The picture that I have attached to this blog entry is of a latrine in Auschwitz. For those of you that don't know what a latrine is, it is a very crude version of a toilet. Hopefully everybody knows that Auschwitz was a concentration camp where Jews were murdered. I wish to tell you a story of a Baptist pastor in Bulgaria named Harlan Popov. He was a pastor that was imprisoned in Bulgaria for preaching the Word of God. Years after his imprisonment, he wrote a book entitled: "Tortured For His Faith." I doubt it was a New York Times bestseller, but it sure rocked my world as a boy when I had the opportunity to read it.
Harlan Popov was imprisoned and tortured for reading His Bible, and preaching the Word. One day he was arrested, beaten, and thrown into prison. The prisoners were under such watchful eye of the prison guards that if they were caught praying or reading any page of the Bible that might have been smuggled into that horrific place, they would be beaten within an inch of their lives. Mr. Popov writes that there was only one place where the guards didn't enter, and wouldn't dare keep a watchful eye. You guessed it, that was the latrine. The latrines in prison back then basically consisted of a long board with holes cut into it. About 7 feet down was a pit that caught all of the dung and refuse. To say that it stank was an understatement.
Because Mr. Popov was tortured so often for his faith, he had no solace and solitude time with God. He was always under the ever-watchful guards eye. One day he went to them and begged the head of the guards for the task of cleaning the latrines all day long. The head guard thought he was insane, but knew that nobody else would actually volunteer for such a disgusting and menial task. He was granted the "Opportunity" to clean the latrines every day, all day long.
What the guards didn't know was that Harlan Popov would jump down in that pit full of dung and pee, and he would sing songs to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ all day long. He would talk to his Maker on a minute by minute basis. He had long ago hid God's Word in his heart, so he would recite scripture from the Bible all day long. When it was time to go to bed at night, he would go back to his cell in anticipation of what the next day held, spending the whole day with Jesus. Needless to say, the guards left him alone.
When was the last time that you looked forward to spending time with God, if it was under less than satisfactory circumstances? Do you worship God only if it is on your terms, and in the place that you designate? I have made it no secret to friends that I have grown more in Christ over the last year in my bathroom. Now before you laugh, think about what I wrote above. God can be found anytime and anyplace. It only requires that we shut-off all of the STUFF in life that is like clanging cymbals in our ears. Rejoice in quiet times with Him, even if it is not what and where this world tells you they should be.
Are you willing to clean the latrine, in order to get closer to Jesus Christ???