Topic: Trusting God with “Impossibilities”

Dig Deeper

Brother Andrew's Story

Copyright © 2008,  Please feel free to use, copy or distribute any material on this site for non-profit, educational purposes only.

Dave Lyman

As a young man Brother Andrew joined the Dutch Army looking for adventure, and was severely wounded in Indonesia.  He talks about his time in the hospital there in his book, God's Smuggler. 

"This book was in your things," he said. "I didn't know if you wanted it." 

"I said thanks, but I didn't pick it up.  I doubt if I ever would have, except for the nuns.  The hospital to which I had been assigned was run by Franciscan sisters. I soon fell in love with every one of them.  From dawn until midnight they were busy in the wards, cleaning bedpans, swabbing wounds, writing letters for us, laughing, singing.  I never once heard them complain. 

"One day I asked the nun who came to bathe me how it was that she and the other sisters were always so cheerful. 

"Why Andrew, you ought to know the answer to that--a good Dutch boy like you.  It's the love of Christ."  When she said it, her eyes sparkled, and I knew without question that for her this was the whole answer: she could have talked all afternoon and said no more. "But you're teasing me, aren't you?" she said, tapping the well-worn little Bible where it still lay on the bedside table.  "You've got the answer right here."

"So now, when my restless hand struck it again, I picked it up.  In the two and a half years since my mother had given it to me, I had never opened it. But I thought about the sisters, their joy, their tranquility: "You've got the answer right here..." I propped the little book on my chest, and... moved the pages backward until I got to Genesis 1:1. 

"I read the story of creation and of the entrance of sin into the world.  It did not seem nearly as far-fetched to me now as it had when our schoolteacher read a chapter each afternoon, while outside canals waited to be jumped.  I read on, skipping whole portions, flipping through to get to the story again.  At last, many days later, I came to the New Testament.  Lying there encased in autograph-covered plaster, I read straight through the Gospels, catching dimly their terrible significance.  Could all this really be true?"

Andrew returned to Holland and continued what he calls his "incredible voyage of discovery."  Finally, one night, 

"a fragile little event occurred that changed my life far more radically than the bullet that had torn through bone and muscle a year before.  It was a stormy night in the dead of winter, 1950.  The sleet blew... as it can only blow in Holland in mid-January... There were many voices in that wind.

"What was I hanging on to?  What was it that was hanging on to me?  What was standing between me and freedom?

"The rest of the house was asleep.  I lay on my back with my hands under my head staring at the darkened ceiling and all at once, very quietly, I let go of my ego.  With a new note in the wind yelling at me not to be a fool, I turned myself over to God-- lock, stock, and adventure." 

That night was not the end of adventure, but just the beginning.  If you would like to give yourself to God and receive Jesus as your Savior, you can tell God, in your own words, something like this:

Dear Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner, please forgive me.  I am willing to turn away from sin.  Thank you for dying on the cross for my sin, and resurrecting on the third day.  Jesus, I believe you, please come into my heart and be my savior.  My life is Yours.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

God led Andrew into a lifetime of adventures, like the one he describes below.  

God at Work

During the height of the Cold War, Communist countries were keeping a tight control on their borders, but God had called Brother Andrew to help the Christians behind that Iron Curtain. 

"When I pulled up to the checkpoint on the other side of the Danube, I said to myself, "Well, I'm in luck.  Only half a dozen cars. This Romanian border crossing should go swiftly." 

"But when it took forty minutes to inspect the first car, I began to worry...literally everything that family was carrying had to be taken out and spread on the ground. 

"Every car in line was put through the same routine.  The fourth inspection lasted well over an hour.  The guards took the driver inside and kept him there while they removed hub caps, took his engine apart, removed seats. 

"Dear Lord," I said, as at last there was just one car ahead of me, "what am I going to do?  Any serious inspection will show up these Romanian Bibles right away. 

"Lord," I went on, "I know that no amount of cleverness on my part can get me through this border search.  Dare I ask for a miracle?  Let me take some of the Bibles out and leave them in the open where they will be seen.  Then, Lord I cannot possibly be depending on my own stratagems, can I?  I will be depending utterly upon You." 

"While the last car was going through its chilling inspection, I managed to take several Bibles from their hiding places and pile them on the seat beside me. 

"It was my turn.  I put the little VW in low gear, inched up to the officer standing at the left side of the road, handed him my papers, and started to get out.  But his knee was against the door, holding it closed.  He looked at my photograph in the passport, scribbled something down, shoved the papers back under my nose, and abruptly waved me on.   

"Surely thirty seconds had not passed.  I started the engine and inched forward.  Was I supposed to pull over, out of the way where the car could be taken apart?  Was I ... surely I wasn’t...I coasted forward, my foot poised above the brake.  Nothing happened.  I looked out the rear mirror.  The guard was waving the next car to a stop, indicating to the driver that he had to get out.  On I drove a few more yards.  The guard was having the driver behind me open the hood of his car.  And then I was too far away to doubt that indeed I had made it through that incredible checkpoint in the space of thirty seconds. 

"My heart was racing.  Not with the excitement of the crossing, but with the excitement of having caught such a spectacular glimpse of God at work!"

Reprint with permission from Open Door USA


Brother Andrew with Corrie Ten Boom (1972)