The Death Camp
I was transferred to a prison called the Camp of Death, a place I had been before. Its sorrows and struggles were the worst of all the prisons. It was there, after my return, that I heard the rest of Miroslav’s story.
It happened one day when a new group of prisoners was brought to camp. I was sitting on my plank bed in the corner of the cell, when one of the newcomers entered and spoke quietly with one of my cell mates near the door.
“Joe, somebody here is looking for you,” my cell mate said, gesturing to the newcomer.
I went over to the stranger and, at his suggestion, found a place away from the other prisoners outside in the compound where we could talk in private.
We walked a short distance from the barracks. He turned to me and said with deep emotion, “You saved my life years ago, and this is my first chance to thank you.”
With both hands, he shook one of mine. Somewhat confounded, I examined his face again, searching the past in my mind for some recollection of him.
“No, surely you are mistaken. I don’t believe I ever met you in my life,” I explained.
He remained calm, and with a confident smile, said, “No, it is no mistake. Do you know Miroslav?”
“Miroslav? Of course! I know him well. But—”
“I am his friend—the forester. The letter of confession—the one you wrote for him that told the truth about me—saved my life. That letter saved me from being hanged. My sentence was changed by the court from death to twenty-five years in prison. And I still have hope of returning to my family some day.”
I wrapped my arms around him and hugged him because I was so overwhelmed with joy! Then I shook his hand and told him all the praise and glory belongs to Jesus. We prayed together and thanked our Lord for his love and mercy.
Today, as I write this book, both Miroslav and the forester are back with their families. Both of them were released before their sentences were fully carried out.
God, in His perfect love, spoke to the hearts of both of these men in His wonderful way; first Miroslav and then the forester found the wonderful light of salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ. I remember them both and, even today, with love, daily lift them up to the Father in my prayers.
During Josef Korbel’s imprisonment, his wife Erna and their three children suffered much persecution and many hardships. One of his sons, conscripted into the Czech army, was murdered because he was a Christian. Another son was jailed because of his involvement with the Czech resistance.
Joe was finally freed from prison through intervention by the United Nations, only to be driven from his homeland by a new wave of Communist persecution of Christians.
The Korbel family reunited in America. Still serving with the Salvation Army, Joe shared his testimony in churches and to civic organizations throughout the country and around the world. Josef and Erna went to be with the Lord several years ago.
Miroslav, upon his release from prison, returned to his family and was used of the Lord to guide them to salvation in Jesus Christ. He became a pastor in the underground Church in Communist controlled Czechoslovakia.
But long before Miroslav and Josef were set free from prison, they were free in Christ Jesus.
When we first read about Miroslav, he was facing the death penalty. He was in the deepest depths of despair and brokenness. Guilt and fear had so gripped his heart that he literally could not even get out of bed and care for himself.
Though incarcerated in dark and dingy prisons and with little “food” to eat or adequate clothing to wear, Miroslav and Josef survived. Yet, Jesus said: “Do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? (Matthew 6:25).
Jesus went on to point out that the birds that do not sow and about the grass that arrays the fields. “For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 631, 32).
Jesus was also speaking of spiritual food and clothing.
In rebuking Satan, He said: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4)
For the Word of God nourishes the soul. Likewise, it takes more than clothing over the body to “clothe” the inner man. Paul wrote of such spiritual clothing in terms of “put[ting] on the new self—a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience...and love, which is the perfect bond of unity” (from Colossians 3).
Miroslav and Josef were sustained by the Word of God and the love of God, just as Paul had written: “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you” (Colossians 3:15-16a).
The cure for a troubled heart
In the Book of Psalms, we read of another man—King David—whose heart was filled with fear for his life. Worse than that, his sinful heart had all but broken his fellowship with God. And so he prayed, “Teach me Thy way, O Lord; I will walk in Thy truth; unite my heart to fear Thy name. I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify Thy name forever. For Thy lovingkindness toward me is great, and Thou hast delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol” (Psalm 86:11-13).
What is the heart?
Miroslav—and King David, long before him—discovered that walking in the Truth of God’s Word is the cure for curing a troubled heart.
But what is this “heart”? What causes it to be troubled? And what is the cure?
This “heart” is a spiritual heart—your inner self or spiritual self. The Spirit of Christ Jesus indwells the spirit of the Christian’s new heart (Ezekiel 36:26, 27). And His Spirit imparts His eternal life to the Christian. It is through the heart’s spirit and indwelling Spirit of Christ (or Holy Spirit) that we can communicate with God.
The soul of the heart is also involved in communicating with God. It contains the faculties of mind, emotion, and will.
When the heart is united or whole, the spirit and soul are functionally united and operate in harmony with the indwelling Holy Spirit. But when the heart is functionally divided by self-centeredness and sinfulness—soul from spirit—the Holy Spirit is “quenched” (1 Thessalonians 5:19), extinguished or cut off from the soul’s mind, emotion, and will.
Miroslav, and King David, long before him, discovered that walking in the Spirit and the Truth of God’s World is the cure for uniting a heart divided by sin. Only when the soul and spirit of the heart are united or made whole, are we able to function in harmony with the Spirit of Christ who indwells our spirit.
What is the truth?
Truth is what God inspired certain men to write, whose writings are the Word of God and the Holy Scriptures which comprise the Bible.
The Truth is also the person of Jesus Christ, who said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life...” (John 14:6).
The Word of God is also the person of Jesus Christ. In the first verse of the Book of John, we are told that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
Jesus is the Truth and the Word, the only way to God, and the only source of eternal life!
He sets captives free and heals broken hearts
Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
From Hebrews 4:12-16 and other Scriptures we can understand that the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as deep as those thoughts and intentions of the heart’s soul which divide the soul from the spirit and thus quench the ministry of the Holy Spirit in us and through us.
All things are open and laid bare to God who searches the heart. Through the Truth of His Word He reveals His findings to us so we will confess our sins and repent. And through the Truth of His abiding Word within us, He counsels, cleanses and heals us; He fills our souls with love and other things of His Spirit; and, He renews the functioning of our minds.
Jesus Christ is our high priest and counselor who loves us and understands our weaknesses and needs. He is the power of Truth who can restore our troubled and broken hearts, and set us free from every bondage. With Jesus as our high priest and with our whole or united hearts we can draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help us in our times of need.
Miroslav had reached the deepest, darkest depths of despair. And then God provided him with a Bible and a counselor-discipler in Josef Korbel. The Holy Spirit gave Miroslav a new heart and a new spirit of loving consecration to God, and through His Word brought about his healing, deliverance, and wholeheartedness.
God will also meet your every need through the Truth of His Word!
Yet those who wait for [whole-heartedly abide in] the Lord will gain new strength [their weaknesses in exchange for His strength];
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.