I'm reading David Wilkerson's The Cross and the Switchblade and boy am I inspired and challenged! It is an amazing true story of a man who heeded the 'still, small voice' of God and left his comfort zone to venture into the dark and dangerous ghetto, violence-ravaged inner-city slums of New York City. No, certainly not where the Hollywood-like glamour is. It is far less wonderful.
How does someone heed God's voice so eagerly? And of course, despite all the opposition and troubles and discouraging bouts, David Wilkerson forged on persistently trusting in the Spirit's guidance. There were times when he made the mistake of trusting in his own abilities, and nothing worked. But when he let go, when he did his part and then freely surrendered the rest to God, life-transforming things began to take place in the lives of the hardened, hatred-filled hearts of young gang leaders and prostitutes and drug addicts and murderers.
When I read books like this I am again faced with the awful fact that we all live in such ignorance. We're happy being goody-two-shoes Christians where we are. Going to church on Sundays and being all wonderful and kind among ourselves, among people who will be kind to us in return. But how many of us truly have the 'mind of Christ', in that we see people who are in fact terrible, terrible people and yet still have compassion for them? Most people would condemn these merciless, heartless murderers and say they are deserving of hell. But would Jesus have done that?
Certainly the Bible doesn't say Jesus condemned these ones whom the rest of the law-abiding world condemned. He reached out to them. He saw what was behind all their terrible deeds, all their hurt and all the wrongs they committed. That is what makes Jesus radical. He wasn't just a 'good' teacher or prophet or rebel. He claimed to be God. He claimed to be truth and life itself. THAT is what makes Jesus Christ different. He wasn't for religion. He did not come to impose rules and regulations. He came to fulfill the law itself and in spite of his blamelessness, take the sins of the world on his shoulders.
It baffles me.
God actually cared to come Himself. He could have sent an angel, he could have done something brilliant and miraculous, he could have striked us all dead for our multitudes of wrongs. But he chose to come Himself, in person, because he 'so loved the world'.
It baffles me.
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are BEING SAVED, it is the POWER OF GOD.
Reading David Wilkerson's story of his work - no, God's work - among the most broken and hopeless and violent young people makes me realize once again that the message of the cross is for those who NEED SAVING.
Of course, ALL OF US, yes, all of us, need saving. But it is those who realize and admit that they need saving who are able to take that leap of faith and finally surrender trust to the One in whom they were meant to trust in all along. Our Father in heaven. Yes, it makes no sense, doesn't it?
But wait till you experience the power of God sweeping through your entire being through His Holy Spirit. Yes, it makes no sense. But do not be afraid to ask, my friend! If you are truly seeking the truth, you will find Him. You will find the one you can trust because he IS the source of Truth. Truth is really a matter of trust. You only trust someone whom you know is a source of truth, not deceit. Your soul longs for this truth. Your soul craves someone to trust, and you know that no one in this world can ever fill that void, because we're all longing for the same thing that none of us have.
And so someday, you will realize that the end of you is the beginning of God. I just hope you do realize it very soon. Because when you do come to the end of you, you WILL realize that there is nothing and no one who can save you but the One who gave His life for you.
For y o u.