“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10
A Snapshot of the Life of Richard Wurmbrand:
Born: March 24, 1909 – Bucharest, Romania
Died: Feb. 17, 2001 – Torrance, California
Founder and first director of Voice of the Martyrs, 1967-93. Richard and Sabrina Wurmbrand, Romanian pastor and wife, risked their lives to witness for Christ and endured terrible suffering under Communist rule. Brought up in a Jewish Orthodox family, Wurmbrand was an atheist. At a tuberculosis sanatorium, an old carpenter gave him a Bible and introduced him to Christ. Soon he was converted and baptized in Bucharest. In World War Il, he was in and out of prison under Nazi occupation, tying to help Jewish orphans, Romanian Protestants, and gypsies. Once the Russians came in 1944, he had to “go underground” with his church. From 1948-56, he was interrogated and subjected to terrible forms of torture. Warmbrand was in prison once again 1959-64. The Norwegian Israel Mission paid the Romanian government for Wurmbrand’s release. They came to America to begin Christian Mission to the Communist world. On May 14,1990, the couple returned to Romania after 25 years’ absence, to a warm welcome. – (Excerpt taken from the Reese Chronological Encyclopedia of Christian Biographies. Used by permission.)
A Spiritual Application for Our Lives:
Many believers have long forgotten the lives and testimonies of Richard and Sabrina Wurmbrand. Quite frankly, stories like theirs disturb the pleasant Christian life so many of us enjoy. The suffering of believers for their faith in Christ can even bring a feeling of guilt to those who live in freedom. Richard Wurmbrand was a man for his time and people. He obeyed the light he had. He boldly preached Christ in spite of the oppression, hurt, torture, and suffering. Christ was his message.
We could spend time detailing the atrocities that this man endured: beatings, separation, humiliation, brutality, hours of brainwashing, and poisoning. Perhaps we could write of his bold witness against the evils of communism and valiant defense of Christ over Communism. We could study the many years he spent in indescribable conditions because he refused to bow to any but Christ. I encourage you to read his experiences. Heed Wurmbrand’s warnings. Allow the Wurmbrand’s faithfulness to prod you to remain faithful.
As you read Wurmbrand’s writings and testimonies, you cannot help but be convicted of the halfheartedness with which we serve God. These faithful believers risked, in some cases gave, their all to carry out the Great Commission. Richard Wurmbrand ignited a gospel fire within his own nation and to all those who heard his accounts. God used him remarkably. Wurmbrand’s steadfastness in persecution served to demonstrate God’s faithfulness to millions.
A Remarkable Conversion.
Perhaps the most remarkable part of Wurmbrand’s story is not his suffering. Many millions have suffered for the cause of Christ. The interesting part is how God used a wealthy, young atheist and a poor, elderly believer to teach all of us a lesson on faithfulness. Wurmbrand became an atheist as a young man in large part because of the suffering around him. He determined that a good God would never allow such hardship. But God was working all the while. God did not use the winsome arguments of a clever preacher to soften his heart; he used a faithful carpenter in the small mountain village. This faithful saint began to pray this: “My God, I have served you on earth and I wish to have my reward on earth as well as in heaven. And my reward should be that I should not die before I bring a Jew to Christ because Jesus was from the Jewish people. But I am poor, old, and sick. I cannot go around and seek a Jew. In my village there are none. Bring a Jew into my village and I will do my best to bring him to Christ.”
Wurmbrand (a Jew) testified that:
“I had no reason to go there. Romania has twelve thousand villages, but I went to that one. Seeing I was a Jew… He saw in me the answer to his prayer and gave me a Bible to read. I had read the Bible out of cultural interest many times before. But the Bible he gave me was another kind of Bible. As he told me some time later, he and his wife prayed together for hours for my conversion and that of my wife. The Bible he gave me was written not so much in words, but in flames of love fired by his prayers. I could barely read it. I could only weep over it, comparing my bad life with the life of Jesus; my impurity with His righteousness; my hatred with His love – and He accepted me as one of His own.”
Perhaps God will not have you endure the torture of a communist prison for His sake. Could it be that your faithfulness will not be proven in a prison cell but in your prayer closet? Wherever God has you, or sends you, be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2).
A Suggestion for Further Reading…
Tortured For Christ – Richard Wurmbrand (1967)
Wurmbrand: Tortured For Christ, the Complete Story – Voice of the Martyrs (2018)
Republished with permission from Blogs.crossmap.com, featuring inspiring Bible verses about Christians You Should Know: Richard Wurmbrand – Enjoying the Journey.