Due to the coronavirus, many of us are confined to our homes. For many, self-isolation looks like a Netflix and food binge, while praising God for the blessings of modern technology. However, for our founder Richard Wurmbrand – and perhaps others who have made a stand for Christ – isolation looks like being alone in a lightless cell for three years in solitary confinement. One slice of bread per week would be your provision and hunger your familiar friend.
The prison guards would put felt under their shoes so that their footsteps could not be heard. Other noises were heard however “It was ten o’clock at night …. the great tortures begin … You can hear the screams. The acoustics in the arched corridors are such that the wailings bounce off one wall and on to another with ever-increasing volume.” (Sermons in Solitary Confinement pg 26). For the persecuted, the blessings of God look entirely different to our own. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5:10 (NKJV).
The Scriptures say “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also” Hebrews 13:3 (NKJV). The word ‘remember’ is used for at least two reasons. First, despite persecuted believers being our brothers and sisters, we are quick to forget them because they are an unseen reality. The Israelites, like us, had this problem “… you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness … ” Deuteronomy 8:2 (NKJV). The second reason why the word ‘remember’ is used is because the following command requires the active use of the imagination “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” Luke 6:31 (NKJV).
During this time of self-isolation, please use your mind to creatively think about what it would be like to be without your family, to be truly isolated and to be in prison for Christ. Voice of the Martyrs is doing an outstanding work to help spread of the Gospel. In 2019, 1,300 book sets comprised of discipleship materials were sent by VOM to church leaders in China so that they could effectively spread the Gospel. Approximately 3,500 Christians were detained in 2018, so they do it with great risk.
Please consider this question: If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Challenge for this month:
Please go to vom.com.au/write-prisoners to write to persecuted Christians. Also please pray for persecuted Christians “as though in prison with them…”