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I’m not sure how to adequately express the myriad things I want to say when I hear this sister’s testimony and receive her admonition and invitation for us to pray for God’s grace to rain down on the people — HER PEOPLE — of North Korea.
When I attended URBANA in 1987, I remember hearing speakers and others from the platform — again and again — calling us to “love the nations” and “love the cities” because, they said, God loves the nations and God loves the cities. I heard, knowing that I do not have it within me to love like that.
After more than 20 years of asking God to mold my heart to be more like His and to love more like He loves (and 20 years of progress, I must add), there are nations and cities and peoples I can’t love. Not on my own. Not with my own strength and my own affection which still too much measures love in terms of reciprocal benefit.
Some places and their peoples are “easy” to love because they are so much like me that loving them is like loving me.
Other places and their peoples are fun to love because they enrich my life with the good things they create and share — like foods and music, paintings and fabrics, and all other sorts of beautiful expressions of culture.
But North Korea? I first knew of North Korea through M*A*S*H and they were the enemy. Beyond that comedy/drama series which I wore out in reruns, I hardly heard of North Korea for most of my life. Only in the last decade or so have we seen this nation with its less than kind leader in the headlines — always in the category of “them.” Always contrary to freedom and democracy. Always causing trouble. Always holding their own people in a kind of brain-washed bondage.
As an American it is, I must admit, quite easy to not love North Korea. I’m sad that this lack of love for the nation too easily translates into apathy toward the people. Really, loving North Koreans would be a costly commitment. It might require me to do something I don’t really want to do.
Then I hear this voice and see these tears and I know that this young woman is truly — deeply and eternally — my sister.
And now what do I do?