Walled In

This story was taken from Jesus Freaks by D.C. Talk and Voice of the Martyrs. It took place in the 1500s.

“‘I found one!’ The Inquisitor held up the forbidden book as he called to his assistant. ‘Bring in the mayor and his family. Someone is studying the Bible in this house!’
In the 16th century, Philip 2 sent the Duke of Alba to Flanders to stamp out the Protestants who insisted on reading the Scriptures in their own language. Anyone found studying the Bible was hanged, drowned, torn into pieces, or burned alive at the stake.
The Inquisitors had found the Bible while inspecting the house of the Mayor of Burgge. One by one, family members were questioned but everyone claimed they knew nothing about how the Bible got to their house.
Finally the officials asked the young maid-servant, Wrunken, who boldly declared, ‘I am reading it!’
The mayor, knowing the penalty for studying the Bible, tried to defend her saying, ‘Oh no, she only owns it. She doesn’t ever read from it.’
But Wrunken chose not to be defended by a lie. ‘This book is mine. I am reading from it, and it is more precious to me than anything!’
She was sentenced to die by suffocation. A place would be hollowed in the city wall, she would be tied in it, and the opening would be bricked over.
On the day of her execution, as she stood by the wall, an official tried to get her to change her mind, saying ‘So young and beautiful – and yet to die.’
Wrunken replied, ‘My Savior died for me. I will also die for Him.’
As the bricks were laid higher and higher, she was warned again. ‘You will suffocate and die in here!’
‘I will be with Jesus,’ she answered.
Finally, the wall was finished, except for the one brick that would cover her face. For the last time, the official tried to persuade her. ‘Repent – just say the word and you will go free.’
But Wrunken refused saying, ‘O Lord, forgive my murderers.’
The brick was put in place. Many years later, her bones were removed from the wall and buried in the cemetery of Brugge.”

This story moves me on so many levels! Wrunken had so many opportunities to escape. She had only to deny that the Bible was hers at the beginning when questioned. The mayor and his family were clearly ready to back her on it. And after she claimed ownership, the mayor still tried to rescue her. But she refused to be rescued. “My Savior died for me. I will also die for Him.”
Most of us will never face the choice of speaking for Christ and dying or denying Christ and living. I am reminded of the verse in 1st Corinthians, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” In the past, I have often looked at this verse as a display of God’s faithfulness and generosity. But recently I have come to see a different aspect of it.
If God promises not to give us trials that we cannot handle, then why is it that most of us only suffer relatively minimalistic trials? Wrunken thought that it was not only necessary, but an honor to die for her Savior. However, many of us (myself included) often do not consider obedience a necessity – let alone an honor.
Let us this week consider the example of Wrunken. Let us examine our own lives to see where we can better show our devotion to our Savior. Let us repeat, “My Savior died for me. I will submit to my husband to honor Him. My Savior died for me. I will speak gently to honor Him. My Savior died for me. I will not gossip to honor him.”

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