Monday, February 2, 2009


The story, “God Sees the Truth, but Waits” by Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) depicts the sufferings of a truthful merchant, Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov of the Russian City of Vladimir. He left his family on a business tour. On the way he shared an inn during night with a fellow merchant. He left the inn before dawn and continued his journey. He was chased and stopped by a police officer and two soldiers. They questioned him about his role in the murder of the merchant who shared the inn with him. Aksionov was innocent but the officials recovered a blood-stained knife from his bag. He was arrested, tried, convicted, scourged and deported as prisoner to Siberia where he had to do hard labour for twenty six years. He prayed fervently expecting mercy from God, who alone knew the truth. He was loved by authorities and fellow-prisoners.

A new batch of convicts reached his prison. One of them was Makar Semyonich, a hardened criminal from Vladimir. From his talk, Aksionov learned that Semyonich was the criminal who had murdered the merchant, robbed him and hid the knife in Aksionov’s bag. But Aksionov was not ready to take revenge. One day, he found that Semyonich was digging a tunnel under the wall of the prison to open a secret passage for his escape. The guards discovered the hole and questioned every prisoner. They questioned Aksionov, hoping that he would reveal the real culprit. But he did not reveal the matter. This saved Semyonich .That night, he knelt before Aksionov and sought his forgiveness, confessing his earlier crime for which the innocent Aksionov had to suffer for 26 years in prison.

Aksionov forgave and consoled the criminal saying, “God will forgive you!” The next day, Semyonich confessed his guilt to the authorities. Askionov was granted full pardon. He died in peace. Truth triumphed finally.

The story gives hope to innocent persons who are accused falsely. God will answer their prayers and finally give them relief, peace and joy. But God has His own plans about everybody. Our prayers may not be answered immediately. Criminals who conceal their crimes and pretend to be saints will be exposed and brought before the law one day. God has plans about every man.

“The Lord says…I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for” {Jeremiah 29: 11}.


By: Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.

This is story No.101 in this site. Please click ‘older posts’ at bottom of page to read previous stories.

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