When Your Hurt Lingers

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

In one way or another, we are all hurting. Every person on earth carries his own burden of pain. When you are deeply hurt, no person on earth can shut down the inner fears and deepest agonies. Not the best of friends can understand the battle you are going through or the wounds inflicted on you.

This is what the Psalmist was wrestling with in Psalm 6:6-7, “I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows old because of all my enemies.”

Is there a balm for a broken heart? Is there healing for those deep, inner hurts? Can the pieces be put back together and the heart be made even stronger?

Yes! Absolutely yes. If not, then God’s Word would be a hoax, and God himself would be a liar. God didn’t promise you a painless way of life. He promised you “a way of escape.” He promised to help you bear your pain, strength to put you back on your feet when weakness makes you stagger.

Our loving Father said, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NKJV).

Your heavenly Father watches over you with an unwavering eye. Every move is monitored. Every tear is bottled. He identifies with your every pain. He feels every hurt. He will never allow you to drown in your tears. He will not permit your hurt to deteriorate your mind. He promises to come, right on time, to wipe away your tears and give you joy for mourning.

Paul encouraged the church, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

You have the ability to make your heart rejoice and be glad in the Lord. God’s eye is on you, and he commands us to rise up and shake off all those fears causing doubt.

Ever-Increasing in Strength

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

We’ve often heard grace defined as the unmerited favor and blessing of God, yet I believe grace is much more than this. In my opinion, grace is everything that Christ is to us in our times of suffering — power, mercy and love — to see us through our afflictions.

As I look back over the years of great trials, temptation and affliction, I can testify that God’s grace has been enough. I know what it is to question God because my wife endured cancer over and over, and then both our daughters were also stricken. Today, they are all healthy and strong, and for that I thank the Lord. I also know what it is to be buffeted by a messenger of Satan. I’ve been grievously tempted and enticed, and I’ve had enemies stirred up against me on all sides. I’ve been slandered by rumors, falsely accused and rejected by friends. In those dark times, I fell on my knees and cried out to God.

I may still ask why, yet it all remains a mystery. His grace has always brought me through, and that’s enough for today. I’m prepared to accept that until Jesus comes for me. I see no end to my trials and afflictions. I’ve had them for over fifty years of ministry now and counting.

Through it all, though, I’m still being given an ever-increasing measure of Christ’s strength. In fact, my great revelations of his glory have come during my hardest times. Likewise, in your lowest moments, Jesus will release in you the fullest measure of his strength. Scripture tells us, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NKJV).

We may never understand our pain, depression and discomfort in this life. We may not know why our prayers for healing haven’t been answered here and now, but we don’t have to know why on earth.

Someday in glory, my Father will reveal to me the beautiful plan he had all along. He’ll show me how I obtained patience through all my trials, how I learned compassion for others, how his strength was made perfect in my weakness, how I learned about his utter faithfulness toward me and how these events helped to make me more like Jesus.

Christ’s Example for the Tempted

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

At a moment when Jesus was physically vulnerable, the devil brought his first temptation. “When he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward he was hungry. Now when the tempter came to him, he said, ‘If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread’” (Matthew 4:2-3, NKJV).

There’s no sin in being hungry. So, what’s the issue here?

Satan was challenging Jesus. “If you are fully God, then you have God’s power in you. Right now, you’re in a very hard place. Why don’t you use the power God gave you to deliver yourself? Didn’t he give you that power to see if you would use it properly?”

Here is one of the most insidious temptations facing truly godly people. You have a passion for God. You’ve set your heart on being wholly surrendered to him. After a while, though, the Lord leads you into a wilderness experience, then questions arise. You begin to lose your bearings, wondering about God’s eternal purposes in your life. While you try to pray and gain the victory, Satan’s temptations seem fiercer than ever.

The enemy wants you to act independently of the Father. The devil says, “Your suffering isn’t from God. You don’t have to go through this. You have God’s power in you through the Holy Ghost. Speak the word. Free yourself. Satisfy your own hunger.”

First, Satan’s scheme was to create a power failure. He was hoping God wouldn’t honor Jesus’ cry for bread, should he ask. If heaven’s power failed, then Christ might doubt his divinity and turn aside from his eternal purpose on earth. Second, Satan knew Jesus was sent to do only what the father told him, so he aimed to convince Christ to disobey for his own welfare. That way, if Jesus used his power to avoid suffering, he might do the same later to avoid the cross.

How did Jesus answer the devil’s temptation? “He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”’” (Matthew 4:4). Christ said, in essence, “My coming to earth is not about my needs, hurts or physical comfort. I came to give to humankind, not to save myself.”

Even at the height of his suffering, Jesus did not lose sight of his eternal purpose. If our Lord displayed dependence on the Father and compassion through a dry experience and the devil’s temptation, we can learn to do the same.

Where to Go for Help

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian, pictured the Christian like someone trying to cross a sea of floating pieces of ice. The Christian cannot stand anywhere too long, otherwise he sinks. He cannot rest anywhere while crossing except in his faith that God will see him through. After taking a step, he must watch out for the next. Beneath him is the abyss, and before him is uncertainty, but always ahead is the Lord firm and sure!

The believer doesn’t see the land yet, but it is there as a promise in his heart. The Christian traveler must keep his eyes fixed upon his final place. Scripture calls us to this several times.

“Look to me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22, NKJV).

“Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me” (Micah 7:7).

I prefer to think of life as King Jehoshaphat’s battle, along with all the children of Judah, in the desert (see 2 Chronicles 20). Sure, it’s a wilderness; yes, there are snakes, dry water holes, valleys of tears, enemy armies, hot sands, drought, impassable mountains. When the children of the Lord stood still to see his salvation, he spread a table in that wilderness. King Jehoshaphat prayed, “O Lord God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven, and do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand you? Are you not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham your friend forever?” (2 Chronicles 20:6-7).

All throughout Israel’s history in scripture, God warned them to tell every following generation where their salvation would come from: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).

Stop looking in the wrong direction for help. Get alone with Jesus in a secret place; tell him all about your confusion. Tell him you have no other place to go. Tell him you trust him alone to see you through. You will be tempted to take matters into your own hand. You will want to figure things out on your own. You will wonder if God is working at all, but trust that God is your only salvation.

The Power of a Father’s Word

Gary Wilkerson

I was reading a story recently about a family in Madrid, Spain. The father had had a strong conflict with his teenage boy. In their relationship, they were clashing all the time, but then the boy said some truly awful things and was making choices so that they could no longer keep him in the household. At the last minute, the father tried to plead with him to stay, but he wouldn’t.

It’s the story of this horribly broken relationship. The father went throughout Spain looking for his son, then he got word that the boy might be in Madrid, so the father went to Madrid. The city is enormous, though, so he couldn’t find his son anywhere. He decided to make one last ditch effort. He put an ad in the newspaper that said, “Paco, this is your father. I love you. All is forgiven. Come home.” He included that he would wait at the entrance of the news station two days after the ad ran. 

He submitted the ad to the paper and then waited.

On the appointed day, the father went to the news station and stood on the steps. Records say that over 800 young men named Paco showed up. Eight hundred young men were saying, “If only my father would reach out to me. If my father would say that I’m forgiven, if my father would call out to me, things would be different.”

I want to ask the fathers reading this to be that kind of father. Do this before your children leave, okay? Let them know that they are loved. Let them know that you are proud of them. Speak words of blessing over them. For young men, a father often times speaks into their masculinity and gives them a sense of confidence and power. A father to a daughter gives them a great sense of who they are in Christ and who they are in their femininity.

This is the heart of God that Paul points to: “’I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people…. and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,’ says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:16, 18, ESV).

He searches us out; he speaks into our hearts the truth of who we are made to be.