The Sweetest Rebuke
by Aletha Hinthorn
During the Russian revolution a mob broke into a convent, looted and destroyed and shot dead several nuns. The head nun Antonina fled to another convent, but posters were displayed offering a reward to anyone who found her.
Time passed. Then a young girl arrived at the convent. With tears she begged to be taken in saying that her parents had been killed. She played the part so well that she succeeded in winning the confidence of the nun in charge, who out of sympathy not only took the girl in and also soon confided to her the secret that Antonina was in hiding there.
Soon after this the girl disappeared. She had been an agent of the secret police. That night the militia surrounded the convent so no one could escape. They broke in to search and demanded that Antonina be given up.
When Antonina was told what was happening, she said, "Well, what can I do? If it pleases the Lord that they find me, let it be so. But if it is not His will, He will close people's eyes; they will not see me. Come, we will go out in front of them."
The nuns put a sheepskin coat on her, and the three women went down the stairs and simply walked out of the convent gate, before the eyes of all the Red Army soldiers.
Before her martyr death several years later, Antonina met the girl who had informed on her. She said, "I valued very much the tears you shed when asking to be received as a nun. It is very difficult to fake tears. They must have come from a heart in whose depths there is a spark of genuine love for Christ. You were young, you did not know what you were doing. But God did not only see you denounce me. He heard those prayers you said, in which not all was falsehood. There may have been an occasional note of sincerity. God will pity your soul; only repent.
There was so much friendliness, spiritual beauty and complete lack of resentment in her words that the girl's heart was pierced. She became a real believer in Christ.
Thank You, Father, for making such love available to those who will receive it.
"Correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2).
Memory Verse for March "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13).