catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 48, Num 1 :: 2008.10.01 — 2008.12.15


Kids of the KGB versus kids of the Kingdom

As much as we’ve written each other every week over the past year, my Lithuanian daughter Svetlana has consistently evaded questions about her history. This summer, she revealed some of her story, thus explaining her evasiveness. 

In 1991, when she was 12 years old, the Soviet Union crumbled. As a result, her family fled Lithuania to Moscow for a few years, because her father had held the position of second secretary of the Communist Party. Having been upper crust KGB officials, her grandparents on both sides abandoned their comforts in Lithuania as well, never to return. Her one grandmother still insists that the KGB did nothing wrong in Lithuania.  (Oh, by the way, did you know that in this tiny country in the 1940s, 60,000 Lithuanians died from Soviet subjugation and another 350,000 were deported or perished in Soviet labor camps? Brutal stories didn’t end with Stalin’s death, either.) 

What Svetlana did express often in her writings revealed her “despair with humanity.” Actually, over the time I’ve known her, this cry of despair finally made her collapse before Christ, resulting in her baptism.   

I marvel at the road she has traveled. Her entire worldview was based upon atheistic Communism, but extremely harsh treatment by family members, pillars of the Communist world, developed in her a bitter assessment of life, void of love, compassion, and meaning. Consequently, she hasn’t made herself easy to love either.   

We studied Hamlet in class this summer. I had assigned my class to write a paragraph about advice they had received from Polonius-like people in their own lives, perhaps their  parents as they left for this summer college program. Svetlana opened her paragraph quite clearly and accurately: “I listen to the advice of no one!” In other words, she has never trusted anyone.   

So when she was baptized a few years ago, she finally gave up, not only on others but also on herself, trusting that God can be trusted and opening herself to let him reconstruct her entire worldview.

Christian families may cling to the covenantal promises of God and do all they can to develop a solid Christian worldview in their children. Such prayerful work begins with parents even before the child is born and is joined by the Christian community in church and in the Christian school. To be sure, some children of our covenantal families have rejected this worldview, just as Svetlana has rejected the atheist Communist worldview. Nevertheless, as children of the Covenant make their decisions in life, their decisional framework offers a much shorter path, in contrast to that of Svetlana.   

Our covenantal wealth stands in amazing contrast to Svetlana’s empty spiritual heritage. This contrast tells us to value this treasure, while at the same time humbling ourselves before God, who through his amazing grace draws people from both heritages into his Kingdom.

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