I Have Seen God tells the story of a young man whose imagination and dreams were captured at an early age by a desire to become a missionary doctor to people of a third-world nation who would otherwise never be able to see a doctor. From boyhood dreams, though training, into marriage, and through the tough work of watching dreams take shape in reality, Dr. John takes readers through this journey to show that all things truly are possible, though not always easy. You might even say that this story is actually more of a prayer list with a description of how those prayers were tactically answered, sometimes even long before John knew to ask.
John quotes Martin Luther as saying that “we should pray as if all of our work were nothing, and work as if all of our praying were in vain.” Pray hard and work hard he does, and tells about it in such a fast paced way as to make it sound just a bit easier than I am sure it had to be. The stories that he shares, on one hand, are quite typical of a doctor in training: lining up schools, applying, waiting for refusal and acceptance letters, long hours of study and working with patients, writing, presenting, and so on. On the other hand, John shares some strict requirements that he must hit along the way, such as lining up schools in order to do part of his medical training in the United States instead of his homeland of Germany, and the answers to prayers in such areas that come just in the nick of time. This is only the beginning, however. God’s work of opening just the right doors at just the right time in order for John to get top medical training turns out to be a spiritual training for John, as well, as he prays and sees God’s hand at work, but also encounters his own doubts and questioning the Lord as John’s faith matures from a boy’s faith to a man’s.
As a doctor whose dream it has always been to use his skills to help those with very little access to medical care, John continues to work hard to gain experience in the medical practices in third-world countries, and soon seeks the best area to open a mission hospital in the Andes mountains of Peru. From where would the funding for the building and hospital equipment come? What about South American bureaucracy? His stories of need, prayer, and answer are amazing. Of such he writes, “Only God can turn defeat into victory. I do not mean that faith in God makes us rich in financial terms per se. This is no ‘prosperity gospel.’ But when we turn our lives over to Him, even painful setbacks serve a purpose and move us on towards a greater goal.”
For all of the impossible funds, equipment, and services needed to make this mission hospital in the mountains a reality there is really no explanation that can be offered as to why it all falls into place in such a timely way. John, himself, asks, “How can one explain such things? Even most die hard agnostics struggle to find a logical rationale, but eventually they have no alternative but to consider the metaphysical.” This is what makes the title of I Have Seen God so fitting. John does not merely seek support from like minded Christians, but corporations, civic clubs, politicians, and individuals. He lays out exactly what is needed and knows, no matter who he is asking or what is needed, that the outcome is up the the Lord. John is simply given a front row seat to see God turn the hearts of others to support, not Dr. John and his dream, but poor and somewhat ignored people, high in the mountains, who will never be able to pay for the skillful services which they receive.
John is not the only one to see God in this endeavor. Of course, the patients that are now served are experiencing the love of God as it is lived out by the missionary doctors, nurses and other staff who attends their needs. The donors are also those who are seeing God work and being blessed to take a part in His work. One such donor, John shares, announced that their company, struggling when they first provided John with services that were needed, had since been blessed and prospering in their operations and owed it to the fact that they helped someone else even when they felt like they could afford little. This is an inspiration that any reader can take away from John’s story and work to apply in his or her own life: serving and giving to others blesses the giver.
I Have Seen God, by Klaus-Dieter John, is a reminder that each of us can be an answer to prayer through whatever large or small gifts we have to share (time, talent or treasure). As John shared after receiving much needed bedpan flushers, “we can pray about any of our concerns. God is faithful – even with feces…”
John’s story humbly shares that, through earnest prayer and seeking for the answers, we to will be able to say, “I Have Seen God.”
Alyssa Katanic is a wife and homeschooling mother of 7 children under 11 years old. She loves reading and collecting great books to share with others and knows that one can never have too many!
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Monarch Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.