If You Love Jesus, Don’t Sing!

by | Jun 1, 1999 | Courage, Love, Persecution

Tom White



“Well, this isn’t bad,” Tom White mumbled to himself He stood in a pitch-black, cold room. He could feel the wind pouring into the room from a vent above the door. Exploring the cell, he found a bed with broken springs, a stinking mattress, and an old wooden chair nailed to the floor.

He lay down, but sleep was impossible. It was just too cold. His sleeveless coveralls were made of thin cotton, so they weren’t much help. He wondered how long he could stay alive in this room.

Tom White, an American Christian, had made many suc­cessful drops of Gospel literature over Cuba, distributing more than 400,000 pieces. But on May 27, 1979, his small plane crash-landed on a Cuban highway, just as he had finished a night drop. He was immediately arrested by the Communists, who questioned him and put him in solitary confinement.

Finally the guards put a hood over his head and took him to a little room for more questioning. “It sure is warm today, isn’t it?” The captain taunted, taking off his military jacket to begin the interrogation. “Who do you work for?”

“I work for Jesus.”

“Oh, is that right? And how much money did this Jesus pay you for making these trips?” ‘

“I took these trips for no pay. My pay is the love and bless­ing that God gives me for obeying Him.”

Most of the captain’s questions centered around money, the CIA, and revolution. These were the only concepts of power that he seemed to understand. After three or four days of cold and little sleep, White was too tired to even follow his train of thought. He sat in front of his interrogator, his head dropping, his thoughts wandering.

“How can I fight this? This could go on forever,” White asked himself. Suddenly he had his answer. He explains: “The Holy Spirit gave me a measure of pity and compas­sion for this man who was more in prison than I. I stopped responding to his questions and stared directly into his eyes. `Oh, God, help Captain Santos,’ I prayed. `Break through, Jesus. He is the one in the cold, for he has never felt the warmth of Your love.’ I continued to pray in front of him like this for hours. His questions came less frequently until he finally stopped.”

“What are you doing?” He demanded. “I’m praying for you.”

The captain’s mouth dropped open. He ran one hand back through his hair, then rummaged for a cigarette. This was the first time White had seen him smoke. The prisoner continued to sit rigidly as he was required, looking at Santos and praying.

The captain looked nervously around the room, then started drumming his fingers on the desk. In the next session White was surprised to see him wearing sunglasses. Evidently he didn’t want White to see his eyes. That’s all right. God doesn’t need eye contact. He deals with the heart, White thought, and continued praying.

Santos sent for Major Alvarez. The major was always his last resort. Alvarez stormed into the room, red-faced an.: angry as usual. “So, you think this is a game?” He screamed pounding on the desk for emphasis. “Now we are going to send you to see the third foot of the cat.”

White remembers, “I was thrown into another room. Following the wall in the blackness, I discovered there was no or chair. The blower vent over the door was fully open. The air was pouring out at such a terrific rate that my hair was blown straight out from my head.

“I tried to walk in the pitch blackness to keep warm, holding my hands out to keep from bumping into the wall. But the wall was too cold to touch. Besides, rather than warming me, walking only brought me close to the vent. I huddled in the corner of the room.

“`Oh God, help me!’ I cried out in despair. He would, only not in the way I wanted. I stuffed my coverall legs into my socks to keep the air from coming up my pants, then pulled my arms inside the sleeveless top. I stretched the top up over my nose so I could heat my body with my warm breath. This gave me times of relief, but then fatigue and slow but steady loss of body heat would cause me to start shaking. I couldn’t bear to sit on the floor, nor lean on the wall. The only position that worked was standing with just my forehead touching the wall.

“I don’t know why I remembered to sing. But God’s hand was guiding and teaching me. As the levels of punishment grew more severe, so did the intensity of spiritual warfare. Satan tried harder to drag me down, but God gently raised me up. Psalm 3:3 says, He is my glory and the lifter up of mine head. God was gracious, merciful, and loving, asking only for a chance to prove Himself to me.

“I started singing that great hymn, `A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.’ I sang `Jesus Loves Me,’ Bible choruses, and every Christian song I could remember. I was no longer conscious of the cold, only of Jesus. With eyes closed, my head barely touching the wall, I whistled, sang, even imitated a trumpet blasting out praises to the Lord.

“Although I didn’t think through the many Scriptures which support it, I had entered the highest level of warfare against the enemy – praise. Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits our praises. I don’t know how this is accomplished, but it’s true. The mighty Deliverer, the Messiah, the Savior was with me. He held my shaking body in His arms. I was with Jesus, no matter what happened.”

A guard opened the little steel window flap in the door and peered inside curiously.

“What are you doing?” He demanded. “I’m singing about Jesus.”


“Because I love Him,” White replied happily.

He slammed the flap and left. White continued singing. He returned a few minutes later and opened the window flap again. “If you love Jesus, don’t sing,” he ordered, then left. But White loved Jesus too much to stop singing.

Over the next two days the guards came to check on him every three or four hours. The flap would open and a flashlight beam would snake across the floor looking for him. Still White continued to sing. At the end of those two days, he was returned to his former cell which, though still cold, seemed warm in comparison. Now convinced that he was not a super­spy trying to overthrow their government, they had started White back up the treatment ladder.

After three months, Tom White was moved from solitary confinement to the main prison where 7,000 prisoners were kept. There he met and worshipped with members of the Cuban church who were imprisoned for their faith.

An international campaign for his release helped trim White’s prison time from his original 24-year sentence. After many prayers, letters, appeals from U.S. Congress­men and even Mother Teresa, he was released on Octo­ber 27, 1980, after seventeen months in jail. He now serves as u. S. Director for The Voice of the Martyrs.

DC Talk and the Voice of the Martyrs. Jesus Freaks. Tulsa, Oklahoma: Albury Publishing, 1999, p. 256-260. Www.persecution.com


If You Love Jesus, Don’t Sing!