Thursday, July 21, 2011

Remember Those...

Yesterday I was doing some Law homework, and the assignment asked me to research a Christian who lived true to faith in Christ but suffered at the hands of a humanly appointed justice system. My thoughts immediately flew to Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, who founded the organization, The Voice of the Martyrs.  Richard and Sabina experienced a combined 17 years of torture and imprisonment for their obedience to God under the oppression of communism.  Although I was quite familiar with their story, I was deeply moved as I read again of the trials they endured for the sake of the gospel, and saw again the depth and vibrancy of their faith.

I won't tell the full story in this post, but feel free to read a more detailed biography here.

Richard Wurmbrand spent 14 years in Romanian prisons under communism, three of which were in solitary confinement.  He was beaten, tortured, starved, and brainwashed, but God sustained him to witness to hundreds of souls, and ultimately to bring the plight of the persecuted church to the attention of complacent Christians in free countries.  Through his three years of solitary confinement he experienced the grace of God as he composed and preached to himself hundreds of sermons, and later was able to overflow with the richness and reality of the love of Christ in the company of his fellow prisoners.  In his book, Tortured for Christ, he writes,  "It was strictly forbidden to preach to other prisoners, as it is in captive nations today. It was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their terms. It was a deal: we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching; they were happy beating us—so everyone was happy."

Sabina tells of similar experiences while she was in prison in a message entitled "In God's Beauty Parlor".  She says, "Sometimes I am asked, 'But were you allowed in Communists prisons to read the bible and pray?'  We surely were allowed.  We made a deal with our Communists guards.  We allowed them to beat us so they allowed to read the bible and to pray together."

Sabina spoke of faces that shone, "like the face of an angel," while covered with the blood and tears of a brutal beating.  How could the Wurmbrands say that prison was beautiful?  These words of Richard Wurmbrand say it all:

"If a poor man is a great lover of music, he gives his last dollar to listen to a concert. He is then without money, but he does not feel frustrated. He has heard beautiful things. I don’t feel frustrated to have lost many years in prison. I have seen beautiful things. I myself have been among the weak and insignificant ones in prison, but have had the privilege to be in the same jail with great saints, heroes of faith who equaled the Christians of the first centuries. They went gladly to die for Christ. The spiritual beauty of such saints and heroes of faith can never be described. The things that I say here are not exceptional. The supernatural things have become natural to Christians in the Under­ground Church who have returned to their first love." (Tortured For Christ)

I can't help but almost wish that Christians in our nation faced such persecution.  Tonight, just singing in the car about His grace... oh how amazing.  Thinking about how I have so much, but all I really need is Him.  Looking around at a world that comfortably lives as if this is all there is - oh what sorrow!  There's so much on my heart tonight.  I'm so convicted of my lack of love for my brothers and sisters in Christ, for how I take the Word of God for granted, and for how much I complain about the most inconsequential things. 

Oh that we may have an eternal perspective, a heart that remembers those who are persecuted, as though we were in prison with them. (Hebrews 13:2) That is where our heart should be - where the crushed and the afflicted are - where true light and peace are found.  May we turn to our God, the one who brings love out of hatred, joy out of sorrow, and makes sinners into saints, and for Him forsake all else.

1 comment:

  1. Amen, oh amen. I am in the middle of The Voice of the Martyrs right now...
    May the Lord teach us to fully surrender our lives to Him...

    Thanks for sharing, friend!