I love making up funny captions for pictures. When I saw this recent photo of North Korean troops on military exercises, I was tempted to label it "Camo FAIL!!!" because the whole point of camouflage is not to be seen, and these uniforms the North Korean troops are wearing make them stick out like beacons on the late winter terrain.
But as I viewed a whole slideshow of photos, my heart went out to the North Koreans. Their government spends untold amounts of money on a military machine while their people go hungry. Sources have reported for years that North Koreans are actually shorter than their South Korean cousins due to malnutrition. The BBC recently investigated and confirmed this phenomenon.
For North Korea, the war goes on--a war (or the illusion of one) that serves the purpose of keeping the North Korean people militarized and constantly on edge, making them willing to sacrifice (i.e., starve) for the sake of the "glorious revolution," and allowing the government to classify the people into social categories based on their loyalty to the State. North Korea groups its citizens into 51 social categories, graded by loyalty to the regime, according to The Economist. Of those groups, 29 are considered to make up a mostly rural underclass that is hostile or at best ambivalent towards the regime.
And the tragegy is: Nobody wants to harm North Korea or its people--NOBODY!!! If any military action is ever undertaken against North Korea, it will be to stop the madness of the North Korean leadership that keeps threatening its neighbors with nuclear attacks and selling weapons of mass destruction to other rogue states around the world.
South Korea, for its part, would love to be reunited to its northern brothers and sisters and to live in peace. And I am sure most of the North Korean people would like that as well. If North Korea stopped their aggression and opened their borders, no one would invade their country. They could enjoy healthy international relationships and the same freedom and prosperity as the South. There are plenty of South Koreans who would love to share the love of Jesus Christ with them. All they would lose is the dictatorial government that has held them prisoner for more than 60 years. But there is the problem: those who benefit from being part of the dictatorial regime obviously don't want this to happen.
What can an ordinary Christian in the West do? Pray. Kim Jong-un is a young leader. I believe he is receiving bad advice, and it is playing into his feeling that he needs to prove himself.
So how do we pray and act?
- A united church in prayer will bring about a united Korea. Christians of all denominations need to unite in prayer for this and other world needs.
- Pray for wisdom for South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye, the first woman to be elected as President in South Korea. (Park is the daughter of South Korea's 3rd president and saw both her parents assassinated--her mother by a North Korean agent in 1974, and her father by his own intelligence chief in 1979.) Pray that she may have wisdom for such a time as this.
- Ask God to restrain the the North Korean military from advancing against South Korea.
- Pray for Christians in both Japan and South Korea to stand together as one.
- Ask God to touch the heart of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and draw him to become a believer.
- Pray for the persecuted church in North Korea. (See the very important article on North Korea's Christians linked below.)
- Ask God to influence China, that it will no longer support this rogue nation.
- Pray for those in the government and the military in South Korea to have wisdom and protection. Ask the Lord for a great revival among the leaders.
"A Christmas Prayer for North Korea's Christians," from The Wall Street Journal.