When I was a teenager, my dad had me read a book called "Tortured for Christ" by Richard Wurmbrand. Wurmbrand was a pastor in communist Romania and eventually spent a total of fourteen years in solitary confinement for his beliefs. Beyond that he was tortured on many occasions.
When I read this as a young believer, I don't think I fully appreciated or understood the ramifications of this book. Recently, I received another copy in the mail from a friend and began reading through it. This time around, I have not been able to read more than a few pages at a time. Almost every time I've sat down to read it, I've been reduced to tears. It is absolutely unbelievable what our brothers and sisters across the world have been through (and continue to go through in countries that are hostile to Christianity). What I want to do here is share with you a few stories that have blessed me in recent days.
Once the Communists convened a congress of all the christian leaders in their country. One by one minister after minister and pastor after pastor began professing their allegiance to Joseph Stalin (who by that time had already become a mass murderer of Christians). Richard Wurmbrand and his wife Sabina were present. Sabina turned to her husband and said "Richard, stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ! They are spitting in his face." Richard said, "If I do so, you lose your husband." She replied, "I don't wish to have a coward as a husband."
Wow. Sabina put her love for the name of Christ above her love for her husband. It's not like they were being asked to deny Christ or to profane his name. All they had to do was sit in silence. But they could not sit in silence while the name of their Savior was being disgraced. Sabina was willing to lose her husband for the sake of honoring the name of Christ. I don't think I know many people like that, and that is unfortunate.
A pastor by the name of Florescu was tortured with red-hot iron pokers and with knives. He was beaten very badly. Then starving rats were driven into his cell through a large pipe. He could not sleep because he had to defend himself all the time. If he rested for a moment, the rats would attack him.
He was forced to stand for two weeks, day and night. The Communists wished to compel him to betray his brethren, but he resisted steadfastly. Eventually, they brought his fourteen-year-old son to the prison and began to whip the boy in front of his father, saying that they would continue to beat him until the pastor said what they wished him to say. The poor man was half mad. He bore it as long as he could, then he cried to his son, "Alexander, I must say what they want! I can't bear your beating anymore!" The son answered, "Father, don't do me the injustice of having a traitor as a parent. Withstand! If they kill me, I will die with the words, 'Jesus and my fatherland.'" The Communists, enraged, fell upon the child and beat him to death, with blood splattered over the walls of the cell. He died praising God. our dear brother Florescu was never the same after seeing this.
This might sound sadistic, but it is not intended that way. I hope to one day suffer real persecution for the sake of my Savior. It would be an honor.