God’s Hostage by Andrew Brunson
Honest account of the impact of being imprisoned in Turkey and becoming a political pawn
By Andrew Brunson
Authentic Media Ltd
Reviewed by Martin Poole
“Sing like Paul and Silas! Preach to everyone around you! Have a great time, just you and God”. Such well meaning exhortations betray a huge misunderstanding of what it is like to be imprisoned for over two years in a Turkish maximum security jail for acts of terrorism. Such are the circumstances of Andrew Brunson’s very honest testimony as he describes himself as God’s Hostage.
Having served as a missionary for 23 years in what is described as the largest unevangelised country in the world, Andrew and his wife Norrie are suddenly catapulted into captivity following an innocuous hand delivered note requesting them to call at the police station. Their attendance quickly morphs into Andrew becoming familiar with the sight of large metal doors and the sound of keys turning and bolts slamming while he is forcibly separated from his wife, who must cope with freedom on the outside, punctuated by precious prison visits to her husband for over two years.
Andrew becomes a political pawn in negotiations at the highest level between his US homeland and President Erdogan the Turkish leader.
The huge strength of this book lies in Andrew‘s frank account of moments of desperation and brokenness as he oscillates between having an understanding that God is control of his situation to doubting His very existence. He frequently questions why he does not seem to meet his confinement with the seeming steady assurance of his spiritual heroes such as Pastor Richard Wurmbrand. “I decided that I would be open and honest about my struggles, that my testimony would be one of weakness: my weakness but God’s strength”.
When finally released Andrew, with Norrie, are taken to the White House to thank President Trump for his timely interventions. They take the opportunity to offer to kneel and pray with the President who bows his head and humbly accepts their request.
You don’t have to be imprisoned in Turkey to experience the essence of Andrew’s struggles. Indeed Paul writes to the church at Ephesus (modern day Turkey) – “our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.
I believe what Andrew has written can be a great encouragement to all involved in the struggle for faith in an unbelieving world.
The Revd Martin Poole (retired Baptist Minister having served churches in Penarth, Godalming and Eastleigh)