Christmas will come next week and we are bombarded with hopelessness. Will our world ever be a safe place? We feel collective anguish for the people of Sydney, Pakistan, and Ferguson. Maybe you, too, are facing the loneliness and despair of Christmas without a loved one present.
Hope feels impossible. Elusive. Unattainable.
And yet I’m reminded of Christmas 25 years ago. The year the Berlin Wall fell. The year Poland and Hungary and Czechoslovakia shook off their oppressive regimes. The year I prepared to move to Eastern Europe. Hope still seemed out of reach for some, including Romania. Read this excerpt from my book, “We Wait You”:
The week before Christmas 1989, as homes across America watched “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the most amazing thing happened. Romanians rebelled against their dictator, Nicolae Ceauşescu, and the Romanians won. I felt hypnotized by the television news that week, unable to pull myself away. God planted a seed in my heart that soon began to sprout. A love for the Romanian people started to germinate deep inside me.
Unlike the other countries with peaceable exchanges of power, the revolution in Romania involved bloodshed. Hundreds of people lost their lives for the sake of freedom. Romanians had the most evil dictator of the bunch and were the most oppressed, often described as fearful and beaten down. How in the world did they ever get the courage to stand up and fight?
Shortly after Christmas, I listened to a cassette tape translated by a Romanian expatriate, Flory. It presented another side to the story, one I hadn’t seen on the U.S. news. Flory’s relatives in Romania made the tape, reliving the events of that fateful week. It all started in Timişoara, a border city, on December 15, the date set for the militia to force a Hungarian pastor, László Tökés, into exile. Believers of both Romanian and Hungarian descent made a human chain around his apartment block, stopping the eviction. Fighting soon erupted, raging on for days as believers secretly huddled together in darkened rooms, praying around the clock.
“We were so weary, we did not think we could continue to pray,” said a woman’s voice on the tape. “The same day we said that was the day the news broke in the West.”
The prayer baton had been passed. I picked up that baton, like so many others. . . .
(to be continued)
Let’s pick up that prayer baton once again. Let’s not grow weary of lifting up our hurting brothers, sisters, friends, and even strangers to the throne of the King of Kings. We have access to the only one who can bind their broken hearts and bring true freedom.
There is still hope. Hope in the Baby who took on the sins of the world. Hope in the One with whom nothing is impossible.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27