If we could see a living illustration of hope, what might it look like? Consider the life of Robert Jermain Thomas. This man served as a Welsh missionary with the London Missionary Society in China. There, God gave him a strong desire to work among the people of Korea.
In 1866, Thomas took a job on an American trading ship heading for Pyongyang, North Korea, as an interpreter for the crew, in hopes of spreading the gospel. The leaders of the trading ship intended to establish trade between Korea and the United States, even though uninvited trade was forbidden.
But Thomas’ first trip to North Korea would be his last. The trading ship ran aground on the muddy river bottom near Pyongyang, and was attacked and set aflame by Korean soldiers. Everyone onboard had to abandon the burning ship, and those who fled were killed. Robert Thomas leapt to shore carrying Bibles, which he offered to his attackers while crying, “Jesus, Jesus!” in Korean. Sadly, the missionary was beheaded.
Thomas’ witness had not been in vain, however. Because his executioner believed Thomas to be a good man, he kept one of the Bibles and wallpapered his house with its pages. People visited from all around just to read what the book said. Later a church was established in the area, and the executioner’s nephew became its pastor.
In life and death, Robert Thomas demonstrated his faith in Christ and hope of eternal life. Even after his death, his hope lived on. Likewise, we should be living out our hope in Christ each day of our lives. Our actions are a showcase of our convictions. Our eternal hope should be a wellspring of joy and peace bubbling up within us when everyone else is panicked and disoriented at life’s dilemmas. It should be a reservoir of strength when disappointment comes our way.
Do you have hope, Christian? Then I challenge you to live so that the world can see it in you today.
One day we will meet beside the river and our Lord will dry every tear. For now, we must live in the joy of that promise and recall that for every generation life is hard, but God is faithful. — Bodie Thoene
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.