I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ (Phil. 1:12-13).
Kenneth Bae experienced God’s faithfulness while imprisoned in North Korea. Kenneth was traveling in that country when authorities uncovered an email message on his computer that spoke of praying with others for more North Koreans to know Jesus.
Such prayer was against the law, and Kenneth was sentenced to a hard labor camp. He became North Korea’s longest-held American prisoner. His health was not good and his deprivations were great. But he maintained his testimony which became a curiosity to his guards.
One asked, “If your God is so good, why are you here?”
Drawing encouragement from the Apostle Paul’s testimony to Roman guards, Kenneth replied, “If my God were not good, I would not be here to tell you about him.”
Through the many hardships, Kenneth never lost sight of God’s grace and faithfulness. His imprisonment and his eventual release put his faith and prayers before the world. As a consequence of his trials, Kenneth’s original prayers for more people to know of Jesus were more powerfully and expansively answered than he could ever have personally arranged or imagined.
Lord, help me to trust that my trials can be used to advance the gospel for my neighbors, loved ones, and persecutors. You will never waste my trials. Help me to trust you through them for Jesus’s sake.