The Words of Young Oon Kim
As I read one of the Biblical letters, of Apostle Paul today, my eyes are full of tears and tears as if I am with him, going through the same experiences, even though I haven't suffered nearly as much as he did. Paul said that he was imprisoned several times, beaten frequently, and often near death. Five times he received at the hands of the Jews the 40 lashes less one, three times he was beaten with rods; once he was stoned. He suffered from hunger and thirst, in cold and exposure. He goes on saying, “Apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches." When some were weak, he also felt weak. When some were made to fall, he was indignant. At Damascus, the governor guarded the city in order to seize him, Paul had himself let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped his hands. He suffered many other things besides these. (Read II Cor. 11:21-33)
We know now what imprisonment, beating, hunger, insult and worry for God are. And yet Paul overcame them victoriously.
"We are afflicted in every way,
but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted but
not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed."
(II Cor. 4:7-9)
How true it is! Suffering only strengthens our will and hardens our determination, and persecution only solidifies our bond of love. And we learn the same lesson as Paul did, who said, "We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts.” (Rom. 5:3-5) Suffering for the right cause deepens our thought and love, enriches our experiences, and refines our personality. Hardships drew Paul only closer to the love of God.
"Who shall separate us from the
love of Christ? Shall tribulation' or distress, or persecution, or
famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... No, in all these things
we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure
that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor
things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor
depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The absolute bond of love with God does not come from an easy, comfortable and unchallenged life. We can readily imagine how often depression attacked Paul and how much trouble he had with those under his leadership in addition to the suffering caused by his various opponents. However, Paul finally could say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (II Tim 4:7) Oh, Champion of faith! Hero in the good fight!
It is the general view that after Jesus was crucified, Paul was the one who laid the foundation of the Christian Church. The price Paul paid, the indemnity Paul made, was high enough to sustain Christian faith for the two thousand years of the New Testament Age! Countless are those who have been inspired by Paul, to whose devotion and sacrifice many Christians owe their spiritual growth.
Through the experiences of hunger, mockery, insult, rejection, persecution, worry for fellow members, we are sharing the noble experiences of the great apostles, saints, and the righteous who have suffered the same way paying restitution to lessen the evil of this world.
When we are insulted and rejected by the Christians because of our message, we know exactly how Jesus felt when he was insulted and rejected by the Jewish people. When we are rejected, mocked and persecuted because of the Divine Principles we teach, we are privileged to experience a small percentage of the thorny path our Leader has gone through. Without going through the same experiences, how can we know his feeling of loneliness, expressed so well by Elijah: "I am left alone, they are seeking my life."
Without physical suffering, how can we know his extreme fatigue in carrying the heavy burden day and night inspirit and body? Without being insulted and mocked by the masses, how can we know the narrow path of insults and mockery by the masses which he has received? Without being betrayed, reviled, and accused falsely for the sake of our Lord, how can we understand his gushing tears? Without being beaten, how can we feel his physical pain and aching? Without the experience of hunger, how can we know his hungry years of struggle? Without laboring for others' spiritual growth, how can we know his labor of raising us?
All aspects of his life have been manifestations of the suffering of the Heavenly Father. Only through suffering of one kind or another can we share his experiences, his feeling, and his life. Only after going through at least part of his suffering will we be able to feel and share his joy, victory, and glory!
Through suffering we come closer to Father and are able to think with Him, see things with Him, and feel with Him. In this way we become like Him in our desire, in our judgment, in our love and will. The Father is re-creating us after His divine; image through the various ways of suffering.
The Father has come a long way of suffering and rejection through the Old and New Testament Ages to meet us today. The way He came along was the way of rejection and suffering by mankind. So the only way to meet Him is to go back the same way He came through. Therefore the course of restoration can be no other than suffering. The way of indemnity can be no other than rejection. This is why Jesus said, "The gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Mt. 7:14)
Paul went through this way to lay the foundation of the Christian Church. We, the Cosmic Family, also have to go through the way of depression, perplexity, rejection, and insult to lay the foundation of the eternal ideal world. Since our goal is visible, our way is much easier for us to endure than that which Paul went through. Paul said, "I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong." These are the priceless privileges that we on earth can have to make a leap in our spiritual growth and to hasten the work of the whole and shorten the time of universal restoration. Spirits do not have a physical body and cannot make the wonderful adventure we can. This is why they envy us.
Let us take advantage of our privilege in having a physical body! Suffering is the absolute necessity for the universal restoration; then we must not avoid it by all means. Suffering is the best means to shorten our course; then we will gladly choose it. Suffering is the best discipline to re-create our personality after the Father; then we will buy it even with gold. Suffering is the quickest way to be one with the Father; then we will rejoice in it.
We now understand why Jesus said,
"Blessed are you when men revile
you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely
on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in
heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Undergoing rejection and suffering is a priceless privilege. Let us be grateful for our thorny path!