Some books stick with you.
We all know the feeling, I’m sure. That one book that was so powerful, so life-changing, so essential to who we are, that we just can’t let it go. It sits in the back of our bookshelf, thumbed through too many times, read over and over until we can quote it after months of not reading a page. I have a good memory for books, but there are very few I know this well.
God’s Smuggler is one of these.
I’ve read this book so often, I can’t remember picking it up the first time. To me, the story of the Dutch boy who became a smuggler for Jesus has always been a part of my life. I’ve read it, loved it, and learned from it, and it has influenced me in ways that few other books have managed.
The story is a biography, really, although it’s such an amazing, fast-paced, almost unbelievable book that you might have thought it was a thriller or an adventure novel if you didn’t know better. Brother Andrew is the name printed on the cover, and throughout the entire book, Andrew is the only name we’re given. For a missionary who was still working in sensitive areas—places where God’s name could get him into trouble, it wasn’t safe to publish his full name in a book about his daring behind the Iron Curtain.
As a boy, Andrew dreamed of being a spy. He grew up in a small village in Holland, survived WWII with the rest of his family, and became a soldier in hopes that war in the Indies would fulfill his dreams of daring and espionage. Instead, he returned from the war crippled, jaded, and lost. He was drifting without an anchor, without a reason to keep living, when God got a hold on his life and gave him a new mission. And a new purpose.
What follows is an almost unbelievable testimony of faith and daring, of miracles, God’s hand and direction, and of the Gospel spread through a region of the world that had rejected the Almighty completely. During the 1950’s, when the greater part of this story takes place, a good portion of Europe was under Communist control. Christianity was at the very least frowned upon. At most it was persecuted openly and bitterly. Brother Andrew traveled to country after country behind the Iron Curtain, smuggling bibles and Gospel tracks to the Christians and struggling churches in these countries. Time and time again he risked deportation, imprisonment, and possibly even worse to spread the Gospel of Christ to nations who needed it so badly.
The stories of faith in this book are an incredible example of what can happen if you trust God and follow his leading. God’s Smuggler has challenged me time and time again in my faith, and I would highly recommend it to anyone searching for encouragement, wondering if God really does still do miracles on earth, or just to anyone who likes a book with a lot of excitement and tension.
Lord, in my luggage I have Scripture I want to take to Your children. When You were on earth, You made blind eyes see. Now, I pray, make seeing eyes blind. Do not let the guards see those things You do not want them to see.