In the middle of the 1940s, Communism was sweeping across much of the world of Eastern Europe and causing great harm to the Christian Church in much the same way as ISIS today. One of the communists’ many victims was the late Christian pastor, Richard Wurmbrand, who spent nearly fourteen years in communist prisons because of His Christian work. Pastor Wurmbrand experienced horrific tortures and severe beatings that would have taken his life had not God miraculously spared him. Countless hours of brainwashing, beatings, and other physical and psychological tortures were inflicted upon him and many other Christians. After almost fourteen years of imprisonment, Pastor Wurmbrand was finally discovered and ransomed by Christians in the West. In coming to the West, Pastor Wurmbrand wanted to start a ministry that would reach out to Communists with the love of Christ and would also bring the Western Church into fellowship their persecuted brothers and sisters. This ministry came to be called “The Voice of the Martyrs”. Pastor Wurmbrand was passionate about his hatred for communism but his deep love for the communists, and he used to say, “A flower, if you bruise it under your feet, rewards you by giving you its’ perfume.” Somehow, the breaking of this great man’s body released a river of God’s love for his enemies.
John tells us, in His Gospel, about a time when Jesus was relaxing in the house of his friends when a woman came in with a jar of very expensive oil (John 12:1-8). This oil was stored in a container that could not be opened unless it was first broken. The oil functioned as a type of Insurance or emergency fund and was worth at least a year’s wages (John 12:5). The woman deliberately broke the jar of oil and began pouring it over Jesus’ feet. Some of Jesus’ disciples objected to this apparent “waste” of good oil but Jesus rebuked them and said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial.” (John 12:7 NASB). Jesus went on to explain that, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24 NASB). We may begin to panic as we look in horror at what ISIS is doing around the world, but we should remember that sometimes God allows things to be broken so that their value can be accessible to the world. The revealing of the dark heart of Islam through ISIS is bringing brokenness to places like Iraq, but that brokenness has opened the hearts of the people of Iraq to the Gospel. One Christian worker, in Iraq, recently said, “It used to be when we were doing evangelism among the Muslim people…they were defending their beliefs. Right now they are ashamed of it. We are not really mentioning Islam, but we are talking about Christianity… and they accept it.” (The Voice of the Martyrs July 2015 issue pp. 3) God is not afraid of brokenness. It even pleased God to break Jesus so that His healing love could be poured out on the world. For God loves the world this much.