Last weekend, I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim speak as he was given an honorary doctorate at Tyndale Seminary’s convocation. Lim, the South Korean-born minister of the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, made news last summer after he was freed after more than two years of detention in a North Korean prison, to which he had been given a life sentence with hard labour…all for having been providing humanitarian aid to the North Korean people.
In his short but poignant speech, Lim spoke about his experience as a prisoner in North Korea – his hard work, his sicknesses, his visions from the Lord, his memorization of Scripture, and the like. But the one thing he talked about that struck me most was the importance of waiting.
Heaven knows that Pastor Lim had a lot of waiting to do. When he wasn’t working – often chopping up large boulders of coal into small bits, winter and summer – he was alone. He knew that his Canadian family, church family and government were doing all that could be done to secure his release. But the days must surely have been long.
He redeemed the time, though, and found that he grew in the fruit of patience as he waited. He learned many Bible passages and explanations of Scripture. His prayer life was rich. And he waited.
What do you need to wait on God for? Too often, we like to have everything now. Many things, though, don’t come now. As we wait, we grow more mature, emotionally and spiritually, and we learn that “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40.31a, NRSV).