July 4th – An excerpt from my devotional book – “iWitness July”
Back in the late 70’s… (the fact that we can remember back that far makes this story suspect from the start. Yet, I promise it is true to life as was told to me by my good friend Brian.)
My friend Brian made some type of All-American marching band. Their trip was a European tour which included a few stops behind the “Iron Curtain.”
Please remember that this was during the height of the Cold War between the Americans and the Russians.
While the band was marching their way through Czechoslovakia, Brian met a girl… a Christian girl. The girl told Brian how when she and her Christian friends wanted to meet for Bible study they had to be very secretive about it and would meet late at night under the cover of darkness and candlelight. At best, she confided, they could meet maybe once a week at different homes so as to keep their meetings at the highest level of secrecy.
After listening to her testimony, Brian in a rather nonchalant manner went on to tell her in the United States you could have Bible studies whenever and wherever you wanted with full publicity and without any level of secrecy.
The girl’s response haunts me to this day, “Wow… I bet you have Bible studies every day!!”
The year was 1979 and a high school friend of mine was selected to be a part of an All-American band. He was very excited as this band would be touring Europe and even going behind the “Iron Curtain” to visit some of the eastern bloc countries.
While visiting Czechoslovakia he struck up a conversation with a 17 year old girl. In hushed tones the conversation soon turned to the subject of Christianity.
With eyes dotting to and fro for secrecy’s sake this girl told my friend that in order to have a bible study, she and her friends had to be very quiet about getting together. There could be no announcements. No pamphlets. No flyers. Just word of mouth, very tight lipped word of mouth.
She looked to my friend with inquisitive eyes, “What about America? What’s it like to have a Bible study there?”
My friend went on to explain that there was no need for secrecy. Make as many fliers as you want. Publish the pamphlets and tell as many people as you want that you are having a Bible study. There were no constrictions on such activity in the United States of America.
In the moment that it took for all of this mind boggling information to sink into the mind of this 17 year old girl from Czechoslovakia, her mouth went agape and her eyes widened to the size of saucers as she excitedly and loudly concluded back to my friend, “Wow! You must have Bible studies every day!!”
Every July 4th I am haunted by this story. How much we take our liberty, our freedom for granted here in these United States of America.
I have always wondered since the Czech Republic freed itself from the Iron Curtain if this young girl’s passion for Bible study has remained fervent in the freedom that is now afforded to her and her friends…
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5: 1
Laugh often and Fear not!