Dr. Kim Sung-hae, “spiritual mother” to City Harvest Church, rallied the congregation to battle trials God’s way.
Contributed By Jesscy Chua
For this year’s Mother’s Day weekend, City Harvest Church invited Dr. Kim Sung-hae to preach in its weekend services. Kim is no stranger to the CHC congregation. The wife of Rev. Dr. Yonggi Cho, who founded Yoido Full Gospel Church, is also a professional concert pianist and a composer whose gospel songs are sung by many Christians in different languages across the world. Kim is also the president of Hansei University Korea, and a traveling evangelist who holds healing rallies in cities across the globe.
Last weekend, Kim spoke to the congregation about trials—every Christian has his or her share of them. “We cannot predict trials,” said Kim, “but we don’t worry. They will become unforgettable memories later. Our lives are continually filled with testing and trouble.” With that in view, she shared an encouraging message on four ways to get blessings through sufferings.
First, Christians are to overcome the devil’s temptation with God. “We are tempted in our physical needs, like Jesus. Jesus overcame by God’s word,” she reminded the congregation, reading from Matthew 4. “Today the devil tempts us with social honor. Stand firm and cast out the devil. Jesus said, ‘Away from me, Satan!’”
Secondly, pray when you are faced with trials. “The children of God have hope. God wants to turn our trials into blessings.” Kim shared a story about how her mother, Choi Ja-Shil, prayed in a mountain-side cemetery, but neighbors complained she was too noisy. She decided to do as the soldiers did and built a bunker for praying. That prayer grotto was the beginning of the now-famous Prayer Mountain.
Kim’s third point was to upgrade oneself through tests. “The bigger our suffering, the brighter our lives will be,” she explained. We become enlarged by the testing we endure. And the final point, “obey and rely on God.” “Completely obey God,” exhorted Kim, “and He will reveal Himself. To trust God, you need to have a relationship with Him.”
Using various analogies—a breakwater structure, the knar (hole in the tree) and the filament of a bulb—to illustrate resistances to battles and sufferings, Kim explained that the greater the resistance of the filament, the brighter the light shines. Christians who are facing temptations, trials and testing can overcome them by the blood of Christ and with the help of the Holy Spirit.
“Dr. Kim has taught me not to be afraid of trials and testing, but to cast out the bad things or bad habits in the name of Jesus,” said Yang Jing Xiang, 38, who attends the Chinese Church but came specially to the English service to listen to Kim’s message. “God guards and protects me all this while.”
Jeffrey Chong, 35, felt strengthened by the message, “In our lives, we face many temptations. I am once again, reminded to overcome them with the help of God.”
Sunday being Mother’s Day, Kim shared stories about her mother, who passed away 20 years ago. People called her mother “Hallelujah Mama” as she was constantly heard professing the word “Hallelujah!” Back in 1958, the year Yoido Full Gospel was founded, the church was so poor they had no musical instruments, not even a cassette player. So while Cho preached, Kim’s mother would sing. Children would come and watch them, and her mother would offer them candies. But as they didn’t have enough for all the kids, her mother would break the sweets into tiny pieces with her teeth and give them out. Those were days of lack and her mother sacrificed, especially for her. Kim encouraged the congregation to love their mothers and give them what they love—it needn’t be something pricey, perhaps just something they love to eat. “Do it for them. God will bless you,” she said.
She also gave an example of how obeying God has brought her to the next level. Ten years ago, God wanted her to preach but she was reluctant, as she was predominantly a pianist, not a preacher. Yet, she obeyed and over the years, God has made her a preacher who has blessed many.
“If you have a relationship with God, you will trust and obey God. You will not worry about your fortune,” said Kim.
The preacher closed her session by encouraging the congregation: with experience comes providence from God, she reminded the people, adding that she will stand by them in prayer and they will go to the next level God has planned for them. Kim’s motherly love and concern touched every heart in CHC.
At the Mother’s Day services, mothers truly felt the love of God at service. Carmen Ang, an 18-year-old member of CHC, shared through a video, the story of how her single mother, a vocal coach, raised her, sacrificed for her, and eventually, passed away from cancer two years ago. Ang sang a beautiful tribute to her mother that left few eyes dry. Every mother was presented a little bouquet of flowers, and the congregation prayed for all mothers and appreciated them.