From A Small Price to Pay (Part 3)
2: God provides
From Chapter 7
This was during Stalin’s harsh reign over our country. He had designs to have all the houses of prayer closed and, after a time of respite during the war, his iron fist was coming down hard once more on the believers. Not only was he trying to annihilate the church, he was also trying to infiltrate the church by planting his own men in it to control its affairs. These men were not believers.
No one under thirty was allowed to be baptized. No one under eighteen was allowed to attend church services. The pastors were only to preach what was mandated by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. And these were only a few of the rules designed to scatter the believers.
* * *
“Dear Lord,” I prayed earnestly, “I do want to live for you! I want to experience the Holy Spirit in my life!”...
Since that day in the kitchen when I became so absorbed in the Bible, my mother gave me other books to read—biographies of Christians who gave their lives to the Lord and then were martyred. I do not know where Mama got those books, but they made a huge impact on my life.
Now, I was alone in my small room. I had just finished reading how the martyrs had boldly testified of their faith, then were thrown into the Roman arenas to be devoured by ravenous beasts. “Lord, that is what I want! I want a testimony like that. I want you to come and fill me with the presence of your Holy Spirit!”
In our services, the pastors often called people to repentance. In my seventeen years, I had heard the call over and over again. Though they did not ask for public confessions of faith, I knew that people did give their lives to the Lord, for I heard their testimonies later. I wanted that for myself.
In my intense desire, I knelt and prayed. Though it was only six o’clock in the evening, it was already pitch dark outside except for the feeble streetlights. The arctic cold seeped into our flat.
I pled for an answer from God. Twice I knelt and prayed. Still there seemed to be no answer from heaven. “I want to be born again!” I anguished. “I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit!”
I got up from my kneeling position and stood upright, stretching my hands toward heaven. I lifted my face upward.
I was at a loss for words. I had used up everything in my vocabulary that I could think of to ask God to come down and visit my soul. I felt completely empty.
Then it happened. Like a gentle cloak, I felt a presence come over me. I breathed slowly and deeply. I knew God was answering my prayers. I knew the Holy Ghost was coming into my life.
I did not dare move. I wanted to kneel in gratitude and thankfulness for the answer to the desire of my heart, yet I did not dare change position. I was afraid to disturb what God was doing. Tears began trickling down my cheeks. I was so filled with an intense love for Jesus! I knew He had come into my heart I was born again!
Now I understood what my mother had wanted for me. I understood what the brethren and sisters talked about in our meetings. I now understood why Papa had been willing to go to prison and suffer for his faith. It was because of the love of Jesus.
I wanted to shout, to sing! My heart was racing with joy. I was a child of Jesus!
* * *
From then on, I could not help but become involved in the activities of the church. I went to every service. There it was the same—the teachings that had been merely words before now became alive. I listened intently to the sermons and later read passages in the Bible to see if the speaker was preaching the truth. The songs of the church filled me with joy, for I knew what we were singing about.
It was winter, which meant long, dark days when the sun never appeared and we only had a few hours of daylight. Many of those long evenings I would gather with the other youth from church to share our testimonies. Sometimes even Mama protested that the evenings were too cold for me to leave the house. My shoes were thin and I did not always have a heavy coat, but the fire burning in my heart made up for the lack of warm clothes as I dashed off to the house of prayer.
After the war, our church had been given a former Orthodox church building. It was in poor condition, but that did not matter to us. We had wonderful times of worship and fellowship there.
[In spite of Stalin's plans to silence the church], I and many other young people flourished. We realized what the disciples meant when they said, “It
is better to obey God than men.” Many hearts caught the fire of the Holy Spirit as we encouraged each other, prayed, and fasted to be counted steadfast to our Lord Jesus Christ.
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment [in light of eternity], is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
In a world that is fast rejecting God's Word or twisting His Truth, we need to prepare for unthinkable challenges to our faith and families. This book will help us stand firm in Christ and gratefully "pay the small price" of suffering with Him! Like a beacon of light ahead of us waits an eternity of joy with Him!
I suggest you order at least ten of these books and share with your friends and relatives, so that they, too, may be encouraged and equipped for the times ahead. (That's what I did) The book is available through Lighthousetrails.com