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And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:15~18)
Peace Brought by Faith
Spiritual life is extremely easy and peaceful. I was able to put all the worries of my heart to sleep as long as I was living the spiritual life of believing in God. I was especially able to defeat insecurity and fear through the faith to believe in the promise of God. Since I am a pastor, people may think, “Pastor Park must be godly,” but when I look at myself I am truly a lacking and pitiful person before God. Fleshly things and evil thoughts always arise in my heart. Before, when such hearts would arise, I would say to myself, “I should not have these kinds of hearts. I, I should not be like this!” and fall into fear and worry. Now, however, I am no longer that way. Because God saved me, having known me and made me His servant, He takes the responsibility for everything about me. My sins and blemishes are not my problems, but God’s. I have so much peace in my heart because it is not I who am trying to repair all such things, but I believe that it is God who repairs them. God said, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Mt. Moriah and offer him as a burnt offering,” to Abraham in Genesis chapter 22. If people were to hear such a voice and offer their son, how painful it would be! But that was not the case with Abraham because he had faith to believe in God. Spiritual life became so easy for Abraham after he came to know and believe the heart of God.
Upon Seeing Myself in the Eyes of God
I had not known myself well. Although I was living a filthy, evil, and deceitful life, when I thought of myself using my standard, I was still a clean person, a person with a good spiritual life, a smart person, and a great person. One day, God bestowed grace upon me, who had once thought this way. I think God let me borrow His eyes. The eyes to see myself from an angle completely different from my own were opened. Right then I was truly amazed because I discovered there was no one as filthy, dirty, or evil as I was and there was no one as foolish and deceitful as I was. The heart to honor myself came crumbling down upon seeing this. Before, “I” was the standard of everything because I had myself firmly established. I would accept whatever appeared good and correct in my heart, and I did not accept anything else. I knew the Word of God because I had heard it before, but I had not accepted it into my heart. I had much knowledge of the Bible, but not even the slightest bit of the heart of God remained in my heart. Thus, I had to be afraid, insecure, and ashamed. I lived a life of having no rest in my heart. One day, I came to see myself as seen through the eyes of God. The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9) My heart as seen through the eyes of God is deceitful and desperately wicked. However, my heart seen through my eyes was not so. I would say, “Though I lie some, though I have some darkness, I am still good.” I lived both my physical life and my spiritual life having a standard completely different from God. But when I saw myself as seen by God, I came to discover that I was a dirty and evil man who deserved to be cursed and destroyed. I became disillusioned toward myself and I began to hate myself. I would look in the mirror and shout, “Ock Soo Park! You filthy man; You deceitful wretch!” I began to change when the faith to trust in myself crumbled down. When my own heart would be standing firmly, I only accepted things that fit my heart, no matter what it was. But since my heart crumbled down, the Word of God, which did not fit my heart before, started to enter me and my life began to change extremely and I became renewed.
God, Give Us Water!
The Bible says that Noah received the grace of God. In other words, Noah found grace in the eyes of God. God clearly told Noah, “Wickedness is great in the earth and I will destroy them with water,” while also telling him to, “Make thee an ark of gopher wood . . . .” Here Noah discovers the heart of God that is bestowing grace upon him. He then had the heart, “God wants to save me. God wants to bestow grace upon me. Then, I should make an ark.” With the faith, “How will I build the ark? I don’t know, but since God wants to save me, I only need to follow the Word of God!” Noah was able to build the ark. I, too, came to know the heart of God while receiving the Word of God in my life. We built a retreat center on Mt. Daeduk, which is located in Gimcheon City. Water was difficult to come by because we had built it at the top of the mountain. We needed tremendous amounts of water in order for people to drink, wash, shower, prepare meals, and do the dishes during the retreat. We wanted to develop the ground water and we needed more than three hundred tons of water a day. We drilled 3,600 feet underground to find water, but when we found none, we were unspeakably disappointed. “How can we hold retreats without water?” I prayed to God early every morning. “God, give us water!”
After I received salvation and Jesus entered my heart, I could feel from time to time the Lord leading me to His thoughts that were different from mine. When I had prayed about twenty days for this water problem, certain thoughts began to connect within me. When we bought the mountain where we built the retreat center, it was impossible, but we purchased it through the grace of God. Also, it seemed unlikely for us to be able to make a road up the mountain because of the village below, yet it was done through the help of God. And especially, I thought of how we laid a bridge over the creek at the entrance of the mountain . . . . In building the bridge, large pilings had to be driven into the creek to withstand the bridge’s load, which was costly. This was extremely difficult for us who had no construction experience. In addition, the people of the village claimed that building the bridge near their fields or farms would skew the water flow and damage their farming, causing a dispute as to where the bridge should be laid. Ultimately, a city hall officer said to build the bridge right above the waterfall to end the dispute and we ended up building the bridge further down from where we wanted to build it. Then at that place we tried to drive the large pilings, but the ground was solid rock. We did not have to drive pilings; we could construct the bridge right away. In the middle of the bridge construction, a city hall officer came out one day and asked us why we were doing the construction without driving pilings. When we told him that the ground was solid rock, he said that there could not be a solid rock in the creek and did not believe us. When a crane scraped the floor of the creek and revealed that it was indeed solid rock, the city hall officer shook his head, saying, “This is strange . . . . I’ve never seen such a thing in my life!” and left. Because of the dispute among the villagers, we were able to move the bridge’s location and conserve hundreds of thousands of dollars. We could see the help of God in this. Even after this, we often saw the hand of God helping in the construction of the retreat center. There were many things that were impossible unless God helped, and I could not deny it was God who did these things. While I was praying for water, the many times God helped us came to mind, and I had the heart, “I helped you so much like this. Won’t I help you in getting the water as well?” Even though we built the bridge and finished building the retreat center, we cannot hold a retreat unless we have water, and thus all of these would be useless. The retreat center also had a swimming pool for children. We would receive eighty tons of water a day from that creek and save the water in a tank and use it little by little, but this was far from enough as we had many events and more people were coming. So we dug in search of ground water. The construction began and I had hopes of a hot spring. But far from hot springs, even regular water was nowhere to be found. We drilled through underground bedrock with a machine. Rather than having water spring forth, white smoke-like rock powder sprang up from the pipes, covering the mountain with powder, making it look like there was a fire on the mountain. It felt as though my heart was burning away. When we drilled 3,600 feet deep and there was no water, I prayed to God and He spoke to my heart. “I helped you when you bought the mountain. I helped you during the building of the bridge, the road, when paving the road; in getting the permit to cut down the trees, I helped you, and in building the retreat center, in getting the electricity and telephone, I helped you.” If God does not help me with the final problem, the water problem, all the help I had received till now were meaningless. When God made me think about this, the heart that God would give us water arose within me.
You Can Never Get Water Here
Before this, we called an underground water doctor. It costs ten thousand dollars to have him search for a day, but we agreed to have him for only a half a day for five thousand dollars. He came and saw where we had dug for a spring. He then asked, “Who said to dig here?” “We just dug here.” “You can never get water here.” “Sir, we know that we cannot get water here. Tell us where we can get water.” He looked over the mountain and said, “You cannot get water from this mountain.” Then he got in his car, drove about 3.5 kilometers down toward the entrance of the village, and told us to drill there because there is water there. Even if there is water there, how could we draw that water to the retreat center at the top of the mountain? I was very disappointed. But as I prayed to God, the faith that God would surely give us water constantly arose in my heart. So I gave a testimony at church while preaching. “We spent over $100,000 to drill 3,600 feet underground but did not find a drop of water. The water doctor says that there is no water on that mountain, but God gave me the faith in my heart that He would give us water. Now God will give us water!” I read the heart of God. “God was pleased with our holding retreats and helped in every aspect of the construction of the retreat center. Then He will give us water as well!” Then I forgot about the water problem. Time passed, and one day during the retreat, there was an announcement saying, “Everyone, there is water left over so please use all you would like.” I could not understand and called the brother who made the announcement. “How could there be water left over?” “Pastor, we have water left over.” I spoke with the brother who found the water. When the hole we had drilled for the ground water did not give us any, he had to fill that hole. If it does not become filled, dirty things would enter through the pipe and pollute the underground area. To fill this hole, he had to remove the pipes we had put in. But it was not easy removing pipes that were 3,600 feet deep. When he then hooked the pipes to a excavator and pulled, the excavator would be lifted while the pipes did not budge at all. Then the brother pushed and pulled on the pipes to remove them. Suddenly, “Pop!” and water came gushing out. The brothers were so happy, shouting, “There is water!” and sang and danced together. When they calculated the quantity of water, it was 450 tons of water a day.
Because Abraham Read God’s Heart
When I read the Bible, I don’t read the contents but the heart of God. A few years ago when my son was studying abroad, I would once in a while tell my son, “Hey big guy, write me a letter once in a while.” Then my son would send me a letter. Since it is a letter from my loving son, I would skim over it and leave it in my bag. Then later, when I have time, I would calmly pick it up and read it slowly. This time I am not only reading the contents but thinking, “I wonder why he is saying this,” and trying to read my son’s heart inside the letter. When we read the Bible, only the storyline enters our eyes in the beginning. The story of how David killed Goliath with a sling and a stone and the story of Esther are very enjoyable. But when we read the Bible through receiving the heart of God, we can see God’s heart inside the Bible. Noah also read the heart of God. “On one side of God’s heart, He has the heart to save us, who should be destroyed for our sinfulness! God is trying to bestow grace on us to save us! Then we shall be saved!” Noah could build the ark because he not only listened to the words of God but read God’s heart. In the beginning, Abraham only listened to the words of God but could not accept the heart of God who was saying those words. Therefore he always spoke of his own thoughts. But one day, Abraham read God’s heart. “Why is God telling me to leave my country, my kindred, and my father’s house? The heart of God is to make me into a great nation. Then I will become a great nation. My seed will be many like the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore.” God did much work upon Abraham and now Abraham is not only listening to the words of God but seeing the heart of God. Thus he was able to have that heart. He was now able to have the faith that God will give him a son. According to this faith he gained Isaac. Even when God told Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering on Mt. Moriah, Abraham knew the heart of God. Since he knows that through Isaac God will give him many seeds like the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore, Abraham was so free. “Sure, God did tell me to offer Isaac, but God will give me many seeds like the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore through Isaac. Therefore, even if I do give him as an offering, he will ultimately live, marry, and have children.” This is how Abraham expressed his faith.
Spiritual Life Is Reading God’s Heart
Faith is reading God’s heart. When I read the Bible after knowing the world of faith, each and every verse of the Scriptures were not mere stories, but I came to realize they were the heart of God. I changed when I received the heart of God through the words of the Bible into my heart as I read the Bible. Jesus was born in a filthy, dirty stable but it changed into a glorious place where the singing of the angels could be heard. Likewise, when the heart of God entered the dirty, filthy, and evil heart of mine, my heart became glorious. Now the heart of God was working inside me. Abraham received the heart of God. Abraham knew God’s heart, and God knew Abraham’s heart. What did God say to Abraham? “Seeing that thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me . . . .” God read the heart of Abraham who had not spared his only son through having faith in God. God read Abraham’s heart and Abraham read God’s heart. Through this, God’s and Abraham’s hearts became one. Their hearts united into one. From then on, Abraham was not worried no matter what he did. In Isaac’s marriage or in having children, God would accomplish them all. When I, too, discover that my heart is one with God’s, I have true freedom and peace because I have faith that God will accomplish everything even if I do not step up to make it happen. Often, the things I faced seemed to be impossible; seemed to be big problems. But regardless of how they were in the eyes of man, I had confidence in my work because I had the heart that God would accomplish these things. Loving folks, I am truly a filthy, dirty, and sinful human being, but I discovered God’s heart of wanting to cleanse me. The will of God was to cleanse me, even if He had to send His son Jesus Christ to this earth. I read that will of God. Thus, through believing that God cleansed me of my sins, God and I became one and I had rest in my heart. Spiritual life is reading God’s heart. It is receiving God’s heart. When God’s heart and my heart become one, no matter what I do, it is accomplished by God, and I have rest and freedom and it brings glory to God. If you do not have the heart of God, your own thoughts will lead you. I hope that you will be freed from this, receive the heart of God, and become people who live with the same heart as God.