He was a young man with a future. As the only man left in the family, he was fortunate to have a dedicated mother who took in washing to put her ambitious son through Seminary. She was hoping for a priest; what she got was a monster.
The Tbilisi Georgian Orthodox Seminary was no place for a young Joseph Stalin. Impressed by the writings of Karl Marx, he gave up on God to pursue a career dedicated to social change and personal power. He failed to make the priesthood, but as a self-serving insurrectionist, he was a smashing success.
After Lenin died in 1924, Stalin set out to destroy the old party leadership, executing potential rivals, and assuming the position as leader of the Soviet Union. Although he transformed the Soviet state from a peasant society into an industrial and military superpower, he is best remembered for the death of as many as twenty million of his own people, executed to perpetuate his hold on power.
At some point in the process Joseph Stalin had to face up to life’s most important question: What will you do with God? We have each inevitably had to deal with that question and where we came out, what we decided, was a determining factor in the person we have become.
What if there is no God? What if Jesus was a fraud and Christianity a bogus faith?
If there is no God, there is no coherent meaning to life. Without God you lose the sacred essence of human existence. What meaning do you attach to life? Your presence on earth is an accident, your journey through life, survival of the fittest, and your death, a meaningless end.
And if there is no God, there is no life after death, and this is the only heaven you will ever know; this is as good as it gets! Your dreams and drives end at the grave; there is no tomorrow. And for Joseph Stalin or Mother Teresa, it’s all the same.
If there is no God.
But that is the question, isn’t it? And God has given us an answer in the life, message and resurrection of His Son. “Anyone who has seen me,” Jesus said, “has seen the Father.” Our access to God, what we can know of Him, what our finite minds are capable of understanding, comes through and only through Jesus Christ.
The Apostle John had it right. “In Him was life,” he wrote, “and that life was the light of men.” If you are to find meaning to your existence, purpose to your journey, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing eternal life awaits, you have only one alternative: Jesus must be the Lord of your life. And what you do with Him is going to make all the difference in your world.
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