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All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3)
All Things Are From God
The Bible says that God created the heaven and the earth. Yes, it is true that God created the heaven and earth, but there are rarely people who believe that all the great and small things that happen to them are through God. The Bible says that God created the light, the darkness, agony, joy, and sadness. The Bible records that all of these things were made through God. And without him was not any thing made that was made. There is nothing that is done that is not through God. Before, I would often become upset and angry at other people, and think, “This problem happened because that brother did not do good things. Things are difficult because of that sister.” But even if that brother was trying to hurt me, God could have changed it to not be so. On the other hand, even if a brother was trying to help me, I could not be helped unless God helps me. After coming to know this, the way I saw things and people completely changed. Joseph must have felt wronged when he was sold by his brothers to become a servant in the house of Potiphar in Egypt. Joseph then began to receive a certain amount of recognition there and his life began to find security. However, he ended up going to prison through the scheming of Potiphar’s wife. Joseph may have thought, “God, I feel so wronged!” But later on, after becoming the governor of Egypt, Joseph came to know, “Ah, the reason for God sending me to prison was a part of the process for gaining all this.” Joseph and Apostle Paul were both in prison. Perhaps Joseph complained, but Apostle Paul did not. When Paul and Silas were beaten and locked in prison, they awoke during the night and were neither sad nor afraid, but praised God and prayed. It was because they believed with assurance that all things are done through God. Because Paul knew precisely that such things could not happen without God, Paul praised God and thanked God. Then an earthquake opened the prison gates and the prison became a place where they preached the gospel. We could clearly see how God was accomplishing His will.
Did Jesus Also Not Know?
As I read, All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made, in the Bible, I came to know that things do not happen through or because of a certain person or people, but through God. Last year, one student, a member of the Good News Corp volunteer program of the IYF (International Youth Fellowship), hurt her back while serving in Africa. She fell from the second floor of a building and broke a vertebra. The broken vertebra pressed down on her nerves and paralysis began to take over her body. Ultimately, she was paralyzed from bellybutton down. One day after this accident, she could not urinate nor defecate. It broke my heart when I heard that this happened to her, a college student in the prime of her youth. These thoughts went through my mind when I heard about this. “She suffered this accident. I wonder how she feels in her heart.” “She went for volunteer service. If she is unable to use the lower half of her body for the rest of her life and has to live bedridden, how will her parents feel?” “If such accidents continue to happen as students serve in Africa, how will I be able to send college students as volunteers to Africa?” I felt extremely heavy in my heart. While praying that day, I thought of the words in Romans chapter 8. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us. (Romans 3:27) What it says before this verse is, “For the Lord we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” It means that they face hardships. We are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:36-37) “Yes, then even for this problem, we are more than conquerors through the Lord! It will not be a problem! It will go well if God helps!” My heart became truly free from this problem. “God allowed this.” Afterwards, I heard in detail about how this student was hurt. She was working on the building walls on the second floor when the scaffolding she was standing on crumbled, causing her to be hurt. “Who knew that the scaffolding would collapse? Did Hyejin, the student who was hurt, know? Did her friends she was working with know? Did the director of the construction know?” When I thought about it, there was no one who knew that this would happen. Such accidents do not happen in advanced countries. In Africa, such dangers are everywhere during construction because they do not have enough materials. I felt that no one knew that the scaffolding would collapse. From then on I thought in my heart, “Then did Jesus not know as well?” I was very thankful in my heart, thinking, “Jesus must have known.” If I knew that the scaffolding would collapse and did not prepare for it and remained idle, I would be a terrible person. If Jesus knew this was going to happen and did not protect her and left her alone, Jesus is also a terrible person. “Jesus is not a terrible person. Jesus loves us. Why did He allow this to happen? Surely it was to change this into grace.” After knowing the Lord’s will, in my heart, I had the faith, “Hyejin will be healed!” From then on, I felt truly peaceful. Then I called Heyjin’s mother. “I apologize. Hyejin hurt her back. Right now we are trying to bring her back to Korea but the airline says there are no seats.” Heyjin’s mother said, “Pastor, you know about these things better than I do, don’t you? Pastor, you take care of this,” and completely left it to me. Therefore, I in turn left it all to God. By the guidance of God, Hyejin went through two surgeries in Germany and then returned to Korea. The day she came to Korea I met her. “Hyejin, this is how your body is, but how do you feel in your heart?” Everyone, think about it. If a female college student broke a vertebra, had her nerves paralyzed and could not urinate or defecate on her own her entire life, how despairing and painful would that be? But she smiled and said, “Pastor, I am so thankful to God. Until now I did not live by faith. God allowed these things to be to bless me.” I was so thankful to God as I heard those words. “Like she just said, God will give Hyejin peace and bless her.” “That’s right, Hyejin, heal quickly. Then get married, go to Africa, and set up schools there and preach the gospel.” I felt truly peaceful in my heart. Afterwards, a miracle happened. Little by little, her nerves began to revive. The nerves revived all the way down to her toes. The doctors had said that this was impossible. There are many doctors in our church and when I told them that Hyejin will be healed, they all laughed and said, “It’s possible if God does it, but medically it is impossible.” But now the nerves have reached all the way down to her toes and she can feel it when someone touches her feet.
Why Did He Create Darkness?
In the Bible, God created the light and He created the darkness. Why did God create darkness? Once, I was in my car and saw a woman laying apples on top of the apple box and selling them on the street. Right then a guard came and said something to her and it seemed that he was telling her she cannot sell apples on the street. This woman smiled and apologized to this guard, continually bowing her head. However, this guard then kicked the apple box. The apples that were on the box fell onto the asphalt. I looked carefully from the car at what this lady would do. If the apples she was selling fell to the asphalt and became bruised, it would be upsetting. But the lady was not upset at all. Still she smiled, bowed to the guard and said something to him. I thought about it. “Why does that lady sell apples? Is it to pay for her husband’s hospital fees? Is it because she is so poor she has nothing to feed her children?” This lady was not just an ordinary apple vendor. Who would not become angry if someone throws the apples onto the asphalt? But she was someone who had gone beyond that level. There are such levels in spiritual life. There are people who have themselves as the center, trusting themselves and following their own thoughts, and there are those who have gone beyond this to deny themselves and to be free from their thoughts. Although I was young when I received salvation, I knew precisely that I was evil and filthy. “I am like a broken car. If there is something I like, I continue to roll in that direction even though I step on the brakes. If there is something I want, my heart continually goes there even though I steer in another direction.”
If a car continues to move even though I step on the brakes and goes in a direction different from the way I have steered, that car is bound to get into an accident. I came to precisely know, “If I believe my thoughts and follow my heart, I will surely be destroyed.” From that day on, thoughts did arise, but I did not believe those thoughts. “I should not follow these thoughts or I will be ruined.” When I came to precisely know this, I could not follow my thoughts. When I became freed from my thoughts, the guidance of God precisely appeared and led me. It is extremely difficult to enter the level of denying ourselves. Therefore, God makes darkness enter our lives so that we will deny ourselves. In Luke chapter 15, the younger son takes the father’s wealth to a far away country and lives riotously. While he had money and a full stomach, he did not realize his wrongdoings nor return to the father. To let him know of his truly evil, filthy, and dirty image, God gave him hunger, pain, and darkness. In terms of pictures, the image of the prodigal son in the pig pen is an extremely dark and frustrating image, while the state of the prodigal son returning to the father’s home to wear good clothes and eat the fatted calf is a shining, beautiful image.
I Thank God that He Made Me Fail
God gives us pain. He gives us suffering. He gives us sadness. Through this, He leads us to deny ourselves. Because we do not know ourselves well, we think we live well through our intelligence and greatness. That is why God uses darkness. Whether it be a car accident, cancer, divorce, or failure in business, God works through using such things. A while ago, I preached the gospel for 30 minutes to a person who came to our church and he received salvation. I met him again another time, and this time he tearfully told me all about himself. He was the president of a big company and the company went bankrupt. All of his wealth was lost to creditors and he was forced to give up everything. The only thing he had remaining was a plot of land worth $300,000 in his wife’s name. It seemed that there would be no way for him to live if he lost this land, so he discussed this with his wife. “Honey, if you and I get a divorce, we can protect this wealth. Let’s get a legal divorce.” The two of them decided to go through with it and took the steps to become divorced. But as soon as the divorce was finalized, the wife said something extremely shocking. “Living with you till now has been hell for me. I had no choice but to live with you until now, and since you are bankrupt, I don’t think I can live with you. Since we are divorced anyway, let’s make it a real divorce.” She then sold the land and went to the United States. He was extremely shocked. He used to have his own driver and his word was law at his company, but now he has nothing and he had thought his wife would like him because he thought he was better than her. But now he has lost even his wife because she left him. He realized how foolish and stupid he had been, and became regretful of his evil, arrogant way of life. When he came to this state, he immediately received salvation when I preached the gospel to him. He later gave a testimony at church. “I am so thankful that God had me fail. If not, I would have received eternal destruction.”
Unless It Is the Heart of that Lady . . .
When people eat and live well, they think that this is due to their own greatness and intelligence, making them uplift their own hearts. Therefore, they only accept the Word of God when it fits their heart and do not when it does not fit. They are the kings, they are the lords, and because they believe themselves, they can only live this way. Some people say that they cannot break their hearts when they are told to. When some people are told to believe that their sins are washed away, they say that they understand what it means, but they cannot believe it. It is because they have themselves as their master. That is why God made the darkness. Like the lady who sold apples, like the company president I just mentioned, like the man with the infirmity for 38 years in the Bible, like the thief at the cross, and like the woman taken in adultery, people who meet hardships and know that they are ruined are unable to believe in themselves. People begin to change from the time they become unable to believe themselves. When people refuse the Word of God because it does not fit their thoughts and they live self-centered lives, God gives them difficulties and pain. But when people crumble down through this, God begins to work and people live truly precious, blessed lives. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3) If God gives you agony, you have to know, “This is not because of some person, but it is from God,” and know the fact that it was through God. The lady who sold apples was surely living in poverty and in a difficult situation. However, she had a heart other people could not have. When the apples were thrown to the street, most people would have said, “Mister! Why did you kick the apple box? Pick up those apples! You can’t despise me like this just because I sell apples!” even if it could close them down. If this lady had done so, she would not have been able to sell there the next day. From time to time, when I drive around, I still see that lady at that spot selling her apples. “Not just anyone can sit there and sell apples. Unless one has the heart of that lady, one can never sell there.” People think that they can just lay apples on the street and sell them, but it is not so at all.
We Need the Wisdom to Accept that It Was from God
One day God showed me my image and I came to know precisely what an evil, dirty, and pitiful human being I was. From then on, it was not me at work but Jesus was living and working inside me. I was so joyful, thankful, and peaceful. God did not only create the light. He did not only create happiness and joy. He also created pain, suffering, sadness, and agony, and gives some people sadness and some people pain. Through this, God leads us to come before God to receive grace. We are people who believe in God. No matter what it is, you must throw away what you see with your eyes that say, “If I do this, it will go well. If I do this, I will succeed,” and you must believe that all the things you go through is from God. If God allowed you to be wronged, allowed you pain, allowed you sadness, and allowed you to go through agony, He does not do so without a reason. God makes us realize what pitiful people we are through these things. Sometimes, you are mocked for not having one dollar, and there are times you cannot do what you need to do for the lack of a few dollars. While going through such heartaches, God humbles our hearts more and more in order to lead us into having faith in God. There is nothing in this world that is not made through God. “And without him was not any thing made that was made.” Whatever it is, we need the wisdom to know that it is given from God. When you are in pain through pain God gives you, and when you receive hunger and spite that is given to you, this becomes an opportunity for you to receive the grace of God. As these things pass, we come to know that He is leading us to live the life of having our hearts one with His.