Steve Maltz looks at the life of Richard Wurmbrand and a friend with a nasty disease.

Steve Maltz
Steve Maltz

In 1945, Romania was a country under a repressive communist regime.

Richard and Sabrina Wurmbrand were pastors at that time who were determined to spread the Christian message to their countrymen, despite persecution from the authorities.

For this Richard was imprisoned for 14 years and regularly tortured by the prison guards. He was beaten on his body and his feet, given drugs and forced to watch the torture of others.

All this time he never gave up his faith. For three years he was kept in solitary confinement deep underground. Only once in that time was he able to communicate with another person, a prisoner in the next cell, to whom he preached the Gospel.

Their nightmare was eventually over and they moved to America, where they continued to preach and worked to highlight the fate of Christians persecuted in the Communist world.

So, how did he get through this ordeal? How did Richard survive those years of torture and solitary confinement?

It was his hope in Jesus Christ, his sure hope that, whatever happened to him, heaven awaited him. Every night in the cell he preached sermons to himself and memorised 300 of them. His faith got him through.

Such is the hope we all have if we have Jesus Christ living in our heart.

Do you have such a hope?

We may not have to go through the ordeals of Richard Wurmbrand, but this hope should get us through whatever the world throws at us.

It is a precious gift.

Triumph over adversity

I have a friend. Let's call him Clive. He's a middle-aged Christian who, for the last few years, has lived with a rather nasty disease, with a long unpronounceable name. The upshot being that many of his organs are in a constant state of attack and he requires dialysis three times a week and the occasional bout of chemotherapy, just to keep the thing in check.

To meet him you would sense that all is not well with him because of his emaciated physical appearance. But that is not all, because to meet him is also a life-affirming joyful experience. You see, Clive is not allowing himself to be defined by his physical condition, but rather he has used the opportunities it provides to spread the hope that he has in the risen Jesus Christ.