Today I want to talk a little more about the way God intersects the obscure with the prominent:
Have you heard of Richard Wurmbrand? You probably have. He was the founder of the group, “Voice of the Martyrs, ” and author of the book, “Tortured for Christ”. He was imprisoned by the Communist government of Romania for fourteen years for publicly challenging that regime’s desire to control the Christian churches. I believe that in modern Romania he is well-known, and considered a great man.
But how did he become a Christian?
There was a carpenter in a small town in Romania who, as I recall, had never met a Jew. But his heart’s desire, and his constant prayer, was that he could be the instrument of conversion to a Jewish person. Wurmbrand eventually found his way to the community, and he was the fruit of that prayer. Isn’t that wondrous?
Let me share with you just a few of his thoughts and experiences:
Wurmbrand, of course, suffered terribly in the Romanian prisons. At one point, he and some fellow believers, decided to pray consistently that God would alleviate their sufferings at least a little bit. Eventually, it became clear to them that this was not going to happen. And what was their response? They decided that they would have to remember that somewhere there were people enjoying the ‘smiling’ aspect of God’s providence and rejoice in that, with them and for them!
Wurmbrand was eventually ransomed from Romania by Norwegian Christians and found his way to the United States. I believe it was his first Sunday in this country that he attended - inadvertently – a liberal church. After the collection was taken, he settled back to listen to the sermon. It soon became clear that the ‘sermon’ was political in nature. So Wurmbrand stood up in the middle of the service and shouted that he had come to hear of Jesus Christ and wanted his money back! He then walked out! Like John Knox, he ‘feared the face of no man.”
Finally, a lesser-known fact about Wurmbrand:
As a young man, years before his conversion, he had been taken to Moscow to study Communist doctrine and was himself a committed Communist. While there, he had access to Marxist writings not ordinarily available. Through that opportunity, and through subsequent study, he became convinced that Marx was literally a Satanist. Did you know that Marx wrote poetry and plays as well as political theory? They express sheer evil. If you have a strong stomach, and are interested, Wurmbrand’s lengthy essay on this is available on the internet under the title, “Marx and Satan”.
An interesting man. An incomparable man. Unique in both outlook and calling. And the answer to a carpenter’s prayer.