In spite of this positive conclusion of the trial, we knew that after such exposure to the police and the public, there was a high possibility of Jul, Woohan and me being expelled. Therefore we invited some of the newer workers into the fellowship to make sure there would be continuity if we had to leave.
Having been fired from my job, I now had time to make a less hurried search for a new apartment. In September, a friend introduced us to a man who had a place for rent in a new section of town up on the southern ridge of the city. We went for a visit, looked at the apartment and took it.
Shortly after this as I was driving along alone when suddenly a voice said, “Read Psalm 43.” It was so startling and real that I turned and looked in the back seat to see who was there but there was no one.
As soon as I got home I took out my Bible and opened to Psalm 43. Verse 1 said, “Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; rescue me from deceitful and wicked men.”
“Wow,” I thought, “That is certainly appropriate for me!” I went right to work and memorized the short Psalm. I had no idea of how the Lord was using this to prepare me for what was to come next but was sure that having it in my mind was important.
One week later I got another visit from a policeman. He notified me that I was being put on trial in a small town up on the Black Sea Coast.
“What for?” I asked, “I haven’t been up there for a long time.”
“You’ve been sending religious propaganda letters into the area. The prosecuting attorney got one and complained to us. We know that you, Jul and Woohan are behind all this, so you are being put on trial for it.”
The policeman handed me the official papers. “Make sure you go there for this trial date. If you don’t show up, we will escort you in handcuffs to the next one!”
I closed the door and thought to myself, “Jul and Woohan are out of the country, so I may have to go alone.” It was not a pleasant prospect.
First I called our lawyer’s teacher, Professor T., who had helped to defend us in our recent trial. He invited me to come to his office and spent an hour telling me what to say and not to say during my hearing. That was helpful.
I asked others to accompany me, but no one wanted to take the risk after seeing Harry, Ivan and their German partner put in prison until their next trial date.
Barbara offered to come, but I told her that someone needed to be there for the kids if I were sent to jail for the next three months or more.
In the end I went off alone on the night bus. It was an eight-hour ride, and most of the way I meditated on Psalm 43. It was so appropriate:
“Vindicate me, O God,” [Truly, He was the only One who could help!] “and plead my cause against an ungodly nation;” [This nation certainly rejected the Word of God and all He had to say and I needed God to be my lawyer.] “rescue me from deceitful and wicked men.”[Those I’d dealt with were just that; God had rescued us thus far and would again.]
“You are God my stronghold.” [He is my only hope and a powerful One.] “Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” [That’s how it seemed. Here David was lifting his soul to God, telling Him how he felt. Like David, I also felt vulnerable and weak, going from one trial to the next.]
“Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me;” [And God had done that ahead of time, directing me to this Psalm that was so appropriate to my situation.]
“let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.” [The Word brings me into the light of God’s presence with Truth.]
“Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight.” [He has made Himself my personal God. He is my joy and He is my delight; my joy is not dependent on acquittal, freedom, or ease. I must focus on Him in this situation.]
“I will praise you with the harp,” [Giving praise before I get an answer—that is what I should and want to do. And I did it: “Praise you, Lord God, for how you are going to work this out.”]
“O God, my God.” [You are not just God, but my God who is personally, intimately involved in my life.]
“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me” [So why should I be discouraged, here on this bus in the darkness of the night, speeding towards my rendezvous with a possible prison stay?]
“Put your hope in God,” [He is the only hope in this situation, a solid, sure, powerful, faithful and certain hope. I choose to trust in and hope in Him.]
“for I will yet praise him,” [He will work, He is faithful, He will do what is best, and I will praise Him both before I see the outcome and afterwards.]
“my Savior and my God.” [Again, that personal commitment on God’s part to save and rule my life.]
I was encouraged and refreshed, even though I didn’t know what God would bring to me in the coming day. As it turned out He had four gifts for me.
Picture: Barbara praising God with her “harp.”