After being released from prison after serving eight-and-a-half years of a twenty year sentence, Rev. Richard Wurmbrand was ready for some rest and relaxation. He said,
Now that I was free, I longed in the depths of my heart for quietness and rest. But communism was working everywhere to complete the destruction of the Church. The peace I desired would have been an escape from reality and dangerous for my soul (In God’s Underground, 189).
Soon after Wurmbrand was released, he went to see Patriarch Justinian Marina to plead the case of his friends that were still imprisoned. This meeting was particularly dangerous because the patriarch had already proven to be quite damaging to the true church. This meeting, along with his refusal to stop preaching, caused the communist officials to re-arrest him on January 15, 1959. Shortly before his arrest Wurmbrand prayed,
God, if you know men in prison whom I can help, souls that I can save, send me back and will bear it willingly (In God’s Underground, 197).
What strikes me as simply amazing is that fact that Wurmbrand was not content to hide away in his attic apartment. He wasn’t content to take an extended vacation. He wasn’t content to work a simple job and make a quiet living. What things are we often content with?
- Taking vacations
- Relaxing in front of the computer or TV
- Taking walks at the park
- Mowing the grass on a Saturday afternoon
- Playing board games
- Attend the 1.5 hour church service every Sunday
- Working hard at my 40-50 hour per week job
The things in the above list aren’t even remotely sinful. They aren’t bad at all. But they are things that we find fulfillment with–and that’s the problem. We tend to be content with working hard and playing hard.
But if Rev. Richard Wurmbrand were to look at this list he would surely notice something was missing. I believe that he would notice that there is a lack of “doing God’s word” in this list. The Bible says that if we live our lives without a healthy dose of “doing God’s word,” than we are foolish. And yet, it was Wurmbrand’s doing (preaching and meeting with the patriarch) that sent him back to jail . . . something worldly people would surely call foolish.
When we “do the word,” the Bible promises that persecution is sure to follow. Simply put, there is really no safe way to obey Jesus. Wurmbrand was willing to be called a fool in the world’s eyes. He was unwilling to rest and relax when confronted with worldly evils. He was willing to do the word and face the inevitable result of being sent back to prison.
Wurmbrand’s legacy is not simply for us to remember how great of a man he was. Wurmbrand’s legacy is that we are now inspired to not be content with our lives the way they are. His legacy is that we “do the word” despite the consequences and with full knowledge that persecution will follow.
Thanks for this. Here is a good article by Hieromonk Damascene regarding Pastor Wurmbrand and his love for the Orthodox Church in Romania: