PASTOR OCK SOO PARK

  • I Am Not a Chosen Man!


  • Mother attended church when she was single. She then married into our family. At that time, when I was young, it was impossible for my mother to let her parents-in-law know that she attended church. I heard my mother often singing praises while she was sowing because they did not like churchgoers. “Lord Jesus Christ, when He comes to the world. . . .” She then started to take us to church. Before I had any sense I was attending church, and even after I got matured I continued. During Sunday school, summer Bible school, and preparation for Christmas, etc., there were many fun events at church. I received a lot of rewards and praises, and different from the other kids, I could truly say that I was raised in the church. Because I had been taught by the Sunday school teachers and the pastor while I was growing up, it would have been normal for me to become a good person.

    However, it wasn’t like that. As I got older I committed more sins. At first I thought, “I would just commit a few sins, and it would be all right if I didn’t commit too many.” With this thought in mind, I committed just a few sins with my friends. Strangely enough, when I didn’t commit sins I wasn’t having fun at all, but when I committed sins, it was terribly enjoyable. That is how I grew up, eating and drinking sins. On Sunday when I went to church, it was agonizing.

     

    And then I went to Seoul with my seniors and attended school. I received a monthly allowance, but for three months no money was sent. My roommates kept on badgering me about the rent and the monthly expenses. It got so bad that I didn’t want to go home. And so I thought, “I can’t go on this way, so I will earn some money.” Just then, I saw an ad for paper delivery so I went to the regent office and met the director and had an interview. If I wanted to work I had to bring in a deposit so that I wouldn’t take off with the money that I would make from selling the paper. At that time the amount was quite large, but I managed to gather the funds. When the director said, “If you quit before three months’ time, you’d lose the deposit; You still want the job?” I agreed to take it. After we drew up a contract I received on account for three hundred houses.

     

    Every month I should collect the amount that was due, and then what was left over was mine. When I calculated, I figured out that I would make a profit from about fifty to sixty houses. I worked hard for a month, and then when I went to collect the money, they said, “Who asked for the paper to be delivered?” And they didn’t pay for the papers. About fifty to sixty houses didn’t pay. When the accounts were given to me, even houses that did not order the papers were included in that number of three hundred. The newspapers which were to be delivered, kept on coming, but the orders were fewer than the supply. I worked really hard for a month but there was no profit. There was no way that I could work like that. When I thought about the deposit, which I’d lose it if I quit before three months’ time, I knew that the deliverers were being cheated. I thought about how to take revenge. Then, after collecting the amount that was due for the papers that had been delivered, the sum was double the deposit, so I decided to take off with the money.

    I was nervous about staying in Seoul, so came back to my hometown. My father and brothers asked why I returned, yet I couldn’t say anything. If I had told the adults, it would not have been such a big deal, but I was really afraid. When my father called me, I could not answer and I could not look up at him. During supper time, I didn’t want to face him, so sometimes I would skip a meal. I received letters from the school in Seoul and also from my roommates stating that whatever the problem was, they would be responsible. I ripped up the letters. After a month or two the issue was resolved, but because the countryside was so boring, I could not continue to live there. I was told to go work in the barley field. I worked all day, but the work was endless. Life in the country was dull and all I did with my friends was commit sins. . . . There was nothing to do there, so I attended church.

     

    When I went to church it seemed like Jesus would be coming soon, but if He did come, I was fearful that I would go to hell. Full of fear, sin, and guilt ridden, the year 1962 was a year I did not want to remember. I could not continue my studies, farming, nor was I qualified to take the civil service exam. I couldn’t even go into the army because I had failed the physical exam due to dental problems. Nothing was going right. God drove me into the corner of suffering, at which time I realized that “There is no one on earth as wretched as I am.” In the past, I was cocky and thought that I was intelligent. I now began to entertain the thought of dying, but because my thoughts were so chaotic, I could not even die. When one thinks about dying, he must just do it, but if he considers this or that thought, it’s too hard to die. And I was also fearful of death. When I think back on the situation in Seoul I remember how I thought that I was in the right, but then after going to church, I realized that it was a sin. I was in such agony that I began to drink and to smoke.

     

    Whenever my friends and I got together we would go to the peanut and sweet potato fields. One time we went into a field and ate a lot of peanuts but later we found out that it was our field. Whenever we got together with the young people at church, it was time for party. At that time all the young people carried a small pocket The New Testament Bible; after service was over we would eat and be merry. I was fine when we were being entertained, but later when I stood alone before God I was in anguish. I would say to myself, “Until now I’ve been bad, but from now on, I am going to have a change of heart and I will be good.” I thought if I were determined to try this or that, it would work. However, the strange thing was that when I tried hard and I thought it would work, it didn’t. During revival services and every New Year, I was determined not to sin. “This time it’s going to work.” I would repent crying, yet I would soon fall into sin again. That was why I thought, “Oh, I am not a chosen man! I am chosen to go to hell. Therefore, I’ll just continue to sin, and with a comforted heart I’ll go to hell.” But when I committed sins my heart wasn’t comfortable, so I returned to church.

     

    One day during a revival service I heard that Jesus cleansed us of all our sins on the cross. When I heard this, I felt good, but when I heard, “If we have the forgiveness of sin, our sin will no longer be remembered.” After hearing the word, I became confused. “Since I remember my sins, my sins can not be forgiven.” This is why I worried for a whole year. I went to church when there was no service, shouting I asked, “God, tell me whether my sin is gone or not?” I didn’t look to the Scriptures but was looking for God’s voice. Yet, there was no response. I followed the deacons, the elders, and the pastors who had walked the spiritual path. I lived a life of repenting and confessing that I was a sinner. I confessed, “God, today I committed this sin, please forgive me!”

    When there were people around me, I was embarrassed so I attended the early morning service. I would go to the chapel early in the morning, lit the lamps and rang the bell. The bell was so big, one meter in diameter, thus I had to swing on the rope to ring it. After ringing the bell in that fashion, I would go to the pastor’s home and say, “Pastor, it’s time for the morning service.” I was so zealous that I even repented of my sins. “Lord, yesterday I committed this and that kind of sin, please forgive me. Help me not to sin today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!” After confessing my sins I felt good. However, I lived life as if I were running in a hamster’s wheel, I knew something was wrong. My heart kept telling me that God was not pleased with this, saying that I believed in Jesus and committing sins and then repenting. . . . When I went to church, my heart would ache terribly. Although I committed sins, I was unable to repent in regards to the origin of the sins, therefore I cried again and confessed my sins. I did not have a normal nor a good relationship with God, I merely spoke about all the sins I committed.

    Something was wrong with my spiritual life but I didn’t know what it was like, so one night I went and sought my pastor.

    “Pastor, I came to discuss my spiritual life.”

    “Oh, Mr. Park, come on in.”

    “Pastor, I’m embarrassed to say but I must say this. When I was in Seoul, I committed this and that kind of sins. I’ve confessed my sins and in order to bear the fruit of repentance I repaid them as well. No matter what the root of my sin, it exists and continues to bother me. Pastor, what shall I do? If this is not resolved, I can no longer continue to have a spiritual life.”

    That conversation was so serious that I can still recall what was said.

    “Mr. Park, I have three daughters who go to school away from home. There’s no way of knowing what sort of sins they’re committing. Mr. Park, in their youth, everyone commits such sins. I can’t say that they don’t commit such sins just because they are my daughters. Mr. Park, these are times when you really need faith, if you fall into this kind of situation you will be ruined, it will be the end of you. These are times for you to pray with zeal, and to have a faithful spiritual life. Mr. Park, do you understand?”

    “Yes, I do.”

    Although I answered, I had no strength. I knew about praying diligently and reading the Bible before the pastor told me. However, I tried but it didn’t work. So thereafter I was bound by sin and was in agony yet there was no one to witness the gospel to me.

     

    In the year of 1962, October 7th, I was praying alone in the chapel on a Sunday morning. I was confessing all the sins which I could remember, then the people came in for the service. I stopped praying but after they left I continued to pray again. But that morning, the fact that Jesus cleansed all my sin on the cross came right into my heart. Back then it was not like it is now; there was no one to explain to me about sin offerings in the Old Testament nor about the sacrifice of sins forever. “Then all of my sins are forgiven!” As I thought on these things, my heart was comforted. Amazingly, from then on, I began to change without realizing it. I knew that God who seemed far away in the past, was now near to me. I began to pray for each and everything that was in my heart, not like before. The more I read the Scriptures, the more enjoyable it was, and the Bible did not leave my hands, and many times I would sleep with the Bible in my arms.

    Before God had saved me, God wanted to show me what kind of person I really was. I came to realize that I was totally incapable and so filled with sins and that I belonged in hell as a filthy sinner. When I had no hope, God saved me. After being saved, when I look back on the life I led, I hated it so much that I only looked upon God. When I didn’t depend on myself and only looked upon God, amazingly God held me and began to guide me by His grace. (Adpated from A Grain of Mustard Seed by Pastor Ock Soo Park)

     

     

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