Of Plums, Poland and Possessions

“Lord,” Papa said loud enough for the angels, “we do not understand what you did to your plums, but that is your business. For the food before us and your blessings, we thank you.”
…And Papa, who had just lost at least half of his income overnight, had never looked more like jolly old Saint Nicholas
.[1]

I recently read Eva Underground by Dandi Daley MacKall. While I wouldn’t put it on my most-recommended list, I learned a lot from it about life in 1970s Communist Poland.

Eva, an American teenager, moves to Poland with her father. While he teaches with an underground education movement, she witnesses the suppression of free speech, the fear of government displeasure, the limited food supply, the isolation from the world, the cost of seeking freedom…

Amidst all that, Eva meets Papa Muchowieckis who is thankful and trusts the Lord even when he has so little and half his plum crop is destroyed by an ice storm.

A book like this can really make you look around and realize how much you have, wonder if you need half the things you own, recognize more blessings for which to be thankful than you may have ever seen, and reflect on who really owns what you have.

“Lord,” Papa said loud enough for the angels, “we do not understand what you did to your plums, but that is your business.”

Your plums? Your business? Don’t we often think of the things we work for as ours, as belonging to us? The question, of course, is do they really belong to us? If we read the Bible, we will come to the conclusion that all we “own” ultimately comes from and belongs to God. Along with this, the success of our endeavors – whether our college studies or our plum crop – ultimately comes from God as well. It really is His business. if it’s not, then maybe God isn’t the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God we claim Him to be.

Agreeing with Papa Muchowieckis that it is God’s business brings both peace and a sense of joy that Papa portrays. However, this peace and joy demand great faith. Do any of us have this faith? Maybe this is the kind of faith that grows from a life pruned by hardships and persecution.

[1] Dandi Daley MacKall, Eva Underground (Harcourt Books: Chicago, IL, 2006) pg. 148-149.

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