Tortured into Christ


One night last October I was visiting the house church of my friend. I guess you could say I was looking for God. My girlfriend had run off with a richer man, and my heart was full of schemes of revenge, some of which were quite violent.

But at my workplace I was befriended by a man who invited me to a religious meeting.

At the meeting there were about fifty people present. A real mixture. Some looked quite wealthy and well dressed. I could not help noticing there were many attractive young women there also. They were singing and clapping without fear. And then a man who must have been about forty began to speak from the Bible. I remember him talking about prayer and the words "ask, seek, knock."

Then the police burst in.

There were seven officers, and they went to the man who was speaking.

"This is an illegal meeting," they declared. "You are all under arrest."

The police had a swagger about them. Clearly they thought they had complete control over these people's lives. My luck was really out. They picked five of us (including me), plus the pastor, and hauled us down to the station.

My friend tried to intervene on my behalf, saying, "He is not one of us." But they paid no attention. As we were swaying against each other in the van, he leaned over and said, "If you get into real trouble. Call on Jesus and He will help."

At the station we were all placed in separate rooms. "I'm not a Christian;" I said to the two interrogators. They just kept smoking and replied, "Okay, have it your way, but you are a criminal. Besides, we will know soon enough if you really are a Christian or not."

I asked them, "How do you mean'?" He said simply, "When we beat Christians up, they don't curse like the others." Then his face changed, and he barked orders at me. "Stand up, feet together, arms straight out by your sides. Put your knees together and half crouch." I saw what they were up to. They were putting me in the crucifix position. After five minutes, I was shaking with the effort of holding my arms at right angles to my torso, and my thighs were giving way, too, in the crouch position.

One of the interrogators began burning his cigarette into the palms of my hands. I was so shocked I screamed and collapsed on the floor. At once they both pounced on me, kicking me with their shoes. I could hear the crunch of ribs breaking.

The amazing thing was, at that moment, I prayed, "Jesus, if you are God, get me through this." Immediately it was as if my body was a sluice for cool water. And with the coolness came a rush of compassion for my interrogators. To be honest, I said to myself, "What a stupid thing to feel for these horrid men who are beating me." I knew this was the force of Jesus within me, but it did not make sense.

The torture was not over. They strung me up by the thumbs, and that was awful because both of them dislocated.

In the morning they let me go with a warning. "Don't you dare go to a Christian meeting again." But I said to them, "Before I go, I want to thank you."

They echoed, mystified, "Thank us?" I said, "Thank you for making me a Christian. Your cruelty forced me to call on Jesus, and to my surprise, He came into me and gave me compassion. I see you not as powerful men, but as sad sadists fighting a losing battle for your self-respect."

They were stunned. Again, so was I. Who was this speaking through me? It was as if a new spirit of boldness as well as love was flowing through me.

Now I am free. I only want to do one thing-tell others about Christ. I intend to get some Bible training, and then I will depart for another province to spread the Word. All China must hear of Jesus. If I live to be eighty, then I have fifty-five years left to spread His Gospel. That's not too long to reach the whole country.

I expect I will be tortured again. But since I was tortured into Christ, I can, with His help, endure being tortured for Christ!

Open Doors, Brother Andrew with John & Elizabeth Sherrill, The Narrow Road, Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 2001, p. 73,74.

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