Leo Tolstoy, novelist, short story writer, and philosopher, has been acclaimed as one of the finest authors of all time. His works attest to the simplicity of his manner and the profundity of his mind. His characters portray a wide range of human behaviour and lives. The story “God Sees the Truth, But Waits” emphasises the value of patience, faith, and non-resistance to evil.
The narrative is part of a collection of short stories written by Leo Tolstoy to clarify his personal view of Christianity and his philosophy of nonviolence and loyalty to truth. As the title suggests, it is a storey of man’s perseverance and faith under tough situations, as well as the conviction that God would make things right in due time, and that man must be faithful and patient. The story, written in the style of a fable, emphasises the value of always stating the truth, remaining faithful, and not reacting angrily to any situation. Ivan speaks the truth about his innocence, but when he learned that even his wife did not believe in his innocence, he decided to put his faith in God. The many years of torture in Siberia were a test of his faith, and the culmination of this test was the coming of MakarSemyonich. When Ivan learns the true name of the perpetrator, he becomes enraged and seeks vengeance. When he notices MakarSemyonich constructing a tunnel to escape from the prison, he seizes the opportunity. Ivan passes his test when he refuses to pursue vengeance and refuses to expose MakarSemyonich’s identity to the authorities. Ivan is rewarded with his freedom from prison and admission into God’s kingdom.
Ivan is a young, vivacious, and successful businessman. When he gets accused of a crime he did not commit, he finds himself in tough circumstances. He perseveres, though, protesting his innocence to the authorities. He even wants to petition the Czar in order to be acquitted. He comes to a halt when he discovers his wife does not trust him, and the murder weapon is discovered in his possession. He accepts his fate with quiet dignity and chooses to serve his sentence without complaint.
This acceptance bestows on him a dignity and composure that is revered by everyone in the prison. He is known as “Grandfather” and “Saint.” He has spent the last 26 years in prison in prayer, believing that this is how it is supposed to be. His stoicism, patience, faith, and knowledge, however, are all put to the test when he meets Semyonich. He discovers that he is easily led to rage, and even murder, to avenge his wrongful arrest. Instead, Ivan chooses to listen to the voice of his religion, his God, and refuses to seek vengeance. Semyonich realises the folly of his ways after Ivan’s quiet and apologises to Ivan. Ivan forgives Semyonich after realising that he, too, may have been immoral and been punished for it. When he forgives, Ivan feels as though a big burden has been lifted from his soul. He realises that despite all of his prayers and religious living, he has continued to believe that he has been treated unfairly. This animosity makes him fragile and prone to rage. When Ivan finds it in his heart to forgive, that is when he completely surrenders to his faith in God. Ivan emerges through the test a better and more content guy. There was no longer any need or desire in his heart for worldly independence. That is when Ivan becomes one with God.