Tortured for Christ

Richard Wurmbrand. I’d never heard the name, never heard his story until I received a free copy of his book, Tortured For Christ, one day probably 8 years ago.

I knew about persecution. I knew some of the terrible things early Christians and Christians down through the ages have endured for Christ, but for some reason, this book was different than any history book I’d read dealing with the life of Christians behind the Iron Curtain.

His story–more than just his, it is their story. He is just their voice, the “The voice of the Underground”.  It is a story of the persecuted church that remains in the heart long after you read the last page, and close the book and put it on the shelf.

Richard Wurbrand lived, worked and suffered in Communist Romania, and the book he wrote upon his final release from prison in 1964, Tortured For Christ, is a gripping account of–not the persecution–but of a love and of a strength that was not theirs, but His who also suffered, and who has promised grace to bear all things.

It isn’t just a story of sorrow, or of how for his faith in Jesus he and others suffered things that we  can hardly imagine enduring in our comfortable lives. More than his story–and the story of Christians living under the Iron Curtain–it tells a story of God’s grace in time of need. And of what it means to love your enemies. Love so deep that there is no room for hate, for ill will, for resentment, or even anger towards the ones at whose hands these brothers and sisters in Christ suffered these terrible things. It is something only God could do, and it touched my heart profoundly.

For 8 years Pastor Wurbrand’s friends and family did not know for sure if he was dead or alive. Pretending to be released prisoners, the secret police would come to his wife and tell her that they attended his burial and funeral and it broke her heart. After his first release, he was told not to preach any more, but he, like so many others, could not stop sharing what God had done for him. Now, he was not afraid of his persecutors, for during his time in prison, he saw them as they truly were.  Underneath their cruelty and coldness, they were Sauls, waiting to become Pauls, and more than anything else, he wanted them to know his Jesus. He continued to preach and was recaptured and put into prison again.

He spent 14 years in prison all together–as a “criminal” because he believed in Jesus Christ, and because he dared to share Christ with others in a world that wanted to forget Christ and the Cross, and their Savior. For those 14 years he did not see a Bible.  He suffered physical torture, brainwashing, starvation and cold, but when he finally was released, poverty stricken and weak from the things that he suffered, he still could say, “I have seen beautiful things!

This book is not easy reading. It is a book that should be read slowly and thoughtfully, and with a prayer in your heart to let God use it to rekindle the fire in our own hearts.

Time and time again as I read the book, I had to put it aside, as with tears running down my face, I realize how very far I was from what I should be in Christ.  Yet at the same time that it challenged me deeply, I found it to be just as deeply encouraging. Truly, He who has called each one of us to our appointed paths will give us strength and grace and love to meet whatever comes our way, in His strength.

If you haven’t read Tortured For Christ, you really should.  You’ll be challenged, inspired, encouraged and blessed. It is available through Amazon, but  YLCF is going to be giving away a copy, free, to one of our readers!

  • To enter the drawing, please leave a comment sharing with us something that inspires you to hold fast to Him at all times–in darkness, in heartache, in trials… and in times of peace and plenty. We all like to say that God is good and life is beautiful when all is well, but when times are hard and we’ve lost everything we love, He is still good.  What makes Him real to you then?
  • Drawing ends Monday, September 13, at midnight.
  • Congratulations to Everly Pleasant for winning a copy of Richard Wurmbrand’s book!  Check out below what Everly chooses to focus on in times of trial.

15 Comments

  1. A great post about a great book! “Tortured For Christ” will change your life!

  2. Hei!!

    I am a Romanian girl, that was born a little bit after the fall of the communist regime. As I study history at university in Bucharest, I fully understand the reality of Wurmbrand’s hardship in Communist Romania.
    I have read this book two years ago, while i was still in high-school, and for me it was as if I would experience everything with Richard, side- by -side. And the experience was heart-raising.
    i love the way he tells the story. You couldn’t depict anything like frustration or anger in his book, but LOVE, pure love. This is one of the best lessons that I have learned while reading this book: ” Love covers everything”- even hatred.

  3. I can’t say that I’ve experienced anything remotely close to the kind of darkness and hardship that Richard Wurmbrand had to endure, but when I pass through times in my life where is FEELS like I’ve lost everything I love, it’s Gods love that makes Him real in my life.
    It may sound trite, but truly it’s His heart of love that is always drawing me, that gives me the courage to keep going when things are difficult.

  4. What often has the power to speak to my heart when nothing else can is simply going outside at night to look at the stars.
    If He can keep this mind-bogglingly vast universe going… I know He can keep this one hurting soul going, too, through the pain, through the valley, and out the other side, where sunlight waits.

  5. “My grace is sufficient for thee for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
    This is the verse that keeps me going when I am at the bottom. My Abba manafesting His grace is the only explanation I have for my life story.

    Thank you, ladies, for maintaining this site. It is an encouragement to hear the hearts of other women growing in Christ. <3

  6. When I went through a very dark time two years ago God drew me to a verse in Isaiah that say ‘ I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places so that you will see and know that I am the Lord who summons you by name’. This verse literally held me through the pain. And in that place as I cried out in honesty to God and allowed trusted people to counsel and pray and help, God did show me sin in my heart, He showed me sins that were also done to me, and He gave me a grace for others and their failings, and a greater awareness of His Father heart for us. I knew things had changed when my prayers began to thank Him for the ‘dark place’ because I did find the treasure of His prescence, both in time alone with HIm, and through the church community. And I still see the benefits and lessons learnt each day now…

  7. Emily Walker says:

    When things are going badly, I usually cannot pray as I should or find any solace in my surroundings. But I can read, or recite Scripture. Psalm 23, as common and original as that Psalm has become in Christian circles, has ended up being a consistent balm to my soul during times of trial and times of peace. Psalm 23, that psalm I had to labor through memorizing as a child and wondering why on earth.. God has chosen what seemed insignificant to me as a child to help me through significant times as an adult. Truly, the first shall be made last, and the last shall be made first.

  8. Going through a tough time recently, I opened my Bible. After glancing over a few Psalms, which just didn’t fit my mood, I flipped to the New Testament and said, “God, this is so HARD.” The verse that popped out at me was this: “Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (II Tim. 2:3-4).

    It was strong medicine and it satisfied my turbulent soul. Sometimes what I need to hear most is the difficult truth. Although the Psalms can be very comforting, I needed tough love at the moment I read those verses. Recalling that the beloved of the Lord will suffer helps me accept the suffering.

  9. Writing down the things that He does for me in the sunny times keeps me pressing into Him in the dark times.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    The thing that keeps me going is the remembrance that He loves me no matter how much I mess up. He still loves me because “while we were yet sinners, He died for us!!””

  11. When I don’t want to go on what inspires me is God’s word, Specifically the psalms of David when he is being chased or hunted by Saul. He almost always ends the Psalm with something about trusting God, that just inspires me to keep going and following even when I’m “hunted” or “chased” by worries and troubles. Praise God that His word is given to us!!!
    -Ruth

  12. I read this book last October, and it touched me in a way like no other book has. And you’re right about it not being an easy book to read, and it has to be read slowly. The love the underground church had for their persecutors is simply amazing; that truly humbled me.
    Please don’t enter me in as I already own a copy. 🙂

  13. In times of trouble, I look back on what I knew to be true yesterday when all was well:
    God is truly good.
    He loves me more than I could measure.
    He has granted me salvation
    and promised me eternal peace with Him someday soon.

    If I can remember how much I truly believed those things when my life was going fine, I can cling to them when it isn’t.

    Everly

    1. Great truths, great promises. Congratulations for winning an encouraging, inspiring book, Everly!

  14. Fer F. Comparativo says:

    This presses me to move on in Him despite everything. The things that sometimes happened to us are just so small compared to what had Jesus suffered. I am always encouraged by the song,
    ‘There is coming a day, when no heartache shall come;
    No more clouds in the sky, no more tears to dim the eye;
    There is peace forevermore on that happy golden shore,
    What a day, glorious day that will be!

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