Memory Lane: A Pause in the Cold War

Nina Khrushchev – Yousuf Karsh

Nina Khrushchev

I was ten years old in 1959. The Cuban Missile Crisis still lay three years in the future, but this was the middle of the Cold War and the threat of a nuclear war kept a lot of people up at night.

And suddenly we learned that the head bad guy, the Russian bear himself, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, was going to visit the USA.

There were giants in the earth, in those days. Eisenhower and MacArthur. Haile Selassie. DeGaulle. And Winston Churchill, the greatest of them all. But Nikita loomed just as large. He could blow us up. But first, a visit. Thirteen days touring America.

My mother called him “the butcher of Budapest.” People made rude gestures when they saw him on TV.

And then America fell in love with Mrs. Khrushchev.

There was always something of the rough Ukranian peasant about Nikita; and Nina Khrushchev reminded you of your grandmother who grew up on a farm and could still drive a tractor if she had to. But the payoff was this:

“Nina will never let Nikita start a war and blow up the world! Never!”

And as far as we knew, she didn’t. Not even with the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I also seem to remember her chastening her husband, “We don’t make jokes in church!” Nina’s heart was always in the right place. And as sweet and motherly as she seemed to be, we also had the feeling that Nikita had better behave himself, or else.

She is a nice memory in a bad time.

God was not going to let us nuke ourselves into oblivion. He still isn’t. Signs abound. And I think Mrs. K. was one of them.

 

There’s Always a Crisis Brewing Somewhere

Image result for images of cuban missile crisis

Before we entirely convince ourselves that the End Times are here, let’s consult our history.

The year I was born, the communists took over China. Crisis. Then came the Korean War, all that fuss about Berlin, and in 1956 the people of Hungary revolted against their Soviet overlords and were bloodily put down. And my home county was suddenly full of Hungarian refugees.

Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis? Almost had a nuclear war over that one. And then the Viet Nam War, a bunch of Arab-Israeli wars, and, God help us, the turmoil of the Sixties. That was bad enough over here, but even worse in France: mobs of “students” almost wrecked Paris.

El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Iran hostage crisis–and all that fun and games from one end of Africa to the other: crisis, crisis everywhere. In fact, I don’t remember a time when there wasn’t a crisis brewing somewhere, several of which exploded into war. Not to mention 9/11. And I missed living through a fearful crisis that was worse than all of the above put together–World War II. Think we have it rough now? It was much worse in 1941-42.

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars… For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places…”   Matthew 24:6-7

This state of the world, described by Our Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of the Pax Romana, has prevailed for centuries and we are not yet out of it. We will not be out of it until He comes again.

And what can we do but follow His instructions, and work diligently for His kingdom, remain at our assigned posts… and watch? How many times are we warned in the Bible that He will come as a thief in the night, when the world does not expect Him?

God’s patience is so much greater than ours; like Aslan, He calls all times “soon.” When the Son of Man does come again, I doubt anyone will be in a position to say “See, I told you!”

But I’m sure He understands our feeling–which I so often share–that the End Times are upon us.