Monday, June 17, 2013

Guest Post: The Hotel of Doom

As most of my ­friends know, I have a few quirks. Perhaps the strangest one, though, is my fascination with abandoned buildings and structures. I recently found photos of the 33 most beautiful abandoned places in the world, and I couldn’t take my eyes away. These places are strange and breathtaking.

Pyongyang skyline before construction resumed.
My favorite quasi-abandoned place is the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea. Construction on this began in 1987 in answer to South Korea's growth and expansion. However, the 105-story nightmare was quickly dubbed the “Hotel of Doom” as construction hiccupped through the next few years, eventually being abandoned in 1992.

Anemic funding, vast construction costs and unstable infrastructure brought ignominy to what had been intended to serve as a symbol of North Korea’s supposed economic and political prowess. There are rumors that the hotel was even photoshopped out of official photos of the Pyongyang skyline because of its hulking presence.

A few different companies sought to redeem the building and construction eventually resumed in 2008 when Orascom, an Egyptian telecommunications company, proposed to use the top of the building as a cellular tower and finally finish the hotel, despite huge structural deficiencies. Hopes were high that the hotel would open to the public in 2013, albeit with a small number of finished rooms, but a video tour in 2012 revealed sparse furnishings and nothing resembling a five-star hotel.

The lights are on, but nobody's home.
As of this blog’s publication, the hotel hasn’t opened and many speculate that it is cursed...and never will.

So why am I telling you all about this bizarre hotel? Why do I care?

I sometimes wonder that myself.

But Proverbs 19:21 keeps coming to mind: “The human mind may devise many plans, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.”

We all make plans. Some are small. What you’re having for dinner Tuesday night. Where you’re going on vacation this summer. Some are large. Where your high school senior is going to college. What to study there. Which job offer to take. Whether or not to buy that house.

And it’s important to plan. The problem comes when our plans diverge from that which God has made clear to us.

The Ryugyong Hotel stands as a testament to just how feeble human planning can be. A modern-day Tower of Babel, it reminds us that just because we have a great idea, it won’t necessarily come to pass. 

I leave you with Psalm 127:1. “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”

Here at Sardis, plans are being made daily as we continue to grow as a worshiping community. We are excited about what the future holds and that many of you are an integral part of bringing these ideas to fruition. Your prayers, support and input enable us to follow God's plan for Sardis. Thank you!

JJ Getz is our Communications Director. She loves telling the stories of Sardis in creative and compelling ways. You'll find her around the office being perpetually startled by coworkers.

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