This week, Voice of the Martyrs Korea releases their translation of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand's daily devotional, Reaching Toward the Heights. VOM Korea representative Hyun Sook Foley says she hopes that the devotional, written by the organization’s worldwide founder and author of the best-selling Tortured for Christ, can help the Korean church overcome the “distraction” of living in a wealthy, liberal society.
“Pastor Wurmbrand was a Jewish convert to Christianity who lived through both the Nazi and Communist occupations of Romania,” Representative Foley said.
“He faced persecution at the hands of both the Nazis and the Communists. Under the Communists, Pastor Wurmbrand was imprisoned for fourteen years because he refused to deny Christ.”
Rev. Richard Wurmbrand
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was a Jewish Romanian Christian who was persecuted by the Nazis, the Communists, and his own Jewish people. He was imprisoned for 14 years because he refused to give up his faith. After he was rescued from Romania, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand helped found Voice of the Martyrs. He also wrote several books about the persecuted church.
According to Representative Foley, Pastor Wurmbrand considered his prison years to be both the most difficult and most spiritually productive time of his life. She explains that the devotional is designed to help Christian readers benefit from the intense focus on Christ Wurmbrand experienced as a result of his time in solitary confinement.
“During his time in prison, Pastor Wurmbrand realized that the things we focus on outside of prison–ourselves, our needs, and our status in the eyes of others—are actually spiritually quiet deadly to focus on,”
representative Foley says.
“The healthiest focus for the Christian, Pastor Wurmbrand realized, is on Christ and his deep presence in the difficulties of our daily lives. Instead of difficulties making us miserable, Pastor Wurmbrand shows us how they are the gateway to real Christian contentment.”
Representative Foley notes that Pastor Wurmbrand learned more about Christ from talking with murderers, thieves, and pimps than he did during his time in seminary.
“Pastor Wurmbrand saw Christ’s love not only for prisoners who were suffering for their faith, but also for criminals who were truly guilty of the worst crimes.”
She points to an excerpt from the book in which Pastor Wurmbrand says:
Korean translation of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand's daily devotional 『 Reaching Toward the Heights 』
“Criminals have not killed only the men now dead. They have killed also the pity toward themselves in fellow men. They are despised by everyone, except by Jesus, the friend of sinners. He chose to share the fate of criminals, being crucified like them. He preordained that when Pilate offered the release of a prisoner, the mob should choose freedom for a murderer, Barabbas. Jesus was glad to die in his place.”
He does not despise thieves. He compares Himself with them. ‘The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night’ (2 Peter 3:10).
“Criminals receive salvation from Jesus. They find also understanding and compassion among His true followers.”
Foley explains that the organization decided to translate Reaching Towards the Heights into Korean when they found that the daily devotions being sold in Christian bookstores were all focused on the things that Rev. Wurmbrand urged Christians not to focus on.
“We see the real need for the Korean church to experience a new kind of daily devotional –one that teaches them how to ‘Reach for new spiritual heights’ by finding Christ in the depths of their daily failures, sins, setbacks, and sufferings.”
Individuals interested in purchasing the Reaching for the Heights daily devotional can call VOMK at 02-2065-0703 or go to www.vomkorea.com/shop.