Thursday, February 03, 2005

Atheism and Eternity

This is worthy of reading and reflection. In a world increasingly set upon the idea that "God is dead", our children have much to teach us - about Him.

Can God Move Mountains, or Walls?

In March of 1956, Winston Church gave a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri with this remarkable quote:

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.

And so, almost 40 years later, the curtain had not lifted, and our ragtag band of European, South African and American missionaries spent our summers smuggling Bibles into the Soviet block, in order to encourage the persecuted church. In my previous post, I began to relate my experiences in Eastern Europe prior to the fall of the Iron Curtain. Our starting point was a farmhouse in The Netherlands, and unlikely base camp for counter espionage efforts for the Kingdom of God.

During our time resting and preparing in Holland, one of the disciplines the directors of the mission asked us to practice was prayer. During all the waking hours, there would consistently be someone praying in a small room on the second floor of the farmhouse. This way, the theory went, the work of the mission would always be covered in prayer. As a part of this prayer discipline, a kind of scrapbook had been prepared with photographs and biographies of all of the leaders, and even sublieutenants of the Eastern Block. Talk about "scrapbooking", remove the "s", was more like it! We were asked to spend a period of time praying for these men....

There I sat, the little young missionary from America, with my scrapbook of commies. I will never forget what went through my mind during that time of flipping through the book of photos. My thought was "Oh please, God! I believe in you and love you with all my heart. But can you really do anything about these guys, I mean, really?! These are the leaders of the Soviet Block, for heavens sake! These are really bad guys, and they have a LOT of really large missiles, and tanks, and guns. And none of them are even smiling in these pictures here! This is never going to happen! How about I just pray for my relationship with that girl I like back home instead?" My faith was tiny and thin. But, I remembered something about praying for your enemies.....

So, doubtfully, hesitantly, and well, obediently I prayed. And over the 10 or more years that ministry had been in existence, other people before me had been praying. For many years after they in, and day out. And undoubtedly, so did countless faithful Believers behind the Iron Curtain - for year upon year - praying for the eventual demise of the system that had repressed them for years. Slowly, deliberately, the wall was beginning to splinter, from deep inside its base.

Five years later, I was celebrating Christmas with my family in Toronto, watching on the news as the Iron Curtain crumbled.

God can move mountains, and walls. He is doing so today, all around us. Might we have eyes to see, and ears to hear the silent, sometime nearly imperceptible sound of movement.
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