Andrew Craig Brunson tells about his life in prison in Turkey in his book “God’s Hostage: A True Story of Persecution, Imprisonment, and Perseverance.” The Christian pastor revealed that he nearly killed himself when he feared he was losing faith in God.
The American pastor and his wife Norine spent 23 years as missionaries in Turkey before they were arrested in October 2016. They were sent to prison where Brunson spent over two years (released in October 2018) behind bars but his wife was released 13 days after the arrest.
He was in isolation for 50 days at a deportation detention center and later spent eight and a half months at a high-maximum security prison with 20 inmates at a cell designed for only eight people. Talking about his time spent in the Turkish prison, Brunson, also a teaching elder of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, confessed that he contemplated suicide during the lowest point of his life, the day after Christmas 2016.
He even tested out the clothesline at the prison courtyard to check if it will hold his weight. The thought of hanging himself to die entered his mind when he felt his faith in God slipping away. He thought it was better to die than falling away in His faith.
“Yes, the clothesline was strong enough to hold my weight. I was ready to go to Heaven,” Brunson wrote, adding, “It gave me a sense of comfort to know that I could escape this nightmare. And knowing this lifted my despair just enough to help me hold on.”
His time in prison even pushed him to question God and his purpose. He expressed his anger at God for betraying him and questioned about His love.
“How could I be so broken by prison? What was wrong with me? I said time and again, ‘God, you chose the wrong man.’ Why would He put me in a place where I would start to believe that it’s harder to live for God than it is to die for Him,” Brunson wrote about his anger at God.
However, God has a purpose for him in a Turkish prison and Brunson realized this after he was allowed visitation with Norine, who started a prayer brigade for him, and allowed to read the Bible. The prayers renew Brunson’s faith in God and the Gospel opened his eyes to the true purpose of imprisonment.
“But there was something much bigger that God was doing. He was using me as a magnet to draw all that prayer into Turkey, to prepare that place for a great move of God. So I see that there was actually a purpose and what I was suffering,” Brunson revealed after he realized and felt that God never abandoned him and that he just never felt His presence.
Today, Brunson is sharing his story to help remind people that God never abandons them in their time of weakness and struggles. God always answers prayers and that He has a plan for their life. Brunson said that God is “the grandmaster chess player,” who is in charge of everything.
Pastor Andrew Brunson: “The problem is that I wasn’t interrogated” in Turkey An American pastor detained in Turkey for two years is beginning to re-adjust to life back in the U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson was charged with espionage and links to a terrorist organization in 2016. He denies any wrongdoing. A Turkish court sentenced him to prison Friday, but released him on time served.