Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Must-Read Inspirational Classic to Build Your Faith!

Someone once said that we are the same people we were last year except for the people we met and the books we read. Surely we are not the same as the Word of God penetrates our hearts as we read the Bible! Today I want to tell you about a book I just finished last week that has strengthened my faith.

It is God's Smuggler, by Brother Andrew with John and Elizabeth Sherrill.

In 1955, Andrew began taking Bibles and encouraging Christians who lived behind the Iron Curtain. Son of a village blacksmith, Andrew's family was the "poorest" one in town, yet he trusted God to lead him step-by-step and to provide the funds to follow the call God had placed on him to take His scripture to Christians living in Communist countries.

He never asked for money, so he would know that it was God who was behind the scenes providing for him. His unwavering faith has inspired me to change my speaking expenses policy. From now on, I want to just offer myself to share my testimony of what I've seen Christ do without mentioning my expenses needed to do so (as soon as I finish writing this, I'm editing my speaker tab on my website).

I want to go where God would have me go, knowing I can trust him to provide for me to do what He wants me to do. I, like Andrew, want to trust God and see how He will provide for me to encourage other Christians by the message He has given me to bring!

Andrew was told it was impossible to do what he wanted to do. He knew that nothing was impossible for God! Here's his prayer that he had to pray over and over again (as the guards at the borders into Communists countries would search his and his companion's things, one of them would talk to the guards while the other prayed):

"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."  They didn't see them!!!

Andrew would face such unbelievable odds that he began leaving a couple Bibles in plain view on the seat—knowing that it was only God who was miraculously getting them through—so tough was the guards' scrutiny of every car, even checking under car windows for hidden material!

Nothing is too hard for God!

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Now I have a personal story that occurred to me shortly after I finished reading God's Smuggler.

Even as I "watched" Andrew's faith in action as I completed chapter after chapter of seeing God at work to bring encouragement to His people in difficult circumstances, I was praying for God to be at work in my own life. I don't want to have "osmosis" faith. I want to experience God in a fresh way in my own life. I know that it is not Biblical to say, "Well, God can work in amazing ways in Brother Andrew's life, but I'm not Brother Andrew." 

Brother Andrew was just an ordinary man with an extraordinary God. My God is his God! We serve the very same God who is still in the business of doing what looks impossible in human terms.

I prayed, "Lord, I want to see you work in my life. Right now, I'm changing my site about my speaker fee, and I'm not going to ask for a cent, to see you provide. Will you show me Yourself in a fresh new way and give me faith to trust you like Andrew had in the circumstances of my own life? I don't want to lead a mediocre life for you, but to trust you moment by moment to guide me in a way I will know that it is only You who could do this!"

Back to my story.

I had just finished a week with my youngest daughter at a violin camp near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. When we drove up the mountain on unfamiliar roads to get to the camp last week, I got scared and didn't take my eyes off the road because of the high elevation. In my peripheral vision, I could see vast hills and drop offs, and was filling with anxiety.

But now the camp was over, and I was descending down the mountain with a relaxed attitude after a week of being in those lush rolling hills, and felt confident enough to even look around a bit. I could see the Blue Ridge Mountains in the horizon, and could see for miles in every direction. I thought this isn't so bad, this is what I missed in my anxiety in getting here when I didn't look around for fear of driving off the road and off a cliff! 

My husband called me at that moment, and knowing how scared I was on the trip up, I reassured him that I felt sure I was through the worst of it, and it really wasn't near as bad as I had remembered it. In fact, I told him it was quite breathtaking. We said goodbye, and hung up.

What I didn't know was I was about to enter a six-mile stretch down the mountain that would scare the lights out of me. I knew I had told my husband the wrong information when the sign said, "Runaway Truck areas next 6 miles, " and "Watch for Fallen Rocks."

I could feel my heart pumping.

The traffic picked up as it was three lanes across, all going 65 mph. I wanted to slow down under the speed limit, but was even more afraid to do that for fear a runaway truck could plow in behind me. 

I remembered my prayer after reading God's Smuggler to know that God was leading me in a way that I would know only God could get credit for his leading through it. I also remembered how Andrew continued ahead trusting God moment by moment to guide him as he did God's errand, not listening to the voice of fear

Was I not also on God's errand? Hadn't I believed that God wanted me to drive Mary up this mountain to attend a week long string camp? Wasn't I literally the only person on earth who would have come up this mountain and spent a week taking her to every class on the campus? Yes, I was!

So with sweaty palms and my ears popping as we winded down the mountain at 65 mph, I remembered I had just told Terry that I had completed the worst of it! How wrong I was! He didn't know my circumstances! But I knew the One who did.

I asked the Lord to help me. As it took all my concentration to drive without driving off the mountain or being slammed in the back by a truck, I prayed an unusual prayer while swallowing to unpop my ears every few minutes, alternating with taking deep breaths to try to relax.

Like Andrew and his traveling companion going through the dangerous Communist border guards, I asked the Lord that as I drove, could He put it on someones heart to pray for me today? I kept thinking nothing is too hard for the Lord! (I didn't want to tell Mary how scared I was).

I painstakingly winded down the 6-mile-stretch and made it through. I didn't dare take my eyes off the road the entire time and the steering wheel was covered in water from the death grip I had on the wheel.

We descended even further down the great expanse, and soon we came to Pilot Mountain, but that area was not at all scary to me compared to the 6-mile-stretch at the high elevation in the Blue Ridge area.

In no time at all we were back on flat ground in Winston-Salem, and it was still the morning hours. I noticed a Verizon store and decided to stop there to get a car charger since my phone was now dead from using all the GPS power.

As I waited my turn, I plugged my phone in the wall. Suddenly it had enough power again to power up, and I noticed I had an email. It was from a friend, Fran, whom I had not communicated with in about 9 months. The subject line read: "Thinking/praying for you today!"

She went on...

"Good Morning Juana!
I am at the beach right now...
While having my QT (note to reader from Juana: QT is quiet time with the Lord) just now, I came across a note in the margin of My Utmost devotional. '2012: ... Juana...'
I just wanted you to know I have prayed for you today, dear sister and friend...' "

She had seen my name that she had written in her Bible about a year ago. Of all the pages of her Bible, she would have to have written my name there and found it there the same day I asked for someone to pray for me "today." She would have to had not just kept turning the pages after seeing my name. She would have had to have the thought to stop and pray for me. She would have had to stop what she was doing, and pray for me. Then she would have had to have the thought to tell me so. Then she would have had to sit at her computer and email me.

All of those things happened.

And the very first message I got within 5 minutes after getting out of my car was the answer to my prayer to have someone else pray for me today!

For you, driving in S-patterns at 65 mph in heavy traffic may have been a piece of cake or even fun! For me it was a dangerous, harrowing circumstance in which God was asking me to trust Him not with my feelings but with my will that I was on His errand doing my Father's business which was no less important than what He has anyone else doing! To think He would even use Brother Andrew's testimony for me to focus on His faithfulness!

What a detailed, personal, loving God we serve who longs for us to be involved in His providence and what He is doing! 

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Is God asking you to walk through circumstances to help someone else that are difficult or even dangerous in some way? God usually doesn't ask us to do some great heroic thing like smuggle Bibles but what is he asking you to do by faith in your ordinary circumstances for your husband? Your children? Your friend?

Are you facing something that seems by all appearances that it is "impossible?" He will never fail us, my friend! Let's remember that we serve the God of the impossible! Nothing is too hard for God!

"For nothing is impossible with God.” -Luke 1:37

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for 
and assurance about what we do not see." -Hebrews 11:1

Walk by Faith,


  1. Wonderful story, Juana. God is certainly timely and personal.

    First: I love the book God Smuggler. It was one of the first books I read as a new Christian in the early 1970s and it continues to impact my thinking. I often recommend Christian biographies because I think they tend to impact our lives more fully than teaching books. They are our "parables"--real lives living out the Gospel.

    Second: I'm a Colorado girl and used to mountain driving. When I graduated high school, I worked in a small mountain town and drove up and down the canyon when I visited my home. I could always tell "flat-landers" because of the way they drove : )

    But, now that I'm getting older and haven't driven in the mountains for years, I imagine I would have some of the same fears you had.

    Third: what a wonderful thing to hear from your friend and know she was praying at the exact time you needed it. Don't you imagine that is happening all the time, but we never know because we don't communicate it to each other.

    Thanks for this assuring story of God's provision, comfort, and love.

    1. Hi Gail! I so appreciate your taking time to write me today, Gail. We bloggers love that, don't we? I too, love Christian biographies. Just today I ordered the autobiography of Josiah Hensen (the slave that Uncle Tom's Cabin was based on) & another one called, Son of Hamas. I am like a kid waiting for them to arrive.

      I really was scared as you know on those mountain roads. I don't felt like I wrote it very well, to really say why I felt so scared. There never seems to be enough room in a blog since it's not a chapter of a book! Suffice it to say, my faith was so strengthened when my friend was praying for me the very morning (and we only talk a few times a year, and I have never known her to say that to me!) It surely was from God to strengthen my faith, as did the story of Brother Andrew's life! Oh my goodness!

      I love hearing from you, Gail. I hope we can meet eventually! Juana

  2. What a beautiful testimony to the all knowing power and grace of God. I haven't read the book for many years, but your post reminds me this would be a wonderful book to read to my kids for home school, this year. Also, the way you wove your own story through this is wonderful... God promises to be w/ us and it is so easy to take our eyes off of Him... and yet, He continues to minister to us... as in your friend's email. :) Thank you for sharing this. It is a great reminder and encouragement to trust God.

    1. I'm so glad my post on this made you think to include it in your home-schooling! I want to come!!! What a rich time you all will have together as you witness God's hand in history! Love, Juana


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