Monday, January 4, 2010

Embracing the chains for Christ

"One of our workers in the underground Church was a young girl. The Communist police discovered that she secretly spread Gospels and taught children about Christ. They decided to arrest her. But to make the arrest as agonizing and painful as they could, they decided to delay her arrest a few weeks, until the day she was to be married. On her wedding day, the girl was dressed as a bride - the most wonderful, joyous day in a girl's life! Suddenly, the door burst open and the secret police rushed in.

When the bride saw the secret police, she held out her arms toward them to be handcuffed. They roughly put the manacles on her wrists. She looked toward her beloved, then kissed the chains and said, "I thank my heavenly Bridegroom for this jewel he has presented to me on my marriage day. I thank Him that I am worthy to suffer for Him." She was dragged off, with weeping Christians and a weeping bridegroom left behind. They knew what happens to young Christian girls in the hands of Communist guards. Her bridegroom faithfully wait for her. After five years she was released - a destroyed, broken woman, looking thirty years older. She said it was the least she could do for her Christ. Such beautiful Christians are in the Underground Church."

Passage from Tortured for Christ, by Richard Wurmbrand

When I read this on the plane, I started to weep. The little boy beside me looked up at me wondering why I was so emotional with what I was reading. I wish... I wish I had words to say at that moment. To share this gospel that we have...this Christ. But I was at a loss. I was grieved at the injustice and the atrocities for sure; the book is not shy about mentioning some of the horrors that happened under the Communist regime. But I think what struck me the most was the hope that was stolen from her that day (from my privileged Western perspective, the hope of marriage, love and purity) and the juxtaposition against the fact that her hope was, in fact, not stolen from her. She kissed her chains. She thanked her heavenly Father. She chose the cross, as her Saviour once did. And she received her cross with joy. Such bravery, such faith. It is a beautiful thing... and yet... how my heart grieved so.

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