“For God so loved the world He sent His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not parish but have eternal life” -John 3:16
I did not feel naïve about French culture when I moved to France. I have a degree in French Language and Culture, that must mean I am an expert, right? I remember one of my last semesters of college we did a unit on “manifestations” or strikes. This would prove to be some of the most important vocabulary I would learn.
I knew the French loved to strike and protest. I figured I would hear them every once and a while in the streets and that would be the end of it. I was wrong.
The French don’t strike like Americans do. They plan, advertise and plot. People joke that there is a strike season, it replaces spring. As soon as the weather warms, the people gather. And when they gather, they gather in mass.
Recently the university students organized a nation wide strike. It was described as more as a blockage than a strike, because they took the furniture out from the buildings and used it to block the entrances to the school. This lasted weeks. WEEKS where students get into their class even if they wanted to. (In many universities, including Grenoble, this is still happening).
Our railway company, SNCF has also decided to join the striking party. Starting in April, they have been on strike 2 of every 5 days. They have a calendar posted on their website where you can view the planned strikes, but they advise to check the night before your train at 5pm to make sure your train will actually run. This makes traveling almost anywhere a nightmare. I have now had two last minute scrambles to find new routes to get places. Any thought I had of becoming a travel agent has disappeared, it is a nightmare. The worst part about both of these strikes, is they plan to keep striking until their demands are met, regardless if the majority is behind them or not.
Though strikes may be one of the most annoying, frustrating, tear producing things about living in France, I have been reminded of one thing, the French people are vocal about the things they are passionate about. And they are willing to fight for it.
I would consider myself to be a pretty passionate person. There are a lot of things that I would be willing to fight for. But then, I see the French. Most people are not in favor of the strikes, but it doesn’t stop them. They are losing money, but that doesn’t stop them. The government is against them, but that won’t stop them. They will not stop until they see what they believe in fulfilled.
This is the type of passion I want to have for the gospel. I want to keep sharing the gospel with kids. No matter if they reject me, or the things that I stand for, I want to keep loving them. I want to love them with the persistence of the French workers. I want to love them with the persistence of Jesus. I want to keep loving them, until they see and know how loved they are.
Please join me in praying for the youth of France. Please also pray for peace around the country with the university and train strikes.