PASTOR OCK SOO PARK

  • 30. When will you rely on the Lord

  • When will you rely on the Lord 
    After receiving salvation, I wasn't without my difficulties. I met many hardships. However, the surprising thing is, in the past, I had to take responsibility for everything, but after receiving salvation, God is with me doing things instead of me. Things that looked difficult and fearful at first, I was later able to see those things completed in a beautiful manner. It's not merely once or twice that I have come to realize that, "God has accomplished these works. He has done this as well." 

    My army life was not an exception. I couldn't take my loving family or relatives to the army. Yet luckily, God was with me in the army as well. Whenever things were difficult or I was hungry in the army, God had allowed my heart to become closer to His. One thing I like about the army was that worldly methods did not work in the army, so I had to depend on God all the more. 

    In 1965, before entering the army, I met with a couple of adults and said my good byes. Many of them told me to return safely and gave me a bit of money. That money was such a large amount for me, who was entering the army, but I began to think, "If I don't depend on God while living in the army, when am I going to get the chance to?" 

    I had decided not to take that money with me. So, I spent the money on other things and left a folded 5000-won bill pasted in my Bible in case I may need it. Actually, I only had about 10-won of change after giving a needy brother, money for socks that he had lost. 

    That is why, while living in the army for three years, I didn't once spend money. Although there were times they would collect money in our quarters to eat out, I firmly told them, "Since I don't have any money, don't ask me for it. Instead, although it may not be much, I will not spend a penny of my salary, so take it and do what you wish. I can't pay you. "While living in the army, I could not ask of anybody, and my family situation didn't allow me to bring money to spend from home. However, when I needed money, I was able to experience God satisfy everything through grace. Those experiences were a great blessing to me. 

    While training at the camp I became hungry. Three meals a day we are given the amount of rice fixed by the army, but because we run all day, we were hungry no matter how much we ate. After eating breakfast, I felt so sad and empty and awaited lunch, and after lunch, I waited for dinner. All I thought about was eating. 


    "God, Sticky Rice Cakes?" 

    One day after eating breakfast, I was walking out of the cafeteria and went to the PX, the army's market, which was right next-door. I didn't have money, so even if I were to go to the market, there was nothing to buy, so I rarely went, but that day, I happened to go in without any thought. The market sold many things, and among those things the soldiers who were training were fond of were the sticky rice cakes. My fellow soldiers had bought a lot of the rice cakes and were eating them. Since I didn't have any money, I just watched them eat and left. It was a cloudy day. As I gazed up at the sky I said, "God, sticky rice cakes?" Without me knowing it, I found myself saying this. 

    Then I went to go train, and trained very hard. That day, we fired guns. Shooting was very important at the training camp. If you shot, it went towards gaining points for the general, but if the points are low, the general went through much hardship. So, the general did everything to raise the shooting points, and the trainees who failed at shooting were given a harsh punishment. Behind the Daegu training camp there was a mountain called, "Waryong Mountain,"where there was no grass that grew. This was because the soldiers who failed the shooting were punished by having to go up and down the mountain hopping like rabbits and waddling like ducks. So when the day to fire guns arrived, everyone wanted to do well to avoid having to undergo a dreadful daylong punishment if they failed. 

    Finally, it was my turn. I became partners with this one fellow soldier I had met for the first time in the army. The way the shooting goes is that one person is the defender and the other is the assistant; and I was to go first. Although I did not shoot the gun well, I passed. After my row had finished shooting, the general commanded, "Defenders and assistants switch!" So that comrade who was the assistant was now shooting, and all I had to do was to stand behind him and pass the bullets. When the general commanded, shouting, "Open fire!" the shots began to ring and the firing commenced. But the friend who was my partner could not fire a single shot. 

    "Hey! Hurry up and shoot!" 

    That comrade looked at my badge and said, "Hey, Ock-soo Park! I'm in trouble." 

    "Why?" 

    "Whenever I shoot a gun I don't know where the bullets go, but not a single one hits the target. I'm dead." 

    He was trembling. "But you should still shoot!" 

    "What good will it do? Not a single bullet will hit. I'm so worried about the punishment I'll receive today." 

    "Hey, then do you want me to shoot for you?" 

    "Will you?" 

    "Yeah, I'll shoot for you." 

    That comrade was very happy. I had shot the gun in his stead. Luckily, I passed that time as well and we were able to avoid being punished. 

    I returned from firing guns when, within our squad, when I heard people going around saying, "Hey, I heard that somebody's older brother is a second lieutenant in the army, and he came to visit him." In a little while, someone was called out to the PX and that person was none other than my partner during the gun firing training. Normally, during the six weeks of training at the camp, the trainee is not permitted visitors or a vacation, but that comrade's brother was a second lieutenant, and so he was able to make a visit. However, that friend that was called out returned to the quarters. It was because his brother had said, "Hey, don't you have friends? Why did you come out alone?" But, he didn't have any friends. He came in and looked around and spotted me, who had fired for him, and said, "You! Let's go." I followed him to the PX. 

    Before going to the army, I thought insignificantly of a second lieutenant, but the second lieutenant I saw at the training camp seemed so high. The badge of rank made of diamond upon his hat seemed to sparkle so much and seemed very respectable. I greeted him with a salute. Right then the friend's brother said, "Good work. Sit down. What would you like to eat?" I didn't say another word but said, "Sticky rice cakes!" 

    The brother saw the mound of sticky rice cakes piled upon a plate and told the soldier working at the PX, "Hey, bring that plate of sticky rice cakes to the table!" Then he said to me, "You eat. PX soldier, you count. I'll pay." 

    It was the first time I had bought and ate that many sticky rice cakes. That day, I didn't eat the sticky rice cakes, but stuffed them in my mouth. It was so good that I just devoured them, and ate so much you couldn't count. Nevertheless, there was so many rice cakes upon the plate that it seemed like it did not reduce. Later, my comrade's brother asked me, "Will you be okay? Are you okay?" Maybe it was because I ate so much and he was worried that my stomach would explode, because he looked upon me with a worried countenance. 

    I responded, "Yes, I'm fine," and continued to eat. Although I was a bit full, I thought, "I should stop eating. If I continue like this my stomach might explode," I wanted to eat one more. As I ate I found that I was filled up to my throat with sticky rice cakes. Later, when I said, "Thank you for the meal," my stomach was heavily protruded. I do not know how I said my goodbyes and walked all the way back to our quarters. 

    I lay down to sleep that evening. When us trainees sleep, we had to sleep head-to-head in three rows and sleep in a straight line. So when sleeping, if we wanted to pray, it wasn't permitted for us to get on our knees. Yet this wasn't a problem, because God heard my prayers regardless if I was lying down or kneeling. I prayed to God lying down, "Father God, I truly thank you!" Endless gratitude poured forth. 

    "Father God, I just said, 'God, sticky rice cakes!' and you have given me the rice cakes in this manner. God, if you are with me, no matter where I go, it will not be a problem." 

    God wanted me to know that, "I am with you," through these many different ways. No matter the situation, God did not forsake me, but protected and lead me. 

    After eating the sticky rice cakes, I felt so nourished that I didn't feel the slightest bit of hunger for the next ten days. I realized that was why in the past the adults fed sticky cakes to a famished person to seal their stomachs. I still cannot forget the sticky rice cakes I ate then, and I still like sticky rice cakes now. Whenever I eat the sticky rice cakes that were made with sticky rice and pounded into cakes, then filled with red beans and shaped roundly, I think of God. 



    It Wasn't A Problem At All 
    Everything in my life clothes, shoes, even a watch, there is a testimony God has given me behind all these articles. When I looked only unto God and did not use human power, He faithfully worked. Although I was a person who lacked faith, as I experienced God who worked steadfastly, I couldn't help but trust and thank Him. 

    While training, whenever I was hungry, or things were difficult, I would look at the situation and realize that I was just a weak soldier who had no way. A soldier in training was the lowest ranked, most hard to bear and tired person in the army. However, to me, my life at the training base was the happiest, most joyful, and thankful period in my life. Why? It was because God was with me.


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