...running the course God sets before us, no matter the cost, no matter the task, to the end, for His glory

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Thank God for Persecution!"

Last night I got to go see "Fiddler on the Roof" at our theater.

Note to all gentleman- my husband got me 
season tickets to the theater for my birthday. 
Best. Present. Ever.
Just wanted to share that little idea, in case you 
were stumped with what to get your wife this year.

Okay- back to the story.

I love musicals, and out of all musicals "Fiddler" is way up at the top. I love the family. I love the Jewish history. I love how Tevye is always talking to God. I love the music. In fact, I was very proud of myself last night when I didn't just burst out into song every time they began singing on stage- because I do know all the words after all!

During intermission after I got back from the bathroom....
I have the "bathroom strategy" down pat. We sit toward the
back of  our theater, so AS SOON AS the curtain begins to 
move for the Intermission, I hurdle over the people on the
 aisle, walk VERY quickly past the ambling women, and 
Get In Line at the bathroom. By the time I come out, the line 
stretches all the to the lobby. Successful bathroom strategy 
is an important part of a good evening at the theater!

Okay- back to the story.....again...

...when I got back, my husband, who talks to people wherever we are, had of course fallen into conversation with the people we were sitting by. We talked through intermission about all sorts of things, and in the course of the chatting we realized they were Jewish (they told us that during the Sabbath scene they were doing the wrong prayer over the candles!) Anyway, we had a lovely conversation, and sort of kept chatting during the second half. They were like us, just twenty years older, but they liked to evaluate the production while it was going on!

At the end of the play, the Russian soldiers come and order all the Jews out of the village- just because they are Jewish. Even though I know it is coming, it always makes me mad. Injustice and prejudice always make me mad.

But in the play, although they are sad, the Jewish peasants put the best face on it, pack up, and move on.  With their Traditions! And with each other.

As we are clapping with the curtain coming down, my new friend in the seat next to me rocked my world by saying,
"Thank God for persecution!"  
As I stared at her, quesitoningly, she continued.
"In 1917, when my grandmother was 15, she and her family were run out of Kiev. They burned her father's store down, and so they left Kiev and came to the United States. THANK GOD for persecution!" 
What an amazing viewpoint.

Just think.  She could have grown up in communist Russia if her family had stayed there. Or she may have never been born at all since Stalin ruthlessly murdered millions of Jews.

And so, instead of being angry, she saw the bigger picture.  What had been heartbreak and loss for her ancestors, had been great gain for the generations to come.  
This will be written for the generation to come;That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord. For He looked down from His holy height; From heaven the Lord gazed upon the earth, To hear the groaning of the prisoner; To set free those who were doomed to death; That men may tell of the name of the Lord in Zion, And His praise in Jerusalem.  Ps. 102:18-21

And her story made me wonder.

What is going on in my life now that seems unfair or difficult or horrible or destructive?

Is it possible that those very things are occurring in order to drive me some place that I wouldn't otherwise go?

Is it possible that their purpose is a result or conclusion that I may never see, but that the generations to come may be grateful for?

Is it possible that I can TRUST God in the most difficult of circumstances, rest in His arms, and believe that He really can take care of me?

Yes. Yes, it is possible.

So, I repeat the words of my seatmate:

Thank God for persecution!

Is there something really difficult going on in your life?  Maybe that is the very thing that the generations to come will praise God for!

What do you need to thank God for today?

To Life!

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