Monday, November 14, 2011

WHEN TAKING THE STAGE IS GIVING YOUR LIFE.

The other day I was walking outside on a break from work.  I had been complaining to my Father that so few seemed to care about Christ at all, or even to know that He exists, and that extends to those of us who claim to know Him.  So few, and who are they?  So few, that sometimes I shake inside with fear that there is actually no faith on earth, as our Lord Jesus questioned there would be when He returns.


So much religion, and so much posturing, and so little actual faith.


I was walking, discouraged, and was passing a bush in the landscaping, when I spotted a piece of paper out of the corner of my eye.  It was mostly hidden, laying flat under the trunk of the bush.  I reached in, maybe out of some compulsion to gather litter, and picked it up, ready to drop it in the trash on my way back into the office.  


Stunned, I stared at the paper, and memories flooded back from the past.  Thirty five years earlier, I had met a man and his wife, and his family, and helped this man briefly to set up a speaking tour in my area of the country.  I had been privileged to not only hear this man speak, and to wonder at his faith, but to have my world opened up to the suffering of men and women and children who dared to follow Christ in harrowing, life-threatening circumstances.  


I stared at the paper, which was one page, old and dried out, torn from a book.  It was a story, one I'd forgotten completely, of how this man I knew briefly in my life had been alone, facing his own Gethsemane and Golgotha, and had proven himself "one of the few".


It was the story of what happened in Romania when the communists, set up by Hitler's fall, slipped into the power vacuum in eastern Europe cleverly led by Stalin.  In Richard's country, they disguised themselves as friendly comrades of religion, and called a religious conference, inviting all pastors and leaders of all faiths and denominations.  Romania was largely Christian at that time, with Catholics and Protestants solidly entrenched throughout the country.  Most of the people in this country would have called themselves Christians.


The 4,000 delegates to this convention were standing and speaking of solidarity with the new communist government, and how they were thankful that this new regime would partner with them in building a great society, full of equality and how they would support it.  Richard stayed silent, listening in disbelief as man after man who claimed Christ stood and praised the communists, and vowed to create a new, more perfect society with them.  


His wife, Sabina, who had recently brought their first son into the household, leaned over to Richard and said, "Richard, stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ."


Richard knew what would happen.  "If I speak, you will lose your husband."


Sabina replied, "I do not wish to have a coward for a husband."


Pastor Richard Wurmbrand took the stage in the grand hall.  A great silence fell, because this young pastor was well-known already, and considered the "Billy Graham of Romania" in his day, leading youth rallies that were bringing many to a new, vital faith in Christ out of the dead traditionalism that was all around.


He began to preach, and said, "Delegates, it is our duty not to praise earthly powers that come and go, but to glorify God the creator and Christ the Savior, who died for us on the cross."


Pandemonium broke out.  Communist officials jumped up and denounced him, and pulled the plug on the sound system.  Richard continued to preach the Truth from the stage.  Gradually, the audience began to applaud, and then to rise up and chant in defense of this lone pastor, "The Pastor! The Pastor! The Pastor!" they cried, finding courage in the act of one man. 


The congress went on chanting long after the microphone wires were cut and the event was ended for the day.


Not long after, Richard Wurmbrand was walking to church when a group of secret police kidnapped him.  He was not seen for many years.  In fact, his wife and son and all who knew him believed he had been killed.  


In truth, Richard was led to a dank, empty, cold, wet prison cell 3 stories below the ground in an ancient Romanian prison.  He was kept there, not seeing another human being except his torturers and his guards, for the next 8 years.  He endured complete silence except when his interrogators took him to try to beat or cajole a confession out of him.  He was alone, only Christ with Him in his cell.  He didn't see sun, moon, stars or flowers.  He didn't see anyone he knew.  When he finally did come up to a regular prison cell, with other men, he could not even write his name or remember anything but the name of Christ.  He had forgotten the many sermons he'd composed.  He'd forgotten almost everything.  Toward the end, he could not do anything to keep himself alive, but trudge around his cell, repeating the name of Jesus over and over.  Christ was all, and Christ never left him.


Wurmbrand was in prison many more years, until God moved on some who would ransom Richard from the communists, who loved money above all, and he would become a voice in the wilderness in America and the Western countries telling the true story of what happens when we lose faith.  When we become compromised with the world.  Telling the true story of what it means to be one of the few with Christ.  He would reveal the plight of thousands of true saints throughout the modern world, working to help them, as nobody had been able to help him.


I knew Richard as a thin, tall, very dignified elderly man (he was only around 65 years old, but to me appeared as 90), who walked around in his stocking feet because they couldn't abide shoes after being broken in beatings so many times.  He was kind, and soft-spoken, and always seemed pre-occupied with something intensely important.  


The young man (me) who set up his speaking tour in the Northwest must have seemed immature to the point of embarrassment.  I looked at him and at Sabina, and talked with them, and felt like I was on another planet.  I was concerned about everything around me, and worried about how the schedule was going, and worried about the microphones, the platform, the seating, the attendance, and all else.  I  know now that Richard and Sabina had been through so much (Sabina had spent years in prison herself, losing not only her husband, but not knowing anything about her son), that they considered their present circumstances heaven in comparison.  They had achieved the state of faith where they trusted Christ to build His own Kingdom.


I know now that God had me with them to teach me about Christ's few.  They were to be examples to me, though ignored for many years, of how to stand for Christ, and how to endure hardship like good soldiers for Jesus.  They were living symbols for me, and now, here I stood, so many years later, having wasted enormous amounts of time and energy being that man consumed by fears and doubts, that man consumed by lusts and worldly desires, holding in my hand pages 63 and 64 of "Jesus Freaks", a publication from somewhere, from which this single page had been torn and tossed to end up under a bush for me to find.


Coincidence?  You tell me.


The God of the Universe never gives up on His chosen.  It is up to us to respond and be ready when our congress is called, and the thousands stand to praise the enemy and join the parade.
Exactly where my own earthly country is headed right now.  


Will we risk all to stand and speak?  Or will we be so weakened and compromised, so hardened to sin, so dependent on the world, that we actually become Satan's tools in his quest to rid the earth of all who name the name of Christ?


What if our spouses, instead of encouraging us as Sabina did, to stand and wipe the shame off the face of Christ, implore us to sit down and shut up for the sake of all we hold dear, all we've worked for?  


You few.  You chosen.  Christ's simple band of fishermen, tax collectors and other sinners.  Wake up and listen today.  Can you not hear the voice of our Lord, saying, "For whoever wants to save his own life will lose it, but whoever loses his own life for Me and for the gospel will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?..if any man is ashamed of Me and My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His Father's glory with His holy angels."  Mark 8:35-38


All courage in Christ today, brethren.  


A. Brother

2 comments:

  1. I needed this so much. The Lord bless you and keep you safe during the trials ahead.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The same blessing back to you.
    In Christ,
    A. Brother

    ReplyDelete

Please give me your honest response.

LATEST NEWS

A. BROTHER'S FIRST BOOK RELEASED. "EVEN THE DEVILS HAVE RELIGION". 100 Collected Prophetic Words from A. Brother.

For the first time, A. Brother's messages are being compiled in a series of books.  These will be released periodically over the coming ...