Have you been watching the reaction to the unexpected events in North and South Korea? Journalists and politicians have been arguing back and forth about who or what led to the unprecedented meeting between north and south. None of them expected that Kim Jong Un would cross the border into South Korea, especially in light of the fact that, just a few weeks earlier, much of the world was expecting him to trigger another war and most alarmingly, to use nuclear weapons in anger for the first time in more than 70 years.
But the steady progress towards official peace and even reunification continues at an entirely unexpected pace. I notice that just a few days ago the North Korean regime changed their official time zone to match the South. Until now, they had used even the clocks to demonstrate that they were completely separate and sworn enemies.
When the great thaw came so suddenly, some figured it was due to the “diplomacy” of Donald Trump—that for the first time in decades, an American President might actually strike a devastating first blow to North Korea. Others were quick to say (along the expected political lines of division) that Trump had nothing to do with it, but that it was due to economic hardship. Others speculated that it was because China finally agreed to impose some sanctions and that threatened the viability of Kim’s regime. Still others pointed to satellite evidence that the tunnels being used to develop nuclear capacity had mysteriously collapsed, destroying much of what they had gained.
I suspect that some of all of the factors just listed might have contributed to the great thaw, but that none of them were causative.
An Israeli friend of mine says, “The destiny of nations is not to be found in the visible majority, but in the redeemed minority—even though it might be very small.” In other words, a few people obeying the Holy Spirit can make all the difference. The Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the believers in Ephesus that, “God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made Him head over all things for the benefit of the Church.” (Ephesians 1:22).
We don’t often see the truth of this scripture worked out, so we might well ask if it is really true, and if it is, how can we see it work? Experience over recent years leads me to believe that we can see this authority in action when two conditions are met: first that we seriously depend on the Holy Spirit, listening and sacrificially obeying; second, that we allow him to work deeply within us until we, the people of God, come to the depth of unity that Jesus describes to his disciples in John 17:21 – “I pray that they may all be one, just as You and I are one…” And that means oneness across all the usual dangerous human divides.
In recent years I have experienced this extraordinary unity on several occasions, with Germans, French and English; with Jews and Arabs, with Chinese, Japanese and Koreans, with French and English Canadians and many other often toxic divisions. It is an “end times move” to unite the Bride of Christ and is, as far as I know, unprecedented in history.
Now, in the past few months on two occasions believers from many nations have convened believers from South and North Korea. In the first one, some of the expected tensions and even anger boiled to the surface. But God is in this—not only was it the right thing to do; it was in God’s time. Timing is important! The Holy Spirit melted hurt and hardened people and they embraced one another. (None of us should underestimate the size of the cultural and economic gulf that has grown between these two nations during the past 70 years.)
When that first meeting was over, the Holy Spirit spoke to those who convened and said, “The work has not been completed yet; gather again!” They obeyed sacrificially and gathered again, only weeks after the first one. Once again the Holy Spirit moved very deeply, resulting in a depth of family love that none had ever experienced before. At the conclusion of that event, there was a sense that God had done what He wanted.
And, that very week, the political chasm began to be bridged. I can’t prove that the meeting of the “redeemed minority” was the primary cause of the beginning of the peace process, but that is what I believe—and no one can say that it had no effect.
After all what does the Word of God say?
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore put on every piece of God’s armor…”
I believe it!