Living in Hell and Happy?

Jail by Miss_Millions (Creative Commons)

 

Nothing changed my worldview like reading Tortured For Christ by Richard Wurmbrand.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an easy or comfortable read, but when it finished, I knew more about the real struggles faced by real people who love Jesus around the world. You can get this book for free by visiting The Voice of the Martyrs, an organization he started.

Richard shared his story of being Jewish and coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus while he lived in Romania just before it became part of the Soviet Union.  As a result of his genuine conviction for sharing Christ with other people in a place where it became illegal to do such a thing, Richard found himself in prison more than one time.  He was abused and beaten solely because of his faith in Christ. His family shared his tortures too.

While he doesn’t go into much detail, the reality of the pain burns through the pages.  He lived in hell, yet, the book conveys hope and joy. How is that possible?

I could tell you how God calmed my stressed heart when my parents told me they planned to get divorced.  I could share how He comforted me and strengthened me when my dad died in a car accident one week prior to starting divorce proceedings. I could bare my soul and tell you of the countless people who threw insults my way because I didn’t act like “normal” kids.

But I live in an affluent place with many comforts.  It’s easy to assume I couldn’t know real pain.  Richard Wurmband knew real pain.

He shares about how he prayed for the people who beat him, he knew they needed Jesus. He let’s us see the joy he had with even one small visit from his wife or child.  But he also tells of glimpses of joy he felt within the prison when no one came.

How can such things happen?

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll never forget a lady who got interviewed on the steps of her burned out home when the Malibu fires roared through her neighborhood.  It was a Sunday.  She left to go to church and returned to a shell of a home.  A news interviewer talked with her, Bible in hand, about how it made her feel.

I will always remember, she said, “It is possible to feel peace at times like this.”

Much of our Bible was written from inside a prison.  The Apostle Paul wrote to various churches to counsel, guide and offer encouragement. He did it as a prisoner.  He wrote the books of Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossionans, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.

He said,

I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds. (2 Corinthians 7:4)

Do you have pain or struggles you face today?  I want to pray for you that you may know God’s joy in  your life.  You can leave a comment below or contact me directly.

What situation in life presents a barrier to your joy?

 

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About Paula Whidden

Wife, mom, author, speaker, former full-time youth and children's pastor turned stay-at-home-mom. Paula created www.FaithfulChoices.com to help people see and understand how our choices affect our destination in life, in marriage, in parenting and in social media. Paula wrote "25 Days 'Til Christ: An Advent Devotional for the Family" now available on Amazon.com. She is currently working on her second book to strengthen marriages.