When Alexander Zatsepa, a Russian soldier in the Communist army, was killed in action, this poem was found in his clothing:
Hear me, O God; never in the whole of my lifetime have I spoken to you.
But just now I feel like sending you my greetings.
You know from childhood on they’ve always told me you are not.
I, like a fool, believed them.
I’ve never contemplated your creation. And yet, tonight, gazing up out of my shell hole, I marvelled at the shimmering stars above me and suddenly knew the cruelty of the lie.
Will you, my God, reach your hand out to me, I wonder?
But I will tell you and you will understand.
Is it not strange that light should come upon me and I see you amid this night of hell?...
Although I have not been a friend to you before,
Still, will you let me enter now, when I do come?
Why, I am crying! O God, my Lord, you see what happens to me.
Tonight my eyes were opened.
Farewell, my God. I’m going and not likely to come back.Martyrs teach us about God’s faithfulness, his peace, his love, and his protection. However, the stories of martyrs are not only about the martyrs themselves, but also about their enemies. Those who converted from Communism to Christianity tell another side of the story. They reveal God’s patience, his grace, his willingness to forgive even the worst sinner who asks for his forgiveness. Alexander’s poem gives voice to the plea of any repentant sinner whose “eyes are opened” to the truth. His story reminds us that we serve a loving God who longs for us to realize who Jesus is and to come to him for salvation. This is the mighty message of the martyrs. Is it yours?
Strange, is it not? But death I fear no longer.
Excerpted from Extreme Devotion, a book of 365 true accounts of men and women who totally sold out for Jesus. You can order a copy of this book from our online catalogue or by contacting our office.