Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
Lying in bed, Alexei lay in bed, watching his parents standing silhouetted in the dim light, peering from the window. They were waiting for the Black Raven, the police car that swooped down at night like a carrion bird to take people away.
Back in the 1930s in the Soviet Union, spies and informers were routinely used to repress the church, not just to gain information. During those years, Stalin grew increasingly alarmed about people who he feared opposed his regime. He purged these supposed resisters from the ranks of the Communist party, and then turned his attention to anyone else who had “anti-Soviet thoughts” or “counter-revolutionary tendencies.” He also needed slaves to build all of the factories and to meet all of the production norms described in his Five-Year Plan. He got them by arresting people, torturing them into confessing all kinds of political crimes, and then shipping those who had survived to labor camps. People were instructed that they had a duty to denounce anyone who was not a zealous worker for the state and completely loyal to communist ideals.
Those who were accused were usually arrested at night. During much of the 1930s, the Black Ravens flew every night, seeking their prey. People were encouraged to denounce their neighbors, which led to many false accusations just to avoid being the one arrested. If someone couldn’t think of any “enemies of the people,” they would be harshly rebuked or even arrested themselves for “lacking in revolutionary vigilance.” Believers were automatically suspect. Alexei’s father’s faith was well known, so his mother kept a sack by the door with dry biscuits and a change of clothing, just in case the car stopped one night to take her husband. Every night they kept vigil until they heard the Black Raven drive by. Then they would get down on their knees, thanking God that one more day had been given to them.
Alexei and his family had no choice but to trust God; they had nowhere else to turn. Because they trusted, their faith grew and they were able to endure great trials.
We don’t face the same kind of trials, but trials come into our lives none the less. This week tornados have ravaged many cities and towns; hundreds have died and countless others lost their homes. God doesn’t promise us a trouble free life. We may be stirred up, things put out of order, rearranged, disrupted, damaged. He does promise that if we trust in Him, we will not be shaken, but will triumph over those trials, and eventually receive eternal life.
Lord, give me the faith that trusts in You and is not shaken.