You got to love it—here I am with my son Kirk Monday evening waiting and watching for the historic moment when the President of the United States and the President of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea meet and shake hands—when without warning my screen goes into freeze mode. Can you believe it! All I wanted to do was witness that history-making handshake, and my screen freezes. Freezes, actually, with their two right hands reaching to clasp each other. No words, no movement, no nothing except two hands—frozen.
Presumably, the rest of the world was able to watch that much ballyhooed and eagerly anticipated handshake with the brief words and muted smiles that followed—but no matter where you live or what ideology you subscribe to, the truth is it was a meeting fraught with global consequence and significance.
And, I might add, particularly for the Kingdom of God. As a Seventh-day Adventist Christian—whose mother 89+ years ago was born in Pyongyang (when Korea was an undivided nation) and who himself was born in Tokyo and attended high school in Singapore—I certainly was drawn to this dramatic diplomatic feat (playing out on live television) for reasons beyond the geopolitics of the event.
Along with thousands of Christians, perhaps many of you, I've found myself praying earnestly these last few days for the diplomatic success of this meeting. For one simple reason. Over the last three decades, we have witnessed the "opening" of Russia, China, and Cuba to God's endgame appeal "to every nation, tribe, language and people" (Revelation 14:6-12). While all three of those countries remain solidly communist in their political governance, the fact is that Christianity along with our own faith community has experienced unprecedented growth there over the last thirty years. I have preached evangelistic series in two of those countries. But the political tolerance that has fostered such growth is already being tempered and in some cases withdrawn.
So a divine door of opportunity opening eventually in North Korea, the last communist nation to remain closed to Christianity, would present a powerful breakthrough for the "everlasting gospel" and our mission to reach that people group.
Could it be the promises we claim for Japan are appropriate as well for North Korea? "I am the LORD, and there is no other. . . . From the rising of the sun [far east] to the place of its setting [far west] people may know that there is none besides Me. . . . Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other" (Isaiah 45:5-6, 22). One by one the nations of this third millennial world are being drawn into the circle of God's passionate endgame appeal. Country by country the Three Angels' Messages are penetrating. But never forget that the Apocalypse promises even more, "After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory" (Revelation 18:1 emphasis supplied). The entire earth surely includes North Korea—and even our own nation here at home!
So we must (1) keep interceding before God for the fulfillment of both His Three Angels and Fourth Angel breakthrough promises. It is high time God's people were on our knees daily supplicating His throne of grace and mercy on behalf of the unsaved billions in the Far East, the Middle East, the West, the North and the South. And we must (2) help answer our own prayers by volunteering our financial resources, and even our own availability and willingness, perhaps, to enter one of these opening doors to answer God's call to "Go!"
Mother is buried beside Dad in Loma Linda, far away from the land of her birth. But the dedicated missionary lives that were spent penetrating a world closed much more tightly then than now were not in vain. Rather it is the legacy of this generation to finish the mission task of that generation and reach this civilization one last time for Jesus before He returns. All of that I pondered in a frozen handshake a few nights ago. It really is time to "Go!"—isn't it?