons 30 feet beneath the earth. We were terribly hungry, beaten, and tortured. The Communists were good at torturing us.

We would say to each other, “The Communists beat us very well—let us do our work well.       Let us sing well.”    Richard Wurmbrand

                                                      From “Jesus Freaks” by DC Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs

 

The more stories I read, the more common this theme became. In fact, over half of our Christian brothers and sisters who were martyred, left this world singing into the next. Isn’t that fascinating! I hope when I leave this world I am singing of His Faithfulness, and that as I approach the gates of Heaven, I will be singing praises of His Glory, His Grace, and His Mercy.

Keep the Faith,

Zach

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the troubles we see now will soon be gone, but the joys to come will last forever.  2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NLT

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