Suffering in Romania
I have never been the same since sitting at the feet of Richard Wurmbrand. It was literally at his feet. He took off his shoes and sat in a chair on the slightly raised platform at Grace Baptist Church in south Minneapolis. (I learned later it had to do with damage to his feet during the torture he had received in a Romanian prison.) Before him—and below him—sat about a dozen pastors. He spoke of suffering. Again and again he said that Jesus “chose” suffering. He chose it. It did not merely happen to him. He chose it: “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18). He asked us if we would choose suffering for the sake of Christ.
Wurmbrand died in 2001. But his impact continues. His devotional book, Reaching Toward the Heights, introduces him like this:
Richard Wurmbrand is an evangelical Lutheran pastor of Jewish origin who was born in 1909 in Romania. When the Communists seized his native land in 1945, he became the leader in the underground church. In 1948 he and his wife, Sabina, were arrested, and he served fourteen years in Red Prisons, including three years in solitary confinement in a subterranean cell, never seeing the sun, the stars, or flowers. He saw no one except his guards and torturers. Christian friends in Norway purchased his freedom for $10,000 in 1964
John Piper, Desiring God (Sisters, Or.: Multnomah Publishers, 2003), 253-54.