10 March, 2008

Martyr Monday

Romania: Pastor Richard Wurmbrand

Pastor Wurmbrand worked his way through the other prisoners to where another pastor sat motionless on the floor. He had just been thrown into the cell. He was badly beaten. Wurmbrand did not kn ow if he would survive the night.
With loving compassion Pastor Wurmbrad knelt down beside the beaten pastor and asked, "My brother... can you say the prayer, 'Father forgive them'?"
The man winced with pain, touching his swollen, bruised face. It was difficult to speak. The words came out slowly, "I cannot."
Just as Pastor Wurmbrand began feeling sympathy for the man, the beaten pastor began to speak again. With tears in his eyes he said "My prayer is not 'forgive them.' My prayer is... 'Father, forgive them and forgive me.' If I had been a better pastor, perhaps there would have been more converted torturers."
This weary pastor expressed his concern for the missed opportunities to convert his enemies to Christ. Both pastors realized a young member of Romania's Communist Youth Organization was once arrested and unmercifully beaten by a supposedly Christian police officer. This incident hardened his heart toward Christa for the rest of his life. This missed opportunity for the gospel finally became the director of the former Communist nation of Romania. Nicolai ceausescu was responsible for the torture of countless Christians, including Pastor Wurmbrand and his fellow beaten pastor.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:5

No regret is greater than that from a missed opportunity. Unfortunately, life often brings missed opportunities like the birth of a child, a Christmas morning, or even that last flight out going home. However, nothing compares to the missed opportunity to change another person's eternal destiny. We never know how the seemingly nominal person sitting next to us on the train one day might affect the world for Christ-- if only we said something. Equally true is the possibility that breaking our silence might detour a determined Christian opponent. You many count many missed opportunities for the gospel in your past. However, you can change your future by seizing the opportunities given to you each day to share your faith."

(White, Tom, comp. "Extreme Chains." Extreme Devotion. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2001. 68.)

I don't usually add on to what I copy for Martyr Monday, but this story is kinda "special" to me. You see, I've been to Romania. I've seen firsthand the (aftermath of the) effects of communism in this country. The communist regime fell about 18 years ago, but the people of Romania are still affected so much by it. When I read this devotion, it really struck me. As Christians, we never know who we are influencing, or who our actions will make an impact on. I know that I don't want to be remembered as the guard who claimed to be a Christian but then beat someone so badly that the impact was felt on an entire country! I want to live my life so that people see there's something different about me, and they know that I'm a Christian. I want to impact other people by my actions and build them up, not tear them down. I want to make the most of every opportunity that is given to me.


  1. I've read about Pastor Wurmbrand before. This is a good reminder about missed opportunities.

  2. We all need to be reminded again about why we're here. This is not our home! We are not part of this world! We ARE to stand apart and we need to tell others WHY we are different! I see so many ways how Satan continues to slowly creep in to our Christian lives - we need to stand up for Christ in everything we do and say! You keep up the fight because it's only for a short time here and then we go home!


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