“Keep me close to Your heart, and I will soar on the wings of the dawn. I’ll remember the way You love.”– Melody Olson
I have been reading an awesome book called Forgotten God by Francis Chan for a study with my Grow Group. Every time I sit down with it, I anticipate being challenged and changed. I learn more about the Holy Spirit with every page I turn, which is a topic I had never fully tried to grasp before. I am still baffled by the ways of the Holy Spirit, the ways He moves me, desires to work through me, intercedes for me, and so much more.
Today, as I opened the book, tea in hand, my expectations were once again met and I have so much to process as a result. At the end of the chapter, I read a story about a woman named Esther Ahn Kim, a Korean woman imprisoned by the Japanese during WWII for not bowing to idols. In anticipation of her imprisonment (yeah, she expected it, so she got ready for it instead of running away), she trained her body to eat spoiled food and to endure different circumstances she might encounter while in prison. Knowing she wouldn’t be allowed to have her bible in prison, she also memorized over 100 chapters of the bible and different hymns.
When she eventually was taken to prison, God used her in countless ways. One night a you Chinese woman convicted of killing her husband was brought in. She moaned incessantly and beat on the doors until the guards tied her hands behind her back. It was this woman that God called Esther to love and reach out to. Esther held the woman’s feet at night to warm them, even though the woman was covered in her own excrement. Though food rations were small, Esther gave up her portions for three days to this woman. Over time, the Chinese woman began to respond, carrying on conversation and eventually accepting the good news of the gospel. The woman was later executed for her crime, but she went to her death alive in Christ.
This is one of many people God used Esther to minister to. Murderers and swindlers who were utter outcasts were changed before all who watched as the love of Christ, through Esther, healed their hearts and gave them hope. Even the jailers and government officials noticed how Esther shone in that dark place. She could have just endured her suffering like a good Christian, and we would have applauded her for it. But she was not content to merely endure. She was ready every day and every moment, asking God, ‘Who do You want me to love for You today?’
Wow! I know that I, and the majority of Christians in the American church need to start asking this question. “Who do You want me to love for You today?” Because, the truth is, we don’t usually fulfill the commitments we agreed to when we surrendered to Christ. We agreed to allow the Spirit lead us wherever He desired for us. Yet, we forget that what Christ calls us to is deep love for the destitute, the poor, to be willing to go wherever He leads us, no matter how uncomfortable. Christ is love, yet how many of us forget to love throughout the day. We forget that by loving the unlovable, we are really loving Christ, for we will find Him with the poor every time.
“Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” Matthew 25: 44-45 NASB