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Passing Through Deep Waters

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand of Romania, the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, told the following story.

“Two friends took a walk along the shore of a river. One slipped and fell into the water. He began to yell, “Help! Help! I can’t swim!” His friend on shore answered, “You don’t have to shout like that. I don’t know how to swim either, but I don’t make as much noise about it as you do.”

Pastor Wurmbrand went on to say,

“We sometimes judge others harshly for their bad moods or rude behavior. We behave well, but could it be because we do not pass through the same deep waters as those who do not behave well?”

Pastor Wurmbrand practiced what he preached. He loved and prayed for people who invaded his country, police who arrested him for his faith, and guards who treated him rudely in prison. He led some of them to Christ.

To Discuss: What does the story about the man in the water mean? For what behavior was the man on shore judging the man in the water? Can you think of someone who does not behave well to pray for?

(Source: Reaching Toward the Heights, edited and paraphrased)


Complaining

Pastor Wurmbrand
Pastor Wurmbrand in prison for his faith

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, told the following story:

“Two men were walking home together in bad weather. They had a long way to go. The blizzard was fierce, blowing snow and sleet in their faces and chilling them to the bone.

“One man muttered the whole way, “It is terrible! I can’t stand it anymore! Nobody could imagine anything worse than this!”

“The other man replied, “I can. Just imagine walking in such weather with someone who is complaining the entire time.”

Pastor Wurmbrand then compared the complaining man in the story with persecuted Christians who talk about how Christ suffered to save us instead of talking about their own struggles. “Their speech is not about the wounds they have, but about Christ,” Pastor Wurmbrand said.

To remind yourself to not complain, try making a wristband.


Freedom: Richard Wurmbrand

Wurmbrand
Pastor Wurmbrand in prison

On July 4th, the United States celebrates freedom and independence. Many people think freedom means not being under the control of other people or another country.

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was in prison in communist Romania for 14 years because of his Christian activities. Most people would not think of prison as a place of freedom. But Pastor Wurmbrand realized that true freedom comes from obeying God and following Christ. He did not feel more or less free in or out of prison.

In prison, Pastor Wurmbrand thought, “It is not necessary to be at liberty to be pleasing to God. Which commandment could I keep better in freedom than in a prison cell? Why should I move around? The lily stays in the same place and exhales its perfume….I will not ask [God] to be freed.”

To Think About

  • What was Pastor Wurmbrand saying about the life of a Christian in his example about the lily?
  • Which was more important to Pastor Wurmbrand, getting out of prison or pleasing God?
  • What did Pastor Wurmbrand mean when he asked, “Which commandment could I keep better in freedom than in a prison cell?”

Note: After Pastor Wurmbrand got out of prison, he started the ministry that became The Voice of the Martyrs.


Richard Wurmbrand Born 100 Years Ago

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was born on March 24, 1909. He served 14 years in prison for sharing the gospel in communist Romania. After he was freed, he and his wife, Sabina, started The Voice of the Martyrs to help persecuted Christians.  Pastor Wurmbrand died in 2001.

Pastor Wurmbrand told many stories to illustrate Bible truths. One of the stories he told is below.

“A child was urged to eat carrots and peas because they contained vitamins. He said, ‘Why didn’t God put the vitamins in candy and ice cream?’ My answer would have been, ‘Because it’s important for children not only to have vitamins, but also to learn to swallow what may be unpleasant to the taste.’ We all need to learn from the good and the unpleasant. A Christian must welcome unpleasant things sometimes, because they are part of the ‘all things’ that God is working together for our good.”

To Think About: Read Romans 8:28. What kinds of “unpleasant things” do persecuted Christians face?


Talking Too Much

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was imprisoned for a total of 14 years in Romania. After he was released, he and his wife, Sabina, started The Voice of the Martyrs.

Pastor Wurmbrand wrote many books. In the books, he told readers what he learned from God during his time as a Christian in a non-Christian country.

Read below what he said about talking too much.

Pastor Wurmbrand said:

In the underground church, we had to learn to be silent. [The underground church refers to Christians who meet secretly in places where their worship services are illegal.] You have to learn to be silent from the moment you become a Christian. A Christian thinks before he speaks about whether his words can cause harm.

Useless talking in some countries means prison for another Christian. Every unnecessary word you speak can put someone in prison. A visitor [at a church service] could be a spy for the secret police.

A friend of mine, who wrote great Christian songs sung by the underground church, went to prison because Christians had a habit of saying, “How beautiful is this song composed by Brother [the composer’s name].” They praised him, the authorities found out about his work, and for this the composer got 15 years of prison.

(Source: Preparing for the Underground Church, by Richard Wurmbrand. Edited for length, clarity, and reading level.)

To Talk About
*Why did Richard’s friend go to prison?
*Can you think ways that unnecessary talking can cause problems for someone?
*What are some examples of “useless talking?”