Could It Be?

by | Jun 1, 1999 | Provision

(This story is taken from a fantastic biography about Brother Andrew, called The Narrow Road)

Did I really intend to be a missionary-or was it only a romantic dream with which I indulged myself? I had often heard Sid­ney Wilson speak of “praying through. H.” He meant by this, stick­ing with a prayer until he got an answer. Well, I was going to try it. One Sunday afternoon in September, 1952, I went out on to the polders where I could pray aloud without being embarrassed. I sat on the edge of a canal and began talking to God casually, as I might have talked with Thile. I prayed right through coffee-and ­cigar hour, right through Sunday afternoon, and on into the evening. And still I had not reached a point where I knew I had found God’s plan for my life.

“What is it, Lord? What am I holding back? What am I using as an excuse for not serving You in whatever You want me to do?” And then, there by the canal, I finally had my answer. My “yes” to God had always been a “yes, but.” Yes, but I’m not educated. Yes, but I’m lame.

With the next breath, I did say “Yes.” I said it in a brand-new way, without qualification. “I’ll go, Lord,” I said, “no matter whether it’s through the route of ordination, or through the WEC program, or through working on at Ringers’. Whenever, wher­ever, however You want me, I’ll go. And I’ll begin this very minute. Lord, as I stand up from this place, and as I take my first step for­ward, will You consider that this is a step toward complete obe­dience to You? I’ll call it the Step of Yes.”

I stood up. I took a stride forward. And in that moment there was a sharp wrench in the lame leg. I thought with horror that I had turned my crippled ankle. Gingerly I put the foot on the ground. I could stand on it all right. What on earth had happened? Slowly and very cautiously I began walking home, and as I walked, one verse of Scripture kept popping into my mind: “Going, they were healed.”

I couldn’t remember at first where it came from. Then I recalled the story of the ten lepers, and how on their way to see the priest as Christ had commanded, the miracle happened. “Going, they were healed.”

Could it be? Could it possibly be that I too had been healed?

I was due at a Sunday evening service in a village six kilometers away. Normally, I would have ridden my bicycle, but tonight was different. Tonight I was going to walk all the way to the meeting.

I did too. When it came time to go home, a friend offered me a ride on his motorbike.

“Not tonight, thank you. I think I’ll walk.”

He couldn’t believe it. Nor, later, could my family believe that I had actually been to the service; they had seen my bicycle leaning against the wall and assumed that I had changed my mind.

The next day at the chocolate factory I walked each employee back to his post at the end of our interview instead of sitting rooted to my chair as I had done in the past. Halfway through the morning my ankle began to itch, and as I was rubbing the old scar, two stitches came through the skin. By the end of the week the incision, which had never healed properly, at last closed.

The following week I made formal application for admission to the WEC Missionary Training College in Glasgow. A month later the reply came. Dependent on space opening up in the men’s dor­mitory, I could start my studies in May, 1953.

Open Doors, Brother Andrew with John & Elizabeth Sherrill, The Narrow Road, Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 2001, p. 86-88.


Could It Be?