It’s not often that the Lord ‘tips His hand’ and allows us to see things from His perspective and what He has in mind. Perhaps it’s an occasional reward for faithfulness or more likely when an intimate ally is ready to see it, when their heart has been prepared.
There is a wonderful story about a seminarian Mang Eui-Soon at the beginning of the Korean war that gives an insight into this. He was a man of prayer, barely in his twenties and had a particular fondness for ministering to the sick in the hospital attached to his church.
The invasion of south Korea was fast; the north Korean army overwhelming the South by sheer weight of numbers and in days many found themselves behind the lines. Mang Eui-Soon and his companions hid and tried to make their way south through the countryside to safety.
Their journey was not easy; first they were captured by the invading army and tortured for days as suspected spies. After being released they continued their journey only to be captured again and pressed into service carrying munitions and cooking for the North Korean army. They escaped and pushed south where they eventually met with the South Korean and American forces who arrested them and sent them to a Prisoner of War camp assuming they were NK spies. So he was placed with the captured NK soldiers and later their Chinese allies. At first he tried to convince them otherwise (as did many of his south Korean acquaintances outside the prison camp) but then he began to realize in prayer what the purpose was.
As North Korea and China were both atheist countries, cut off from the world behind the iron curtain, he began to see God’s purpose. As he put it “they are not enemies invading our country with rifles, but sheep that God has driven along” He realized that “God had started the work of salvation on billions of Chinese… we have to sow the seed of the Gospel in their hearts”
For years then he worked tirelessly in the camp and its hospital to reach out to the NK and Chinese prisoners and brought the Gospel to them, even constructing a church inside the camp. He had to dodge his own release even after the allies sought to set him free so he could remain with those he was evangelizing.
Before the end of the war, after which the POW’s were to be repatriated to NK and China, he died in the camp and most attended his funeral. He brought so many to God by his persistence and kindness and then they returned to North Korea and China, no longer combatants but as evangelists, sowing the seed in their home countries where it continues to grow in secret.
We are often inclined to view our own trials and sufferings as disasterous and question God (askng why ? or why me ?) but should remember that we see and experience trials up close, seldom the big picture or long term view where the fruits of an individuals suffering are revealed. Better to decide to simply trust that our Father has everything in hand, our best interests and those of others. Perhaps thats why so many saints consider it a privilidge to suffer and undergo testing for the kingdom. It cannot be avoided, may as well embrace it joyfully and the Lord will walk with us as we carry our crosses over the finish line.