DAY 138: Wednesday 14 October
Good morning everyone
Sabina Wurmbrand, wife of renowned pastor Richard Wurmbrand, once told her husband, “I do not need a coward for a husband.” which may seem like harsh words.
Born the youngest son in a Jewish family, Richard was sent as a teenager to study Marxism in Moscow and after returning to Romania, married Sabina in 1936 and they both converted to Christianity 2 years later and then trained to become Anglican ministers.
After WW2 the Russian Communists invaded their homeland of Romania and in February 1948 convened a “Congress of the Cults” to promote Communist ideology among the leaders of the major church denominations. One after the other, pastors and priests pledged their support for the Communists.
Sabina then whispered in her husband’s ear, “They are spitting on the face of Christ. Will you not speak up?” Richard answered, “If I do speak out, you will no longer have a husband” to which Sabina replied, “I do not need a coward for a husband.”
Richard did speak up and told his fellow Christian leaders that they should serve Christ and Christ alone. He was arrested and spent the next 14 gruelling years in prison for his Christian stance. But throughout his imprisonment he continued to witness to other prisoners and also to many of the Russian communist prison guards, for which he was often physically tortured. Sabina did lose her husband for 14 years, and she was also arrested, forced into slave labour on the Danube canal. Neither were cowards, and both became spiritual heroes and mentors.
Later in the 1960’s following their release from prison, they were persuaded to move to the West in order to continue their Christian ministry from a safer place. Many of you have probably read their story in the book ‘Tortured for Christ’ – an inspiration to us who generally enjoy less-challenging Christian lives.
One of Richard Wurmbrand’s heroes was 16th century priest and theologian Martin Luther who after nailing his Ninety Five Theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg had to escape for his life and ended up in hiding in Wartburg Castle.
One of Luther’s most famous hymns is A Mighty Fortress is our God, written from Luther’s personal experience of imprisonment and Richard and Sabina often used to sing this German hymn >>> A MIGHTY FORTRESS
The current national situation and the way in which we deal with the restrictions placed on us can feel like opposition, imprisonment and even torture. In those times when we struggle mentally, spiritually and even physically we can take strength from Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Many years ago when I was growing up at the Chapel through Junior Church and Youth Hour, we used to sing a chorus based on words from Joshua 1:9 -
Be thou strong and very courageous
for I have commanded thee;
be not afraid, be not dismayed;
thou shalt have victory.
I will be with thee whate'er betide,
Captain and Leader, Friend and Guide.
How we deal with tough experiences can be a test of our faith and whether we are truly courageous or cowardly.
We were reminded last Sunday morning about being ‘Confident in Christ’ and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves we can move on in the confidence that comes with Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote his letter of encouragement to the Philippian believers from his prison cell in Rome whilst chained to Roman guards. How could Paul be so positive in such dire circumstances when naturally he would have expected some sympathy. Paul’s life was full of hardship, yet he writes in Philippians 1 that his life is full of joy. We hope to be following this theme further in next Sunday morning’s service.
If you want to join with us on Sunday at the Chapel and haven’t already booked your place, contact Karen to reserve your seat by this Friday. If you can’t be with us in person on Sunday morning, you should be able to watch the recorded service online later in the day.
A few days ago Karen received the following picture beautifully illustrating the intricacy of God’s perfect creation
Have a good day