I just finished "If I Perish", by Esther Kim, and have found myself preoccupied with many thoughts. This book chronicles the life if a young, frail Korean schoolteacher during the Japanese rule of her country before World War II. Being faithful to her God, she remained standing in a crowd of thousands when commanded to bow before a Japanese idol. That one act changed her life forever.
For a while she was able to hide from authorities and prepare herself physically, mentally and spiritually for the persecution ahead. Once detained God used her in amazing ways during the next six years of her imprisonment. Each short chapter recounts her interactions with other condemned prisoners (murderers, thieves, prostitutes, mentally ill), ruthless jailers, high ranking officials and how God used her to shine forth the light of the gospel in different ways. She writes honestly and humbly about her wavering faith and her faithful Lord. I learned most from reading about her prayer life and constant connection to God in petition and praise. It is truly a compelling and life changing story. Little did Esther know that her story had gone around the world. While she was suffering in a cold cell, The Church was praying for not only her rescue, but for her ministry.
This simple book has opened my eyes and now I'm asking myself these questions:
1) In what ways am I supporting and praying for the persecuted church?
2) How am I being told to bow to the idols of this world? Am I standing upright or trying to blend in?
3) In what ways is the Lord calling me to suffer for Him? Am I preparing for this or doing nothing and expecting it to never happen?
4) Am I reaching out with the Gospel of Truth to those God has put into my realm of influence? Am I willing to do whatever it takes love them with the love of Christ?
This book is most suitable for children. There is a small section at the end of the book that recalls the cruelty of the soldiers to the Japanese women after the war that I will skip over when reading it to my kids.