“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love, give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.” – Romans 12:10-12
The story of Esther Ahn Kim continues. If you missed the first part of her story, please read the blog post for Day 10 in “21 Days to Beat Depression!”
Esther was imprisoned with 34 other Christians including a pastor whose faith was unshakable. On the day that Esther was taken to prison, she held her dear mother’s hands and looked into her mother’s calm yet radiant face, “Now I’m going to enter the advanced course in the college of faith. Christ Himself is the Principal, so I am sure He will teach me about true faith. Isn’t that wonderful?”
“You must follow Him completely,” Esther’s mother responded while knowing that she would never see her daughter this side of heaven again. “If you are to learn from Him, you must lose your life so that Jesus may live within you. That will mean death to yourself every day, every hour, and every minute.”
Esther and her fellow prisoners discovered the joy of the Lord while physically imprisoned in the cesspool of human bitterness and rebellion. Esther’s journal recounts the great joy and peace that was found among the Christian prisoners:
“We were all filled with the Holy Spirit and were convinced it was more than an honor to die for the Lord. We constantly lived in fear of our guards but we were happy and satisfied, envying no one. Having prayed all night, Pastor would often stand up in joy, dancing and singing, while tears ran down his cheeks.”
Let’s read on in Esther Ahn Kim’s prison journal:
“It was a joyous blessing to have been born in such a place and for such a time. I realized that it was because of this persecution that I was able to truly experience God’s presence where there is fullness of joy!”
Esther shared a prison cell with seven other Christian women and they spent their waking hours praying, singing and quoting the Word of God to one another. A deranged woman who had lost her mind to mental illness lived in solitary confinement in a cell just down the hallway from the cell shared by the Christian women. This woman had killed her abusive husband and had chopped his body into little pieces before being found. She screamed and yelled shrill profanities all day and all night while the Christians prayed and sang.
One day, Esther Ahn Kim, humbly asked the prison guards if they would bring the mad and demented woman to live in her cell with the 7 Christian woman. The guards were only too happy to do it because they felt that it would be a mocking test for the Christian women.
Esther Ahn held this woman’s excrement-caked legs for 72 hours straight so that she would not kill anyone in the tiny prison cell. The women gently ministered to her, wiped her face lovingly and spoke words of endearment and comfort over her tortured soul. At last, when the fog of mental illness lifted, Esther Ahn led this woman to Jesus who then encountered a clarity of mind and will that was nothing short of miraculous.
When this formerly insane woman, who was now a vision of peace and joy, was led to her persecution, she turned to Esther Ahn Kim and said, “I’ll see you at home!”
How are you treating the difficult people in your life? Do you invite them into your home and minister to them? Most of us ignore the difficult people in our lives and when faced with a moment in their presence, we choose to belittle them and un-friend them. The life of Esther Ahn Kim propels me into taking a long, hard look at how I treat the challenging people along life’s way. If I am to be a radiant example of God’s love for me, I must gently minister to these fractious pieces of humanity and show them unconditional love. This is why I am still alive: to reach out in genuine kindness to someone made in the image of God.
Esther Ahn Kim lost most of her sight while in prison and was tortured and beaten too many times to count. Her teeth fell out during her imprisonment and her toes and fingers suffered severe frost-bite, but she walked out of prison in 1945 singing,
“All hail the power of Jesus’ Name, let angels prostrate fall!
Bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of All!”
Will you be remembered for the song of your heart or the screech of your life? We all will leave a legacy that is determined by our daily emotional choices. The emotional and spiritual legacy with which you choose to endow the following generations, is more important than the finances, houses or lands that you leave. As you gaze upon the emotional smorgasbord that your culture, your family heritage and your circumstances offer for the substance of your life, always remember that difficult people may be your greatest gift in attaining the character and the heart of Christ.
MAKING IT PRACTICAL –
1 – Who is your difficult person? Are you allowing this person to rob you of the joy that comes from the presence of the Lord? Pray for this difficult person today. And then, ask the Lord to show you how you can be a blessing to this difficult person in a practical way. Perhaps you could send them an encouraging e-mail or take this person out for coffee. Do it! Do it today!
2 – I will give you a break today … you only need to come up with 3 things for which you are deeply grateful … not 5! Write them in your “Thanksgiving in January and February” journal and share them with others on social media. #beatdepression!
I declare that I will not lose my joy due to difficult people who are in my life. I will be a demonstration of the love and compassion of the Lord in these relationships! I can do it because I am fully loved by the Father!
PRAYER FOR TODAY –
“Lord Jesus, I love You so much. Thank You for the people whom you have strategically placed in my life. I pray today that these people will not bring out the worst in me but that they will bring out the Jesus in me! And, as always, Lord, I thank You for the joy that only comes from Your presence! In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”