A Chronicle of Renewal and Revival

North Korea: The blessing of forced solitude with God

Released Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim recently shared about how he survived his 2.5 year ordeal in a North Korean prison.

Lim was operating humanitarian efforts in North Korea before disappearing in February 2015. It turned out the DPRK had arrested him, and in December 2015 Lim was sentenced to life with hard labor for crimes against the North Korean regime.

“I was first sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to life of hard labour. That was God’s grace, and gave me tremendous peace,” Lim said. “From that moment, there were days of overwhelming loneliness. From the first day of my detainment until the day I was released, I ate 2,757 meals in isolation by myself. It was difficult to see when and how the entire ordeal would end. But this isolation also gave me the opportunity to spend an extended time of solitude with God.”

During the winter Lim had to dig holes that measured one metre wide and one metre deep. The ground was frozen. The mud was so hard that it took two days to dig one hole. “It was incredibly challenging,” Lim said. “My upper body was sweating; my fingers and toes were frostbitten. I also worked inside a coal storage facility, breaking apart frozen coal.” In the spring and the summer, he worked outside, eight hours a day, in the scorching sun. One year of this difficult labour took a toll on his body and he was admitted to the hospital for two months. There would be three other occasions where he would be admitted to the hospital in a serious condition.

Prison camps in North Korea
“During my time there, I read over one hundred books on North Korea and began to grasp and gain a deeper understanding of the 70 year history that formed the nation,” Lim said. “I also was permitted a Bible that I read in both English and Korean five times and memorized over 700 Bible verses. I worshipped alone for 130 Sundays.”

“While I was laboring, I prayed without ceasing,” Lim said. “There were many difficult moments but it was during these times that God gave me the strength to endure and persevere. There were moments of discouragement, resentment, and grumbling but that soon changed into courage, joy, and thanksgiving. I learned to fully accept all of this as a form of God’s love and discipline to make me stronger. By God’s perfect and sovereign timing, I was released and returned home.”

Source: Hyeon Soo Lim, The Toronto Star

# 1050 | September 4, 2017

 

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