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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)- “The human soul longs for things higher”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose stubborn, lonely and combative literary struggles gained the force of prophecy as he revealed the heavy afflictions of Soviet Communism in some of the most powerful works of the 20th century, died late on Sunday at the age of 89 in Moscow.

Read the entire New York Times article here>

Because he spoke out against the leadership of the corrupt system in the Soviet Union many decades ago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn experienced great hardships in the gulag labor camps and underwent the humiliation of exile from his own mother country. Although he would eventually receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, he knew what it was to be abused, ostracized, and despised. Yet he would later write, "Bless you, prison, for having been in my life."

Why? Because it taught him life lessons that he would never have learned otherwise. In fact, it was the very persecution of the Marxist government that caused him to reconsider his own Marxist philosophy and eventually embrace Christianity.

After being exiled from the Soviet Union, he came to live in the United States for two decades. However, as a Christian who had experienced true suffering for the sake of Christ, Aleksandr found the Western culture far from satisfying. He wrote, concerning the influence and wickedness of so much of Western pop culture: "...the human soul longs for things higher, warmer and purer than those offered by today's mass living habits...by TV stupor and by intolerable music."

What about you? Does your soul long for higher, warmer, and purer things than money can buy or than pop culture can provide? Or have you compromised your Christian ideals and appetites in exchange for soul-starving comfort zones?

Jesus Christ points us to a soul-warming, soul-satisfying, soul-elevating feast when He says, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness"... and anything that leads us to that pursuit is blessed, indeed. Even if it is a prison cell.