I had trouble sleeping last night. The rooster knocked the hen house door shut in the evening and I didn't get out in time to open it, so they roosted somewhere else, outside. I looked and looked for them with a flashlight, but couldn't find them. The night before I had brought home two new silkies (chickens) and in an effort to slowly integrate them I kept them in a wire dog pen overnight. I got home with them at about nine pm and woke to find the pen drug to the tree line, and both little chickens gone, only feathers, and no sign of forceful entry anywhere. So I was rightfully worried about my chickens and called a friend who brought some live traps down last night. I had trouble sleeping for thinking of them, and for the fact that I kept dreaming that the sugar ants who have invaded my kitchen, and I haven't been able to get rid of, were crawling all over me. I finally woke up this morning because my face was in a wet spot. At first I thought I must have been sleeping with my mouth open and drooled, but my sleepy brain told me that couldn't be right because it was a very large spot and suddenly I was wide awake, because I realized that I had finally found the wet spot that correlated to the wet panties from last night. Yep. Sleep'n in pee-pee. That's me. Mother of twins.
Through a series of circumstances I ended up reading part of a book yesterday that has been on my shelf so long that I don't have any idea when I got it or how long I have owned it. It's called Tortured for Christ: faithful Christians heroically enduring agony, suffering and death in communist prisons by Richard Wurmbrand. This book says that Wurmbrand “spent three years in solitary confinement- seeing no one but his communist tortures. After three years he was transferred to a mass cell for five years, where the torture continued...After eight years he was released and promptly resumed his work with the Underground Church. Two years later, in 1959, he was re-arrested and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. Mr. Wurmbrand was released in a general amnesty in 1964 and again continued his underground ministry.”
The following is what I read this morning: “I remember Piotr (Peter). No one knows in what Russian prison he died. He was so young! Perhaps twenty. He had come to Rumania with the Russian army. He was converted in an underground meeting and asked me to baptize him.
After the baptism, I asked him to tell us what verse of the Bible had impressed him most and had influenced him to come to Christ.
He said that he had listened attentively when at one of our secret meeting, I had read Luke 24, the story of Jesus meeting two disciples who went toward Emmaus. When they drew nigh until the village, “He made as though He would have gone further.” Piotr said: “I wonder why Jesus said this. He surely wanted to stay with His disciples. Why then did He say that He wished to go further?” My explanation was that Jesus was polite. He wished to be very sure that He was desired. When He saw that He was welcomed, He gladly entered the house with them. The communists are impolite. They enter by violence into our hearts and minds. They oblige us from morning to late in the night to listen to them. They do it through their schools, radio, newspapers, posters, movie pictures, atheistic meetings and everywhere you turn. You have to listen continuously to their godless propaganda, whether you like it or dislike it. Jesus respects our freedom. He gently knocks at the door. “Jesus had won me by his politeness,” said Piotr. This stark contrast between communism and Christ had convinced him. He was not the only Russian to have been impressed by this feature in Jesus' character. (I, as a pastor, had never thought about it this way.)
After his conversion, Piotr risked his liberty and life again and again to smuggle Christian literature and help for the Underground Church from Rumania to Russia. In the end he was caught. I know that in 1959 he was still in prison. Has he died? Is he already in heaven or is he continuing the good fight on earth? I don't know. Only God knows where he is today.
Like them, many others were not only converted. We should never stop at having won a soul for Christ. By this, you have done only half the work. Every soul won for Christ must be made to be a soul-winner. The Russians were not only converted, but became “missionaries” in the Underground Church. They were reckless and daring for Christ, always saying it was so little they could do for Christ who died for them....
I myself was later in prison together with souls whom God had helped me win for Christ. I was in the same cell with one who had left behind six children and who had was now in prison for his Christian faith. His wife and children were starving. He might never see them again. I asked him, “Have you any resentment again me that I brought you to Christ and because of this you family is in such misery?” He said, “I have no words to express my thankfulness that you have brought me to the wonderful Savior. I would never have it another way.”
Well I have to go, because the rooster is crowing, and I have a possum in a live trap in my yard, right in front of my chicken coop. And I have to make that big batch of sourdough pancakes for breakfast, and get the girls the ready for church, and take a shower, and I sure do hope some hens lived through the night, and not just two roosters and...
And some things in life that feel very important or insurmountable don't matter at all. Isn't a little perspective in our lives a breath of fresh air? Please God help me! Help me be willing to die to myself more each day and be more like you.