Just finished Richard Wurmbrand’s 1969 classic, Tortured for Christ. It is a tale of amazing faith and love.
Born in 1909 to Jewish parents, Wurmbrand grew up in Rumania. He was an atheist in his teens. After conversion in his young adult years he became a pastor to the church in Rumania. At age 35 (1944) the Russian Army invaded. For four years Wurmbrand enjoyed great success evangelizing atheist Russian soldiers. In 1948 the Communist regime imprisoned him for eight years. Three years were spent in solitary confinement in a lightless cell 12 feet underground. The tortures were extreme. It is hard to understand how Wurmbrand survived this abuse.
Nevertheless. He was freed in 1956 and immediately returned to aggressive evangelism in the Underground Church. He was imprisoned a second time. Eventually, when Western churches offered to buy Wurmbrand’s freedom, his Rumanian brothers urged him to go and tell those in the West what was happening. Wurmbrand made it to freedom and eventually testified before the U.S. Senate.
He founded “Voice of the Martyrs.” In addition he wrote several books about his experiences. His testimony was not just about himself, but about the thousands of Christians imprisoned and tortured like himself. Wurmbrand died in 2001.
I was encouraged by Wurmbrand’s accounts of supernatural grace. How could I endure the kind of torture and depravations Wurmbrand and his brothers faced? God would enable me as he did Wurmbrand. God gave them supernatural love for their torturers. “A flower if you bruise it under your feet,” notes the author, “rewards you by giving you its perfume. Likewise Christians, tortured by the communists, rewarded their torturers by love. We brought many of our jailors to Christ. And we are dominated by one desire: to give communists who have made us suffer the best we have, the salvation which comes from our Lord Jesus Christ.” (pg 66). “In our darkest hours of torture the Son of man came to us, making the prison walls shine like diamonds and filling the cells with light. Somewhere far away, were the torturers below us in the sphere of the body. But the spirit rejoiced in the Lord. We would not have given up this joy for that of kingly palaces.” (pg 73).