Lenten Journey:

Finding God in the Wilderness

As we prepare for Easter, Pastor Seok-Hwan will be sharing daily Lenten Reflections delivered right to your email inbox. Please take a moment to read them and reflect. Join us for services as you are able, either in-person at UMCW or online at www.umcw.org.

Pastor Seok-Hwan's Experience of Wilderness

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! " (Psalm 130:1-2)


(This letter was sent to the congregation of North Boston Korean Church Family from the Children’s Hospital in August 2003, when my son, Kori was admitted.)

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,            


Now I ask God for the reason why I am going through this difficult ordeal on the 6th floor of Children’s Hospital. I believe that there are no coincidences in my life, but everything happens to me under God’s providence. Being alone in the dark of midnight, I ask again and again the reason for this ordeal and the meaning behind it. I always thought I was an exception to suffering and pain, but there seems to be no exception under the sky. But rather than being filled with resentment, I ask God why this happened to my family. It must mean something, but I don't know what the reason is right now.


Being alone with me in the hospital room, Kori told me this so calmly: “Dad! It is useless to worry about my destiny. If the time God gave me is only 16 years, no matter how much we try, it will be useless. But if there is something God wants us to learn through a hard and difficult time, God’s will be accomplished through me. If God is willing, I will be getting better no matter what. Don't worry, Dad. Just as I didn't come into this world knowing why, so I have to leave this world without knowing why. Dad, I'm fine. Don't worry. Just let God work through us!" Are these words coming out of the mouth of a 16-year-old boy? It was the voice of God to me through my son. And he finally said: "Dad, because I'm sick, I think I might live my life in a very meaningful and faithful way from now on."


One thing I can share with you all now is that through this difficulty, I experienced the mystery of life: the sharing of love without expecting anything in return, listening without judgment, and loving without conditions.These are the most precious gifts I can experience in life. We are all connected by the pain and the difficulty of our lives that enable us to grow together.


Thank you all for your love and care. I can feel your hearts, even without saying, through your warm eyes that always look at me with tears. Sharing feelings together is a great comfort and strength to me. God doesn't give me everything I want but He does what I need. Your unconditional love is an indescribable comfort. The moment my heart ached endlessly, the last few days of sleepless nights of despair, pain, and sadness, was the deepest valley of death I had ever experienced. However, I remember what I preached to you that through the storm of the valley of death, we have grace to see the beauty of the valley of life.


For now, I just want to think of one thing. We do our best finding medical treatment for Kori and finding all possible ways for him to be healed with your prayers. If time is limited, then we cherish the remaining time as much as possible and spend our most precious time together. At this moment I don't want to think that far ahead. I want you to know that I just endure well now with your support and prayer. It seems like watching a movie, surreal to me: taking an ambulance from Lawrence General Hospital to Children's Hospital, being admitted to the hospital emergency room in pain, staying up all night, being diagnosed with cancer in the morning, wandering around the hospital like a lost soul, spending the whole day wailing, waiting for an accurate diagnosis which seems like waiting forever. Now I am at peace at last, although in complete despair, as I look back on my peaceful and happy life.


These days, it seems like the Israelites who wandered without knowing where they were, receiving and eating manna every day in the wilderness. I just live one day at a time. I am finding my way one step at a time. In the morning, I couldn't be more grateful for the sunlight shining through the tree branches as I take Kori for a walk in a wheelchair. It is the mystery and grace of being alive. It's a new view that I haven't seen before. 

I deeply appreciate all of your prayers and love. Please don't worry too much about us and just pray for us. May the grace of the Lord be with you all. 

ngs too wonderful for me to know. 

Pastor Seok-Hwan


From the Depths, O Lord! by D.S. Bortnlansky

From the depths, O Lord, I cry.

Hear me when I pray to Thee.

Mighty helper, ever nigh,

Now my sure salvation be.

Here before Thy throne, I plead.

Grant me grace in this my need!

As the watchman waits the dawn,

Darkness done and light restored.

Yearns my soul, the dark-ness gone,

To be-hold Thy face, O Lord.

Israel, awake and sing!

Lift your eyes! Be-hold your king!


I am not strong enough to face today, let alone the next week, or the next month, or the next year. I am aware of that to my aching bones. But God is strong. God promises to give me what I need to keep trusting and serving him, moment by moment, day by day, whatever our circumstances. Today I will live

 one day at a time, in God’s enabling.

Palm Sunday Service

April 2 at 9:30 am

In-person worship service

(music from our Youth Choir)

Online service available at www.umcw.org

Holy Thursday Service

April 6 at 7:30 pm

In-person worship service

(music from our Adult Choir)

Online pre-recorded service available at www.umcw.org

Good Friday Service

April 7 at 7:30 pm

In-person worship service

(music from our Bell Choir)

Online pre-recorded service available at www.umcw.org

Easter Services

Sunrise: April 9 at 7:00 am

In-person service outside at UMCW by the pond

Pancake Breakfast: April 9 from around 7:30-9:00 am

Our Youth Groups' Annual Pancake Easter Breakfast is back! Join us in the Fellowship Hall for delicious food and fellowship. Free will donations will be accepted to benefit the youths' summer mission.

Worship: April 9 at 9:30 am

In-person worship service

(music from our Adult Choir)

Online Easter worship service available at www.umcw.org

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