This is my Father’s world.
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!
Since 1901 when these words by New York Presbyterian minister Maltbie D Babcock were posthumously published, the world has passed through two world wars and the cold war as well as numerous other conflicts and skirmishes.
Now we face a worldwide struggle with COVID-19.
Take courage. As a Christian be glad in the knowledge that indeed this is our Father’s world, and He is still on the throne.
In my devotions this morning I read from Romans where the Apostle Paul said: “for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” Romans 14:8.
So we have confidence to take each day as it comes.
Richard Wurmbrand said, “I have had moments of knowing the victory of faith in prison. I have also had moments of despair. I thank God for both. The latter had some good in them, in that they showed me my limitations and taught me not to rely on my victories, nor on my faith, but on the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.”
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid…” John 14:27.
In the midst of all these troubles, our brothers and sisters in Christ still face persecution. Let us take courage and continue to do what God has called us to do – to “remember them that are in bonds”.
Voice of the Martyrs Australia
When Pastor Richard Wurmbrand spoke at Australian churches in 1969 he delivered a very challenging message about the persecution of Christians in Romania, his home country.
Richard’s feet had been beaten so severely during his imprisonment that he could not stand or wear shoes. Instead, he spoke to Australian Christians while resting his mangled feet on a pillow. The congregations sat in complete silence as the barefoot pastor shared his incredible testimony.
Richard’s face gleamed with joy as he shared of a faith that overcomes all obstacles and provided opportunities to learn about persecuted Christians and to pray for them and their persecutors.
Having never heard a message like this before, many were affected by his words and attitude.
Today, we see that same joy and strength in the faces of persecuted believers we meet on our travels around the world.
The ministry of Voice of the Martyrs began with a dream and a prayer in a solitary cell in communist Romania. For three years, Richard Wurmbrand sat alone in a prison cell, over nine metres below the ground. Other than brief interactions with his guards, he saw and heard no one. As far as he knew, the outside world had ceased to exist. But in that dark, lonely, cold cell, he cried out to God and dreamed about starting a ministry that would serve Christians in communist countries.
God heard his prayers
Several years later, Richard and his family were ransomed out of their Romanian homeland for $10,000, far more than what was normally paid for political prisoners. Within days of being freed from a Romanian prison and arriving in the West, he wrote his bestselling book, Tortured for Christ. Soon thereafter, he founded a mission called Jesus to the Communist World, which later became Voice of the Martyrs. Richard’s message was not always welcome. At a time when war protests and pro-communist rallies were occurring regularly around the United States, Richard boldly took the stage and spoke out against the crimes being committed by communist regimes.
Although he was often booed and jeered, he remained undeterred. When asked about his qualifications to speak out in this way, he would strip to the waist to show his 18 torture scars and say, “These marks are my credentials.”
Many Christians found his message hard to believe, and others didn’t care. “I have suffered more from the complacency of the West than from the Communists,” he once told a reporter. But he did not come to the West looking for approval and applause. He came looking for Christians who were willing to stand with their persecuted brothers and sisters and over time he found them.
Richard published a newsletter every month, sharing story after story of courageous Christians who were beaten, imprisoned and killed because of their faith in Christ. Some refused to read the newsletter, saying it was too depressing or graphic. But Richard had a different perspective. “What will you profit by reading this newsletter?” he wrote. “It will greatly enlarge your vision. … You need to enlarge your horizons sharing the joys and sorrows of your fellow men.”
He knew the stories were needed to spur the church to a deeper commitment to Christ and His Great Commission. He was unashamed of that message.
Richard’s dream of helping persecuted Christians and sharing the Gospel with their persecutors lives on at Voice of the Martyrs. The ministry he founded continues to help families of martyrs, equip front-line workers, provide Bibles to Christians in restricted and hostile nations, and inspire the church worldwide with testimonies of our courageous persecuted family.
Thank you for standing with our persecuted family.
I admire Communists.” The words seemed strange from a pastor who spent fourteen years in Communist prisons, but Richard Wurmbrand was sincere when he said them.
“Many Communists were willing to die to defend their ‘Utopia.’ They were more committed to their cause than some I met in churches.”
In every enemy Pastor Wurmbrand saw a potential friend and a potential Christian. By loving his opponents, he not only saw many come to know Christ but also increased his opportunities to witness.
“When they called me a ‘dirty Jew’ and told everyone not to read my books, people immediately went out to see what this ‘dirty Jew’ had to say,” he chuckled. “I welcome anyone who has offense against me. Others are not always interested in what you have to say. You need to challenge them to the truth before you share your beliefs. To do this you must understand where they are coming from and be able to speak intelligently. But we must also remember to always speak in love.”
Pastor Wurmbrand’s words were not some high-minded ideal that he didn’t exemplify. He and his wife Sabina welcomed into their home a Nazi officer who worked at the very concentration camp where all of Sabina’s family had been exterminated. When the officer saw their forgiveness and love for him, he was won into the kingdom.
Note: These statements were made during one of Pastor Wurmbrand’s final interviews prior to his death in February, 2001.
Jesus taught us that others would recognize our faith by our love—especially when it comes to dealing with the opposition. How we treat our enemies is equally important as how we treat those in our own Christian family. In fact, our response to criticism often makes a greater statement for Christianity than any other example. When believers put this powerful principle of the Christian faith into practice, they distinguish themselves from the rest of the world. The natural response to opposition is to refute it or return the favor. Instead, believers strive to understand their enemies, not under-mine them. Opposition, when put into this perspective, is welcomed as an opportunity to exercise faith and imitate Christ’s commands.
Story from our daily devotional book. For more info go to https://vom.com.au/shop/books/extreme-devotion-with-study-guide-voice-of-the-martyrs/
“In solitary confinement, we could not pray as before. We were unimaginably hungry; we had been drugged until we acted like idiots. We were as weak as skeletons. The Lord’s Prayer was much too long for us – we could not concentrate enough to say it. My only prayer repeated again and again was, ‘Jesus, I love You.’”
Richard Wurmbrand’s incredible autobiography shocked the world as he revealed the depths of suffering Christians in the underground church endured – and their extraordinary devotion and triumphant faith.
“This is only a very small part of what happened. Other things simply cannot be told. My heart would fail if I should tell them again and again. They are too terrible and obscene to put in writing. This is what your brothers in Christ went through and go through now!”
Now you can receive exclusive access to this Christian classic as an audiobook when you download VOM’s App.
Learn the truth about Christian persecution for yourself as you listen. Let the words Richard Wurmbrand wrote stir your heart and passion for a Saviour worth suffering for and a family of believers worth fighting for.
“I have seen Christians in Communist prisons with fifty pounds of chains on their feet, tortured with red-hot iron pokers, in whose throats spoonfuls of salt had been forced, being kept afterward without water, starving, whipped, suffering from cold – and praying with fervour for the Communists. This is humanly inexplicable! It is the love of Christ, which was poured out in our hearts.”
Go to www.vom.com.au/app to download the app and listen to Tortured for Christ today.