My Best Friend : Youngtaek Kim
Job 19:25-27 (ESV)
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. 26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, 27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!
It’s been a long time since I sat down to think about my father; not my heavenly father, but my earthly one. I still live with him and yes, we talk on occasion but our relationship is far from engaging, let alone loving. We’ve both come a long way, but the memories of our past haunt me through my prayers and permeate beyond the joys of life.
The oldest pictures and videos of me as a child show evidence of an abusive family. Growing up, my family made multiple trips to the hospital. It wasn’t because of a disease or a sickness, nor an accident or a disaster. It was the physical abusiveness of my father which I was told to cover up at the hospital. As I got older, the physical abuse became an expectation of life that was met with mental and emotional abuse as well.
I was often told how worthless I was to the family and my father made it regularly clear that I contributed absolutely nothing. My achievements as a person and as a student meant nothing at home. All the awards and encouragements that tasted so sweet outside, quickly turned sour when I came home. Home was a reminder to me that I wasn’t good at anything; that this was who I was meant to be.
In the winter of 2010, at the age of 19, I decided to pack my things and run away. I lived off of friends and strangers for two years, occasionally finding myself spending the night in subway stations and windproof alleys. Lucky to eat one meal a day and alone in the entire universe, this became the darkest time in my life. The anger and bitterness in my heart turned towards God and I lost my mind thinking of ways to hurt Him back. I lied to believers with the intention of ruining their faith, and I openly persecuted the vulnerable places of the church.
I vengefully hunted God to make known to Him my pain, and to my surprise, He revealed Himself in the hopelessness of my days. He told me that it was Him who sent my friends early in the morning to bring me food the other day. It was Him who was taking care of my lonely mother back at home. He showed me every moment that He was with me when I felt alone, and He revealed to me His bleeding heart for the pain I received from my father.
I was scared of all the damage that I had done, but I desperately wanted to live for the first time in my life. I had lost friends and family and I had even lost a part of myself, but now I had God and I wanted Him to lead me. He walked me through my rehabilitation - from welcoming arms at church to hours of psychotherapy, God revealed to me what I was worthy to Him.
Through the Bible, He told me how He loved me before I was born, and how He had a plan to rescue me and use me. This Father cared about my achievements as a student even though I had achieved everything already through Christ. For the first time, someone was willing to deal with my brokenness and I was able to taste the true sweetness of encouragement for the first time. I fell in love with Jesus, who was not only my redeemer but also my closest friend.
Jesus now calls me to ministry, to encourage those who have been crippled by their families and to testify of God’s relentless pursuit for His children. He also uses me to encourage my father who has been crippled by his family and to testify that God pursues him as well. It would be dishonest to say that God has redeemed every part of my life, but He has given me a foundation that cannot be shaken. Through my life, I want to proclaim God’s desire for His people and display the unending grace of God that has healed my life.
For Your Reflection
God’s pursuit of us is greater than our suffering. And Christ’s love for us is greater than our sins. Praise God that no matter how far you run, Jesus Christ is mighty to save. Jesus doesn’t need us to pick up our act in order to be loved by Him. He loved us before we were born and displays it to us every day of our lives. Pray and meditate on His Word, be encouraged and encourage others for God is with you all of your days.