The name of Karl Marx came up in my class today. Marx wrote in 1843, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” My students, while too young to have personally experienced the full impact of an ideology that sought to eliminate the existence of God, certainly see the sting it has had on the older generation who still long for those “better times” under the Soviet system.
I felt that sting today. In the afternoon I again went on visits with the elder care team. We rang the door bell of an apartment on the visitation list. Fully expecting an elderly woman to answer, I was greeted by a beautiful 10 year old girl, excited that visitors had come and especially excited to see an American, so she could practice her English (her vocabulary was about as extensive as my Russian, but she was trying hard!). She was the granddaughter of the woman who quickly appeared at the door to welcome us (I have not posted their names or pictures to protect privacy).
At first I thought the little one was just visiting, but soon learned that her mother had died of cancer when she was three. Her father abandoned her, claiming that he could not take care of her.
As we spoke to the grandmother, now in her mid-seventies, I commented that her grand-daughter must be a great blessing to her. “Nyet”, she said. “The government gives me only $10.00 a month for her”. I wasn’t expecting that. The granddaughter whose eyes had lit up, now dropped them, looking down at the table. “My life was better in Soviet times…it was easier. I had more, but now I have nothing…God has done nothing for me.” She didn’t want to talk much about God.
Marx created stairs that lead to nowhere…people are still trying to climb them. Religion the sigh of an oppressed creature? “Nyet!” The Apostle Paul declared in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us.” I walk by that staircase every morning…it is in the building just outside my classroom…now a bold reminder to pray for this grandmother and her granddaughter.
The granddaughter recently has been coming to Kishinev Bible Church…pray that her grandmother will not be too far behind.