“Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated — since you yourselves are in the body also.” (Hebrews 13:3)
In his book, Tortured for Christ, Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, tells of the fateful moment when he and his wife chose to stand for Christ against the evil Communist regime that had taken over their beloved Romania. The Communists had assembled a congress of pastors and priests from all over the nation to meet in the Parliament building. The honorary chairman of this congress was Joseph Stalin, the same man who was the murderer of millions, including many Christians. The Communists used the subtle voice of seduction to endeavor to enlist the pastors to their cause. After listening to this for a while, Richard’s wife, 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.” I said to her, “If I do so, you lose your husband.” She replied, “I don’t wish to have a coward as a husband.”
Richard took his stand and, as he predicted, he was soon arrested and spent the next fourteen years of his life in a Russian prison, three years of which he spent in a below-ground dungeon in isolation. Both he and his wife suffered terrible horrors from the hands of the Communists, even worse than the beatings they had endured at the hands of the Nazi’s some years before. Many times, the Communists sent secret agents in disguise to tell Sabina that Richard had died in prison, trying to break her spirit. However, God always reassured her and told her to hold on to her hope. Richard was tortured years on end for his devotion to Christ, until at last he was ransomed and brought to the West. It was in that isolation cell that his vision for The Voice of the Martyrs was born; an organization that gives aid to, and teaches the body of Christ about, those suffering for their faith around the world.
Stories of Christian persecution have once again come before the public eye, as news agencies and social media sites have posted the videos and images of Christians who have been beheaded by terror groups such as ISIS. While the names of terror have changed over the years, from Nazis to Communists to Islamic Extremists, the evil which seeks to destroy the innocent and snuff out the voice of the gospel is the same. It would seem that the depths of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man is unfathomable. No longer merely stories of a by-gone era when Christians were fed to the lions in the Coliseum or whose bodies were used as human torches to light the Apian Way in ancient Rome, the reality we see of those suffering for Christ today cries out to us to act on behalf of our suffering brethren. What can we do to relieve those suffering the world over because of their love for Christ?
Recently, I heard from a dear friend of mine with whom we labor in the ministry. They serve God in one of these difficult places in the earth. They have massive crusades where the lost are saved in the Muslim nation in which they live, and they care for the orphaned children of their community. They are truly poised to have a hand in changing their nation for Christ. But this has not come without a cost. Recently, my friend was beaten and pistol whipped by a group of men as his wife looked on, horrified and helpless. It is truly only by God’s grace that he survived. Even though the bruises have healed and they continue their work for the Kingdom of God, the danger remains. Recently, a young husband and his pregnant wife in a nearby area were burned alive by radicals who thought they had somehow shown disrespect to the Koran. Though it was only a horrible misunderstanding, it ended with the loss of three beautiful lives (the wife was pregnant), martyrs for Christ and victims of the inhuman madness that seems to be fermenting right now in many nations of the world.
Just tonight my friend messaged me, asking us to pray for the Christians in his nation. A church only forty-five minutes away from them was burned, and three girls were viciously attacked. Two are in critical condition and one lost her life. Not only is this horrific persecution happening in our day, it is very likely coming to a neighborhood near you. As our nation becomes more secular, religious liberties such as our First Amendment right of freedom of religious expression erode, and hostility toward those who refuse to follow the politically correct narrative of our culture increases.
What are we to do? First of all, we are not to make enemies of those who hate us, whether its members of radical terror groups or simply those who are hostile toward our faith here at home. We are to love our enemies, realizing that our true enemy is not flesh and blood but the spiritual hosts of darkness who control this world system (see Ephesians 6:12), and the Devil who blinds the minds of those who do not believe (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). We are also to stand with and support our brothers and sisters who suffer, both with our finances and our prayers. There are great organizations, such as the The Voice of the Martyrs and others, who are making great inroads to relieve the sufferings of persecuted Christians. Also, God is doing great things behind enemy lines.
It has been said that so many Muslims are having visions of Jesus around the world that one man who works in these areas said his first question to them is, “Have you had any unusual dreams lately?” He said it is amazing how many of them say, “Yes,” and testify to what God has shown them. Many have come to Christ in this way. There are no boundaries to God or His gospel. There is no bunker deep enough, no tribe remote enough, and no wall high enough that He cannot reach those whose hearts are hungry for Him. So, pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering around the world for their faith, but always remember that after the darkness comes the dawn, and after the tomb came the resurrection. We have a hope in Christ that can never be extinguished!
The Voice of the Martyrs website is persecution.com
 Wurmbrand, Richard (2010-09-30). Tortured for Christ (Kindle Locations 272-274). Living Sacrifice Book Company. Kindle Edition.
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