During persecution, hardship, and now freedom, the Soviet church has learned “in everything give thanks.”
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:18)
We in the Soviet Union have an autumn holiday to celebrate the harvest, just as you in America have your Thanksgiving Day. But one cannot know the true value of bread unless he has experienced hunger; one cannot know the true value of water unless she has experienced thirst; and one cannot know the true value of freedom unless he has experienced repression. Christians in the Soviet Union know the price of freedom. We know how to give thanks to God because we have passed through the fiery tests of repression and persecution.
Up until the miraculous unfolding of events commonly referred to as glasnost and perestroika, it was very difficult being a Christian in the USSR. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 brought about a new value system in our society. Atheism became the official religion, characterized by intolerance toward anyone who believed in Christ.
During this time all evangelicals were persecuted, and many were imprisoned. Yet despite such unbearable conditions, we still expressed our gratitude to God. Even those whose lives were filled with suffering would praise our Heavenly Father. Through tears of pain and anguish, they constantly prayed for their persecutors and gave sincere thanks for their hardships.
History will remember the 18-year rule of Brezhnev as a “stagnant” period for the economy. But there was no slowdown in our government’s promotion of atheism. During this time an intense propaganda campaign was waged, pitting 50 years of atheistic experience against the church ...1