Voice of the Martyrs

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001), was imprisoned for 14 years in Communist Romania because of his faith in Christ. During the time of his captivity, he spent three years in solitary confinement. In the following video, Pastor Wurmbrand talks about how his faith in Christ sustained him during the “glorious” time of his imprisonment.

Richard Wurmbrand founded Voice of the Martyrs in 1967 and was the author of Tortured for Christ.

Via: Justin Taylor

Accepting ‘No’ as Gods Will

I am astonished that, in the light of the clear biblical record, anyone would have the audacity to suggest that it is wrong for the afflicted in body or soul to couch their prayers for deliverance in terms of “If it be thy will….” We are told that when affliction comes, God always wills healing, that He has nothing to do with suffering, and that all we must do is claim the answer we seek by faith. We are exhorted to claim God’s yes before He speaks it.

Away with such distortions of biblical faith! They are conceived in the mind of the Tempter, who would seduce us into exchanging faith for magic. No amount of pious verbiage can transform such falsehood into sound doctrine. We must accept the fact that God sometimes says no. Sometimes He calls us to suffer and die even if we want to claim the contrary.

Never did a man pray more earnestly than Christ prayed in Gethsemane. Who will charge Jesus with failure to pray in faith? He put His request before the Father with sweat like blood: “Take this cup away from me.” This prayer was straightforward and without ambiguity—Jesus was crying out for relief. He asked for the horribly bitter cup to be removed. Every ounce of His humanity shrank from the cup. He begged the Father to relieve Him of His duty.

But God said no. The way of suffering was the Father’s plan. It was the Father’s will. The cross was not Satan’s idea. The passion of Christ was not the result of human contingency. It was not the accidental contrivance of Caiaphas, Herod, or Pilate. The cup was prepared, delivered, and administered by almighty God.

Jesus qualified His prayer: “If it is Your will….” Jesus did not “name it and claim it.” He knew His Father well enough to understand that it might not be His will to remove the cup. So the story does not end with the words, “And the Father repented of the evil He had planned, removed the cup, and Jesus lived happily ever after.” Such words border on blasphemy. The gospel is not a fairy tale. The Father would not negotiate the cup. Jesus was called to drink it to its last dregs. And He accepted it. “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).

This “nevertheless” was the supreme prayer of faith. The prayer of faith is not a demand that we place on God. It is not a presumption of a granted request. The authentic prayer of faith is one that models Jesus’ prayer. It is always uttered in a spirit of subordination. In all our prayers, we must let God be God. No one tells the Father what to do, not even the Son. Prayers are always to be requests made in humility and submission to the Father’s will.

The prayer of faith is a prayer of trust. The very essence of faith is trust. We trust that God knows what is best. The spirit of trust includes a willingness to do what the Father wants us to do. Christ embodied that kind of trust in Gethsemane. Though the text is not explicit, it is clear that Jesus left the garden with the Father’s answer to His plea. There was no cursing or bitterness. His meat and His drink were to do the Father’s will. Once the Father said no, it was settled. Jesus prepared Himself for the cross.

—R.C. Sproul
Surprised by Suffering

Via: Ligonier Ministries Blog

John Piper – Preparing for Sudden Suffering

Recently I wrote that we seldom know the micro reasons for our sufferings, but the Bible does give us faith-sustaining macro reasons. It is good to have a way to remember some of these so that when we are suddenly afflicted, or have a chance to help others in their affliction, we can recall some of the truths God has given us to help us not lose hope.

Here is one way to remember. Five R’s (or if it helps, just pick three and try to remember them). The macro purposes of God in our sufferings include:

Repentance

Suffering is a call for us and others to turn from treasuring anything on earth above God.

Luke 13:4-5 – Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Reliance

Suffering is a call to trust God not the life-sustaining props of the world.

2 Corinthians 1:8-9 – For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

Righteousness

Suffering is the discipline of our loving heavenly Father so that we come to share his holiness.

Hebrews 12:6, 10-11 – The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives…. He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Reward

Suffering is working for us a great reward in heaven that will make up for every loss here a thousand-fold.

2 Corinthians 4:17 – This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.

Matthew 5:11-12 – Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.

Reminder

Suffering reminds us that God sent his Son into the world to suffer so that our suffering would not be God’s condemnation but his purification.

Philippians 3:10 – …that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings.

Mark 10:45 – The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Via: Desiring God Blog