This is a Romanian poem, translated to English by the author, a preacher who was imprisoned during the communist rule in Romania. He describes the time of authorship as a time when he felt Satan’s presence in his cell. After being kidnapped, kept away from his wife and son who had no idea where he was, tortured to recant his faith, with no end in sight, he wrestled with doubt and accusations against Christ. He felt abandoned by God and taunted by Satan. He wrote this poem (it doesn’t look like a poem in
translation, but it is) and found peace. It’s worth reading. Trust me.
From childhood I frequented temples and churches. In them God was glorified. Different priests sang and censed with zeal. They claimed it right to love You. But as I grew, I saw such deep sorrow in the world of this God that I said to myself, “He has a heart of stone. Otherwise He would ease the difficulties of the way for us.” Sick children struggle with fever in hospitals; sad parents pray for them. Heaven is deaf. The ones we love go to the valley of death, even when our prayers are long. Innocent men are burned alive in furnaces. And Heaven is silent. It lets things be. Can God wonder, if, in undertones, even the believers begin to doubt? Hungry, tortured, persecuted in their own land, they have no answers to these questions. The Almighty is disgraced by the horrors that befall us.
How can I love the creator of microbes and of tigers that tear men? How can I love Him who tortures all His servants because one ate from a tree? Sadder than Job, I have neither wife, child nor comforters, and in this prison there is neither sun nor air and the regime is hard to endure.
From my bed of planks they will make my coffin. Stretched upon it, I try to find why my thoughts run to You, why my writings all turn toward You? Why is this passionate love in my soul, why does my song go only to You? I know I am rejected; soon I will putrefy in a tomb.
The bride of the Song of Songs did not love when she asked if You are “rightly loved.” Love is its own justification. Love is not for the wise. Through a thousand ordeals she will not cease to love. Though fire burns and the waves drown her, she will kiss the hand that hurts. If she finds no answer to her questions she is confident and waits. One day the sun will shine in hidden places and all will be made plain.
Forgiveness of many sins only increased the prostitute’s burning love. But she gave perfume and shed tears before You said Your forgiving word. And had You not said it, still she would have sat and wept for the love she has toward You, even being in sin. She loved You before Your blood was shed. She loved You before You forgave. Neither do I ask if it is right to give You love. I do not love in hope of salvation. I would love You in everlasting misfortune. I would love You even in consuming fire. If You had refused to descend to men, You would have been my distant dream. If You had refused to sow Your Word, I would love You without hearing it. If You had hesitated and fled from the Crucifixion, and I were not saved, still I would love You.
Now I will dare to say mad words, so that all may know how much I love. Now I will touch untouched strings and magnify You with a new music. If the prophets had predicted another, I would leave them, not You. Let them produce a thousand proofs, I will keep my love for You. If I divined that You were a deceiver, I would pray for You weeping and, though I could not follow You in falsehood, it would not lessen my love. For Saul, Samuel passed a life in weeping and severe fasting. So my love would resist even if I knew You lost. If You, not Satan, had risen wrongly in revolt against Heaven and lost the loveliness of wings and fallen like an archangel from high, hopeless, I would hope that the Father would forgive You and that one day You would walk with Him again in the gold streets of Heaven.
If You were a myth, I would leave reality and live with You in a dream. If they proved You did not exist, You would receive life from my love. My love is mad, without motive, as Your love is, too. Lord Jesus, find some happiness here. For more I cannot give You.
-Richard Wurmbrand as written in In God’s Underground
We write similar words for people we will divorce in 4 years because they did not love us back. This is love: constant, unconditional, unwavering, committed, irrational. This is how we are loved by God. Is this how we love Him?