Sabina Wurmbrand | Fidelidad radical, perdón hermoso

“I'm Sergeant Harsh. Severo is my last name (“harsh” in English, equivalent to severe) and I am severe by nature. Do not forget".

The Soviet guard showed up and shouted orders while other uniformed guards pushed the prisoners. The room was dark and crowded. Terror clung to the prisoners like mold threatening to take over the damp concrete walls.

This was Jilava, the first of five communist prison camps where Sabina Wurmbrand was imprisoned from 1950 to 1953.

The young Sabina was born in 1913 in an Orthodox Jewish home in Romania, where the mere mention of the name of Christ was prohibited. Upon reaching adulthood, Sabina “outgrew” her strict Jewish upbringing, considering herself a religionless Jew, deciding to live an immoral and wild life during her teens and early twenties.

While visiting an uncle in Bucharest, Sabina met the tall, handsome Richard Wurmbrand and quickly fell in love with this young Jewish man. On impulse she moved to Bucharest just to be close to Richard; and they happily married on October 23, 1936. When her fiancé warned her that life with him would not be easy, she did not believe him, but very soon she discovered that her prophetic words came true.

Shortly after their wedding, Richard fell ill with tuberculosis, which in those days was practically a death sentence. It was during this serious illness that Richard began reading a New Testament given to him and he saw Christianity in a new light. It was not that cult that hated the Jews as he had been led to believe.

As Richard's physical health strengthened, so did his understanding of the gospel. But while God softened Richard's heart, Sabina became resentful and anxious because of the change she saw in her husband. On the day of Richard's baptism, she, in desperation, determined to commit suicide.

But God had other plans for Sabina. As she ministered to her husband the meaning of cleansing from her sins, God began a cleansing work in Sabina's own heart. She stopped finding pleasure in the wild parties and immoral lifestyle that she once so enjoyed. She saw herself as she really was – a sinner in need of grace – and she experienced firsthand the mercy and forgiveness of a loving Savior.

For the rest of her earthly pilgrimage, Sabina would remember and hold on to this display of forgiveness she had experienced.

Life as a prisoner

In 1945, the Romanian communists took power, and one million Russian troops were “welcomed” to the country. Richard Wurmbrand had earned a good reputation on the one hand due to his ministering to his oppressed countrymen during World War II – both Jews and Gentiles – and on the other, due to his courageous preaching of the Gospel as an ordained minister of the Church. Lutheran. For this reason, the communists watched him very closely; In 1948 he was arrested by the Secret Police, leaving Sabina alone to care for Mihai, his ten-year-old son.

For Sabina, Richard's sudden disappearance marked the beginning of fourteen years of searching, prayer, expectation and hope.

Just two years after her arrest, Sabina also found herself in prison for her faith, thrown into horrendous living conditions with harsh labor jobs. The prisoner camps were filled beyond capacity with thousands of women from all backgrounds – nuns and prostitutes, gypsies and political activists, nobles and thieves – all sharing bunk beds and latrines.

And there was also Sabina, the pastor's wife – the only faint glimmer of hope within those dark walls of the cold, damp cells. Although her body was captive, her soul was still free; It was evident to both the prisoners and the guards that Sabina had something that they did not. Her inexplicable peace and ability to extend love and forgiveness to her captors and cellmates perplexed them.

Sabina used every opportunity to tell others about Christ, even at the risk of being punished or tortured. She truly was brave and she was full of hope despite what she had suffered. However, her resilient faith did not exempt her from occasional outbursts of doubt and discouragement.

Although she found out that a close friend was taking care of Mihai, her Richard was not having a good time. Eight and a half years passed before he was released in a general amnesty – three years after Sabina was free – but he was arrested a second time three years later, enduring another six years of brutal treatment in underground prison cells or in solitary confinement.

On more than one occasion, Sabina was tempted to abandon her hope of ever seeing Richard again, or to divorce him or consider him dead and move on with her life, as many other prisoners' wives had done. But God kept her and protected Sabina's heart, and her marriage.

How grateful she felt that she had not given in when, after seven long years without knowing Richard's whereabouts, she received a postcard with his handwriting, which began with this phrase: “Time and distance extinguish a weak love, but strengthen the true one.” ”.

After her husband was released for the second and final time, having endured fourteen years of extreme torture at the hands of the brutal secret police, Sabina and her now adult son joined Richard in his work with the Clandestine Church.

These were indeed strong times, as the church met secretly in different locations. “We lived dangerously. And we never felt bored,” is what Sabina writes in her autobiography, La Esposa del Pastor (The Pastor's Wife). Every detail was well planned in advance: the place, the time, the location, the password – everything. Even with these precautions, they were frequently surprised by the secret police or betrayed by internal informants in their own organization. Those who attended the meetings knew that they might never return home. For that reason, ministers preached as if it were their last sermon… because it might as well be.

As friends and neighbors were dispersed by the police, Sabina discovered that she was harboring a root of bitterness against these informants in her heart. She had a hard time understanding why members of her organization would turn in her own brothers in the faith.

After spending a sleepless night thinking about this, his eyes fell on a portrait depicting Christ on the cross. She remembered one of Christ's last words before he died: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And then, “I'm thirsty.” Then he realized the anger in his heart, and that day something changed inside of him. “How thirsty for forgiveness were the traitors! Which he did not grant them. Which I withheld because of my bitterness.” He determined to show them love, without expecting anything in return.

A voice for the underground church

In December 1965, two Jewish-Christian missions paid the $10,000 ransom to the communist government to allow the Wurmbrand family to escape Romania. Their journey west eventually took them to the United States, far from the tyrannical regime and oppression of communism.

But they did not forget the suffering of their people. It was this concern for persecuted Christians that moved the Wurmbrands to start a ministry now known as The Voice of the Martyrs , dedicated to raising awareness and care for the underground church.

During her time in prison, when she lost sleep at night, Sabina prayed for her fellow prisoners, for thousands of other people who suffered in the communist world, and even for Christians in the West who slept peacefully in their own warm beds. and comfortable. Instead, she hoped they would remember to pray for sisters who were suffering just like her.

Her story should be an example for all of us. It should make us stop and remember the persecuted believers in the world, who at this very moment are sharing in the sufferings of Christ.

“In prison,” Richard shared, “I saw men with fifty-pound chains on their feet, praying for America. But in America you rarely hear a prayer in church for those chained in communist prisons.”

What can we say about ourselves today? Are we blind to what is happening to our brothers and sisters around the world?

Like other believers throughout history, Sabina's life was marked with great suffering. She walked through valleys of deep pain and navigated the raging waters of fear and sadness. But she is remembered and honored for her faithfulness to Jesus and the forgiveness she showed others. For even during the years of incomparable adversity, her heart continually reflected the love and compassion of her Savior.

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Leanna Shepard

Leanna Shepard

Leanna comenzó a servir como parte del staff de Revive Our Hearts en el verano del 2014. Aunque es originaria de Akansas y se encuentra residiendo en Michigan, su ciudadanía está en los Cielos, habiendo sido adoptada como hija del … leer más …

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