Pastor Richard Wurmbrand and his wife, Sabina, were in prison in Romania because of their Christian activities. The prisons were miserable, dirty places. Guards fed them poorly and treated them harshly.
Sabina wrote about her prison experiences in a book called The Pastor’s Wife. She noted in her book that most of the other prisoners around her were unhappy and hopeless.
But Sabina was thankful. “Those of us who had faith realized for the first time how rich we were,” she said. “The youngest Christians and the weakest had more strength to call upon than the wealthiest ladies and the smartest ones. [People without faith] often seemed to dry up like indoor plants in the wind. Heart and mind were empty.”
One day, a professor’s wife came to Sabina in the prison and said, “How happy you must be to be able to think and keep your mind busy and pray!”
Sabina was very thankful for Bible verses she had memorized before she went to prison. She later wrote, “We had no Bible. We hungered for it more than bread. How I wished I’d learned more of it by heart! But we repeated daily the verses we knew. Other Christians, like me, had memorized long passages, knowing that soon their time would come for arrest.
“We brought riches to prison. While others quarreled and fought, we lay on our mattresses and repeated verses to ourselves through the long nights. We learned what newcomers brought and taught them what we knew. So an unwritten Bible circulated through all Romania’s prisons. After work, women came to Christian prisoners and asked, even begged, to be told something of what we remembered from the Bible. The words gave hope, comfort, and life.”
(Source: The Pastor’s Wife, by Sabina Wurmbrand. Edited for length, clarity, and reading level.)
To Talk About
• What were two things for which Sabina was thankful?
• Why had some prisoners memorized Bible verses before they went to prison?
• What were the “riches” the Christian prisoners brought to prison?