Dr. Marc Drake, Sr. Pastor, First Baptist Church of Sun Lakes
Before the old Soviet Union collapsed, Galina Vilchinskaya was a 23-year-old Sunday school teacher who spent five years in a Soviet prison for sharing God’s Word with others. However, imprisonment, hunger and beatings could not silence her witness. In fact, she led many in her prison to the Lord; consequently, she was transferred to another one; and after that, yet another. Like the Apostle Paul’s experience in the Bible, these transfers were just new opportunities for Galina to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Finally, she was transported by prison train to the far eastern part of Siberia, along with many other prisoners – the worst of the worst. As the train rumbled through the Siberian wilderness, the din of cursing and fighting among the prisoners was broken by a clear, sweet voice of singing. It was the voice of Galina singing about her Lord and Savior. A hush fell over the train car and even the most hardened criminals turned their faces away to hide their tears. Mile after mile, hymn after hymn, Galina sang the gospel.
Well, today, Galina is a pastor’s wife in Siberia, where once she was a prisoner of a God-denying empire that no longer exists. Yes, God has the last word! You see, the Soviet Union may have been intent on crushing a Sunday School teacher for the crime of being a Sunday School teacher. But the full force of the government was no match for Galina’s God!
The collapse of the Soviet state brought unprecedented freedom and opportunity for the spreading of the gospel throughout the 11 time zones of that massive area. Furthermore, 15 countries rose up from the rubble. But along with their rise came new tyrants who have once again been bringing persecution back to the region. Furthermore, this oppression is coming not only from despotic governments but from the resurgence of Islam over a vast part of central Asia.
But think about this: The rise and fall of nations gives us a perfect backdrop for the unending kingdom of the Lord Jesus; His kingdom will never fall. Now, that’s something to sing about – even in unlikely places! Indeed, God has the last word. As the praise song says:
How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him
Who brings good news, good news
Announcing peace, proclaiming news of happiness.
Our God reigns; our God reigns!