I believe that God has determined a specific place and time for my life. I believe I was not born as an accident, that I was not randomly placed into the family and country where I live.
I believe that I was supposed to be born in America and not in Korea. I believe God planned that I would grow up in a comfortable suburban life in the North Shore of Chicago, speaking English, living in a stable, secure home, and going to college at a privileged private university.
Sometimes I wonder why God chose that I should grow up with all these privileges. Recently I joined an organization that is devoted to helping North Korean refugees and orphans. When I hear the stories of young North Korean girls being sold to Chinese farmers and countless North Korean orphans wandering the countryside in search of food, I think, why them and not me?
The possibility that I would have been born into a completely different life is not so unlikely. My maternal grandparents were from the northern part of Korea before it became the isolated, extremist communist country that it is now known as. At the time my grandparents were born, Korea was one unified nation. When the Korean War began, my grandmother made a harrowing journey from the North to the South with a toddler in her hand and a sick infant strapped to her back, and my mother still in her womb. I used to ask myself, what would have happened if my grandmother never survived? Would my mother never have been born? Would she have been born in North Korea? Would she have met my father? Would they have immigrated to the United States?
My grandmother’s journey occurred just 57 years ago, and the events of the war and its consequences can never really be forgotten for my family. Even though I grew up as a child of the American dream, my grandparents left behind brothers, sisters, and parents in the North. Many others of their generation lost sons and daughters. But for a reason that only God knows, he allowed our family to escape safely to the South, and 30 years later my mother and father moved to Chicago to begin a new life.
And now what do I do with this belief? Should I continue to live in a bubble of relative safety and comfort, carefully building a life of privilege for my future children? I have to believe that there is more to my life. I believe that I and other Korean Americans like me are uniquely equipped to somehow make a significant impact on North Korea. Whether that is through humanitarian aid or reunification or a tough stance on their human rights’ abuses, I don’t know.
What I do know is that God didn’t make a mistake. I believe he has a specific plan for my life, for the lives of North Korean refugees and orphans, and that somehow our lives are intertwined.
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