This woman knows a lot about hurting times. As a young attorney under Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu’s communist regime in the 1980’s, Virginia Prodan dedicated her career to defending fellow Christians against unjust persecution in an otherwise ungodly land. For this she was kidnapped, beaten, tortured, placed under house arrest, and came within seconds of being executed by a gun-wielding assassin. The courage Virginia demonstrated time and again in the face of unthinkable adversity is nothing short of remarkable. It is an honor to welcome her to the farm’s front porch today to share part of her incredible story…
As a child growing up under a communist regime, I knew nothing but fear and lies.
Our entire world revolved around our leader, Nicolae Ceausescu. He was our God (or so we were told), and his word was law.
Anyone who questioned or disagreed with him was considered a traitor to the government and was either thrown in jail or disappeared, never to be heard from again.
Needless to say, we lived in a constant state of anxiety and mistrust, as anyone could arbitrarily denounce a neighbor, classmate, or family member for making “antigovernment” statements at any time for any reason.
The government even had spies planted in the churches. No place was safe.
The best way to avoid trouble was to remain silent, question nothing, and try to blend in.
Unfortunately, none of these traits were in my nature.
Even as a child, I questioned everything. I wanted to understand everything. The more fear battered those around me into silence, the more obsessed I became with discovering the truth.
That’s why I became an attorney. It wasn’t until I became a Christian, however, that I truly understood what real truth was.
And once I found that truth, remaining silent was no longer an option. Nor was blending in.
Shortly after I was baptized, I began defending fellow Christians who were facing imprisonment for such grievous acts as transporting Bibles across the Romanian border, sharing their faith, and worshipping privately in their own homes.
I didn’t seek these clients out. They chose me. But then, so had God.
When I accepted Christ, I accepted His call to defend His followers, no matter the risk or the cost. And both were great.
I was in constant danger. All that was necessary to incur the wrath of Ceausescu was to say the wrong thing at the wrong time in front of the wrong people. And here I was, challenging his laws and taking his own government to court.
I quickly became an open target for all the hostility and intimidation the communist regime could bring. Many days I awoke to find that my tires had been slashed overnight. My clients, friends—even my children—were threatened by the secret police.
My daughters and I were held under house arrest for almost a month. I was kidnapped, bullied, pushed into moving traffic, and physically beaten by the secret police.
Friends and co-workers began distancing themselves from me for their own protection. And yet, I was constantly amazed at how readily young believers would risk their lives to protect me. Just as I put myself at risk to protect and defend them, they did the same for me.
But they were not the only ones. No matter how dire, how dark, or how dangerous the situation, God was always there protecting me.
I would love to say that I was brave. That I never once feared for my life or for the lives of my children. But I did. My fear, however, was only temporary. I knew that if I was obedient to God, He would protect me when I was in danger, He would give me strength when I was weak, and He would give me courage when I was afraid.
And He did.
Time and time again, when I was frightened, He took away my fear.
When I did not know what to say, He gave me the right words.
And when my enemies threatened to kill me, He gave me the courage not only to stand up to them, but to forgive them—and hardest of all—to love them.
You see, when God chooses you to do His work—and I believe He has chosen all of us to do His work—not only will He provide you with everything you need, He will protect you from peril until that work is done.
That is what it means to be chosen.
“Be strong and courageous, and do the work.
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.
He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.”
Virginia Prodan says, “I should be dead. Buried in an unmarked grave in Romania. Obviously, I am not. God had other plans.” Her memoir, Saving My Assassin is a must-read for all generations. She was kidnapped, beaten, tortured, placed under house arrest, and came within seconds of being executed under the orders of Ceausescu himself. How Virginia not only managed to elude her enemies time and again, but how she also helped expose the appalling secret that would ultimately lead to the demise of Ceausescu’s evil empire is one of the most extraordinary stories ever told. Saving My Assassin is the unforgettable account of Virginia’s search for truth, her defiance in the face of evil, and a surprise encounter that proves without a shadow of a doubt that nothing is impossible with God. Saving My Assassin is a read for times like these.
[ Our humble thanks to Tyndale for their partnership in today’s devotion ]