Alexander Solzhenitsyn was born one hundred years ago, in December 1918, in the midst of the Russian Revolution. Despite being a convinced Marxist, his criticisms of Stalin landed him in prison where he suffered torture and humiliation over many years, and then developed cancer.
Through the spirituality of a Jewish doctor in the cancer ward he discovered God and became a Christian. He writes of his suffering as the route to faith:
“When at the end of gaol, on top of everything else, I was placed with cancer, then I was fully cleansed and came back to a deep awareness of God, and a deep understanding of life. From that time I was formed essentially into who I am now. After that, it was mostly evolution. There was no abrupt time, no breaking directions.”
Lord Jesus Christ,
who through your sufferings on the Cross
entered into Your glory
and opened for us the door to eternal life,
etch in our souls that resurrection hope
so that, in the face of the trials and troubles
that life brings to us,
we may hold fast to the God
who shapes us into Your likeness,
and whose hope will never disappoint us. AMEN.
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.