A Small Price to Pay

A Small Price to Pay, written by Harvey Yoder, is the biography of Mikhail Khorev.  This book is based on interviews that Mr. Yoder had with Mikhail Khorev. It is the story of a young boy who was taught by his father and mother to love God. He grew up to serve God in communist Soviet Union and was imprisoned for his faith.

I found this an inspiring book. I recommend that you read it in small pieces and then meditate and pray over what you have read.  This is easier said than done!  It is a book that you will want to read from cover to cover! It is worth it to reflect on what you read in order to get the spiritual benefit from this story.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

“Hey, holy man!” It was the man on the top bunk beside me again. I turned my head toward him.

“Come closer.” He was almost whispering. “I have a question for you. What is your name?”

“Mikhail Khorev.”

His next question was a strange one. “Who gave you your name?”

“Why, my father and mother.” I puzzled over such a query.

“What were you doing when you were on your knees?”

“I was praying.”

“Who taught you to pray?”


“So your parents gave you your name, huh?”

Again, I answered, “Yes.”

There was a space of silence. The noises from the rest of the inmates were dying down somewhat.

“I wish I had parents who named me!” I could hear despair in the man’s voice.

I did not know how old he was. Perhaps in his late twenties, I guessed.

“They told me I was only eight days old when I was abandoned at the police station. They took me inside and filed a report on me. Since there was no name, they called me Nicolai, after the policeman who found me. That was my first name. In order for me to have a middle name, they named me Petrovich, after another policeman who was there. And for my surname, they decided on November, since that was the month they found me.” He gave a maniacal laugh. “Nicolai Petrovich November.”

Was he mad? His voice had turned grim and menacing.

Twenty-five years old, no parents, named after some stupid policemen who didn’t give a hoot about me.” His voice was no longer quiet. I knew the other men in the bunks were listening to our conversation.

“Now, you tell me, holy man! Why does your God favor some people above others? Why did you have parents who taught you to pray, but me, I had no one to even name me? Is a God like that fair? If there is a God, is he not unfair to let some have a good life and others have a rotten life? Tell me!”

As a Christian, you sometimes get asked hard questions like those from this excerpt. Perhaps this book will help you answer them with wisdom. That is just one example of the spiritual lessons contained in this book. I thank God for the life of Mikhail Khorev. He is still teaching and encouraging believers today.

4 thoughts on “A Small Price to Pay”

  1. How wonderful to hear!

    We recently met someone from a Russian congregation here in Iowa and hope to visit their church one day.

    God bless, Mike

  2. I have this book and I know this family very well.  Being around them is a true blessing and encouragement to one’s faith.

  3. As Paul has asked, here is the answer!

    I breathed deeply. “I . . .”  I hesitated. “I really don’t think I have an answer for you right now.” I hoped this would not offend him.

    “Humph!” His voice had quieted down.

    “But I will pray about it and ask God for wisdom and understanding.:

    “You will? Then pray out loud so I can hear you!”

    I closed my eyes. “Lord, I bring this question to you. I do not know the answer to Nicolai’s question. I do not know why some people are more blessed than others. I do not know why Nicolai was born into his situation. When I think of my own parents, I do thank you for them. I thank you for the years you allowed Papa to be at home and teach us about you and to pray to you. I thank you for a godly mother who taught us so much about your love. I thank you that she taught us to pray and ask for whatever we needed or did not understand.

    “I am sorry I did not appreciate my mother more when I was young. Tonight, I think of my own children, kneeling and praying for their father here in prison. I know they are praying for my safety and release. Please, Lord, tell them that I can’t come home right now, for there are too many people here in prison who need to hear about Jesus.

    “So, Lord, here we are, asking you questions and knowing you hear us. Bless our little discussion tonight. Give me an answer of wisdom for Nicolai. In the name of your Son, Jesus, I pray. Amen.”

    I’ll skip some of the story and pick up again with Nicolai.

    After a bland breakfast, we were escorted back to the bunk room. The men were waiting for this time.

    “Here, holy man, sit here. Tell us more about yourself.” The prisoner gave me a spot on one of the lower bunks.

    “Tell us more about your God,” another man chimed in.

    Nicolai was there too. “I still think having parents is the most important thing in life,” he began.

    A chorus of rebuttals met this statement. “I had parents, and they did no good for me!” shouted one man.

    “Then why is Sasha in prison?” called another, gesturing toward a silent prisoner. “He had parents, but he killed them when they were both drunk!” More protests and arguments echoed around the cell before they looked expectantly at me.

    “What do you say, holy man?” They all grew quiet, waiting for an answer.

    I took a deep breath, praying for wisdom. “I think,” I began, “the most important thing in life is to know God through Jesus Christ.” I did not know if they were ready to hear this or not, but I decided to speak boldly. “I thank God for my mother, but I know she cannot be with me all the time. Only Jesus can do that.” They listened respectfully, then changed the subject.

  4. This would be a good post in varlinux under the article on “Fairness” … though it would probably help if followed by an ANSWER.

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