Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mystery of Providence - Chapter Six

Preservation of the Saints from Evil

A further great advantage and mercy the saints receive from the hand of Providence is in their preservation from the snares and temptations of sin, by its preventing care over them. That Providence wards off many a deadly stroke of temptation and many a mortal thrust which Satan makes at our souls is a truth as manifest as the light that shines. This is included in that promise: God 'will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it' (1 Cor. 10. 13). (pg. 90)

In 1983 I left hearth and home after being reassigned by the US Army to the Republic of Korea. I was not happy to leave wife, children, and the comforts of the familiar. I was aware of the challenges of once again living in the barracks with fellow soldiers, but my imagination was not fertile enough at that time to know all of the evils into which young men, far away from home, can fall.

Honestly, prior to this time I had gone through a spiritual dry spell. In order to provide for my family I had been working a second job which required me to work on Sunday mornings. At first I would send the family off to church in the morning and join them later for evening worship, After a few months I would be too tired to do even this. My Bible Study and prayer life had faltered, and I was in a sorry state.

Yet, I knew that I would not be able to face a year (which eventually turned into 14 months) of separation from my family without Divine assistance. As I pondered my orders I began to pray. Over a period of weeks I began to see my spiritual house return to order. Then I began to pray that God would give me Christian companions and a witness to my fellow soldiers.

Arriving in country I soon discovered that my unit was comprised of 2/3 Korean soldiers (KATUSA) and that as a result I would be rooming with two Koreans. My first thought was that God had granted the second half of my prayer, and that I would be able to share Christ with them. As I tossed my duffle bag on a bed my two roommates entered the room. They asked me: "Are you a Christian?" to which I answered in the affirmative. Then one of them followed up with: "Do you read your Bible regularly and pray?" Once again I told them that I did. They then embraced me with these words: "Praise God! We were afraid that we would have a godless heathen American as our new roommate!"

I was soon to discover that the vast majority of KATUSA in that unit were Christians, mainly Presbyterians. The post chapel remained unlocked 24 hours a day to allow round the clock prayer meetings. Korean Christians could teach all of us something about prayer.

The only "fly in the ointment" was the presence of the American GI. Many of them felt that since they were no longer "in the world" that this meant that they could live in the most depraved fashion. For example, one Saturday morning around 1:00 AM, I had a knock on my door. It was a fellow soldier who wondered if I had time to talk with him. We made our way to a pot of coffee where he poured out his heart to me, wondering what advice I might give him. During his time away from home he had quit writing his wife, had cut off most of her allotment, and had begun to keep a girlfriend in "the ville". He was ready to go home, and wondered how he should approach his wife. My only advice was for him to confess his sins and beg for her mercy. What is doubly sad is the fact that he was one of the guys who appeared normal, and who had not "let it all hang out" like many others.

It was God's Providence that placed me into an accountability situation with my roommates. It was God's Providence that provided me with other Christian companions including several Missionaries. It was during this time that I felt God's call to leave the Army and enroll at SWBTS. It was God's Providence that my NCOIC took interest in me and showed me how to complete my undergraduate work while in Korea, so as to be eligible for enrollment in seminary. From beginning to end I was, and continue to be, in His care.

Walk therefore suitably to this obligation of Providence also. And see that you thankfully own it. Do not impute your escapes from sin to accidents, or to your own watchfulness or wisdom. (pg. 93-94)

1 comment:

Scott said...

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord. What a wonderful exaltation of God. My son spent two weeks in Korea in Dec 2006. He was also very impressed with the Christian Devotion of so many there.