Yahweh Malat

Dec 15, 2023 | READ

We are hard pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4: 8-9)

Yahweh Malat: the word means escape, or deliverance or rescue. Have a look at this word in Hebrew!

In our new Yahweh Mephalti series, in the track Delivered by unseen Angels*, we pay tribute to Richard Wurmbrand, who spent more than a decade imprisoned for his faith in Romania during the 1950s, three years of it thirty feet underground, bound with heavy chains and manacles.

It was a silent world, where even the guards wore felt slippers so that he would not hear them approach. He was drugged, brainwashed and frequently beaten very severely. The torture was so bad and the depression so great, that he came close to losing his faith altogether. Yet even in this dark and evil place, he experienced occasional moments of joy and victory, in which he gave thanks for even the smallest blessings. For instance, he wrote in one occasion: ‘There is a God in Heaven and in the heart. I had a piece of bread this morning. It was so good! Look now, the sun is shining! And so many here love me! Every day you do not rejoice is a day lost, my son!” (In God’s Underground)

Within the dark and sombre silence, the Lord opened Richard’s mouth and gave him words to speak that would bless people far away as he made known the ‘mystery of the gospel.’ How unlimited He is!

For Richard Wurmbrand learned during those years of solitary confinement to do two things above all to keep himself sane. Firstly, he used the night hours to pray for every country in the world, rarely sleeping during the night at all, preferring instead to serve as a watchman for the Lord.

Secondly, despite having neither pen, paper nor Bible, he composed well over 300 sermons, preaching them aloud in his cell and, brilliantly managing to commit them to memory. n his book From Torture to Triumph (pp. 40-41), Richard describes how God took the words he spoke out loud, and somehow enabled them to be miraculously overheard by a backslidden believer in Canada, who was also in solitary confinement, and who had been praying to receive the reassurance and encouragement of knowing that others knew what this was like.

As he sat quietly in his cell, the Lord enabled him to hear words that brought him to repentance and which restored him to his faith. Years later he came across the collection of sermons that Richard had preached to his empty cell, and recognised the words that he had heard.

On another occasion a Frenchman received a vision of a man with a clerical collar, who instructed him on how to come to faith. Responding to this vision, he gave himself to Christ and became a pastor who led many to the Lord. Years later he saw Richard’s face on the cover of that same book, Sermons in Solitary Confinement, and recognised him as the man he had seen in the vision.

While Richard was suffering such desperate tortures and depression as to leave him at times close to losing his faith altogether, God was at work using his words to bring others to faith – even as Watchman Nee’s books spread all over his own country and far beyond while he was obliged to endure twenty-five years in a communist cell being subjected to ceaseless Maoist propaganda.

Deliver us from mental and spiritual anguish

Not many of us reading this will know what it is to be in chains, but it is very likely that we have known heartbreak, and most of us will know what it is to feel ourselves imprisoned within. After his release, Richard Wurmbrand was asked by a western Christian if he did not despise us for having suffered so little. His reply was both gracious and telling: ‘Oh but you have suffered here: in your minds through condemnation!’

How true that is. And how we need material that reaches to the deepest corners of our hearts when they are really hurting. By ‘deep,’ I am not meaning complex or thoroughgoing studies in doctrine, theology or dogma, much as I relish those in other contexts at other times. But when we are in pain, it is to people who have experienced great pain themselves to whom we turn, people like Corrie Ten Boom. Despite – and, no doubt, because of – her experience in Ravensbruck, she was able to say with authority that ‘There is no pit so deep that Jesus is not deeper still.’

Pastor Wurmbrand’s writings give language to inexpressible truths in the most profound way. I have particularly enjoyed rereading Sermons in Solitary Confinement. It is the testimony of one who was tested to the utmost but who yet managed to keep clinging to Christ despite the most impossible pressures.**

A reflection for those seeking to escape the pit of despair

#HG: This section needs work and may need to be left out for now. RW: I liked the cuddly toy idea. Anything that helps! what do you think?#+

Give your burdens to the LORD,
and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip or fall.

Call on God,
and He will rescue you.
Morning, noon, and night
cry out in your distress,
and the LORD will hear your voice.
He ransoms you and keeps you safe
from the battle waged against you,
though many still oppose you.
(Ps 55:22,16-18)

Even the role of the imagination can be press-ganged into use here. Concerning a regular long-standing burden that long been grinding one person down, they hit upon the innocent stratagem of passing the burden on to a cuddly toy and pretending that it flew up into the heavenly court to present the request to Jesus on their bedside cabinet. It then made its way triumphantly back on to the bed – leaving the person concerned feeling the difference from having handed the burden over to the Lord. It may sound daft, but it was just a visual way of acting out the encouraging Scriptural exhortation to cast your burden on the Lord because he cares about you.

When burdens feel too heavy to lift to the Lord, another friend takes a pebble and drops it into jar specially reserved for that purpose. The Lord knows what they represent!

We need deliverance twisted consciences that run amok condemning us, entirely forgetting that, if we have truly repented and set our face towards Him, we will one day be presented before the Lord pure and justified.

Jesus still weeps and mourns for every soul who refuses to come to Him. But for us who are seeking Him, but easily feel as if we are expending our efforts to no avail, just as the prophet records that he felt in Is 49:4: ‘My work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose.’ Which of us has not felt like that at times? The prophet resolves these feelings perfectly by saying, ‘Yet I leave it all in the LORD’s hand; I will trust God for my reward.” (Is. 49) May the Lord deliver us too from those pits of despair. I had a picture of an old car whose springs were largely collapsed, causing it to lean at a precarious angle. Whereas in real life that might be a source of either pity or mirth, there is nothing in the least funny about it as it affects our consciences#(this word?#). It is the enemy, the Accuser of the Brethren, who loves to twist and turn the screw. We must not add to our troubles by consenting to the devil’s tools of torture. The Lord wants to set our springs right again.

When we find ourselves In the black hole of condemnation, let’s be staunchly resolved not to give in to it, but to be willing to give the burden of lies and condemnatory words spoken against us over to the Lord, and ask Him to exchange them for the truth of what He thinks and says about us. When God speaks, His voice and word bring truth bursting into light, life and fullness.

Prayer

Father God, we pray for those in the pit of despair. Draw near and deliver those who are captive to physical, emotional, mental and spiritual pain. We pray especially that You would work Your deliverance for persecuted believers, and cause their sufferings to rebound for glory.

* Delivered by unseen Angels

** I have also previously recommended, ‘Little notes that like each other,’ which was the first book that Richard wrote which moved beyond the orbit of the persecution the church in Romania was undergoing. You will find here stories, snippets and gems that touch, refresh and reassure your heart.

Photo by Gary Meulemans on Unsplash

 

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