- Beth Lantinga
Abide in Me, and I in You
It is so easy to become distressed, frustrated, or angry in times like this, especially when it seems that everyone is doing what is right in his (or her) own eyes. Visky’s reminder to rest in God’s care is a much needed comfort.
Psalm 120 – Psalms of Ascent
“Now my dear friends, I have some problems choosing what to tell you, but I will tell you an ordinary thing about the psalms. My son Istvan is living in a block of flats where the elevator is often out of order. So, when I am visiting his family, sometimes I have to walk to the sixth floor. How good to know that in a block of flats one can walk not only on the stairway but also walk the path of the psalms of ascent. We call them elevator psalms. To get up on the ascending stairway in this block of flats, I start with Psalm 120, the first of the Psalms of Ascent, and by the time I reach the sixth floor, I have finished three or four of them. This way I don’t notice that I have climbed so many stairs. If you have hard stairways or if ascending somewhere is difficult, never count the number of steps you are facing. Start the psalms of ascent.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. Psalm 81:10
“The psalms also appeared at other times. Antal Pap, my brother-in-law, the peasant prophet, was captured by Russians at the curve of the river Don. They took the captured soldiers to labor camps. It was extremely hard and many prisoners suffered from dystrophy, a condition where they reached a condition of total weakness. Those who had no strength to go out of the camp were kept back in the barracks where they had to stay all day long. They were very weak and had to rest.
Sometimes we could send postcards to the labor camp. I as his brother-in-law wrote him a postcard addressed to the work camp in Siberia. I could write only a very little because little was allowed, so among other lines I wrote a text from the Psalms, “Open your mouth and I will fill it with good.” He got the postcard and began to read it while sitting on his bed. “Open your mouth” and he thought, ‘It is easy for you to write like this with a full stomach and well-rested. But if only you could see me at death’s door, all skin and bones - why are you sending such a letter to me?’
What did happen? The huge back door of the barrack was opened and there a prisoner, like Antal, was pushing a two-wheel cart loaded with vegetables stacked high with carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, tins of meat, this and that. Antal watched as this prisoner pushed the cart and reached the entrance of the barrack. This man was also watching Antal, not attending carefully to the cart. It tipped over, the sacks all opened, and everything landed all over the ground.
Anti was always a helpful person, so he slowly walked over and started to help replace the things from the ground to the cart while the other prisoner balanced it. As Antal was picking up the last vegetables from the ground, the man motioned to him not to put those vegetables on the cart.
At first Antal didn’t understand what to do, but then it became quite obvious that the prisoner did not want him to put everything back on the cart. Instead he wanted Antal to take and eat the vegetables left on the ground. To show Anti, the prisoner opened his mouth wide, and then he moved away. But God and his Word stayed with Antal. An event like this hits the heart of man. God can give you gifts even when humanly speaking, nothing is possible.”
“I don’t think that the sacred can only be found in certain places such as churches. Kados means something that is set aside. There isn’t any field of my life that can exist apart from God’s sovereign right. There is no social question or political question that can be considered apart from God.”