If you haven't realized it by now, the desire to be a man/woman of God requires more than the casual effort. There will be peaks and valleys unlike any you've ever encountered before. The rewards though are for eternity. Let's do a check down on the first three parts of this series and get you ready for number four.
In Part 1 of "So You Want to Be A Man/Woman of God" we learned how God used failures in the lives of three men to produce godliness. Those three, Job, David and Peter experienced all forms of frustration, discouragement and heartache in their lives. Yet, they were transformed.
In Part 2 came words of wisdom regarding what you will experience first. According to Pastor David Wilkerson, at some point you be served a cup of pain. Listen to Jesus' words in the Garden: "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matthew 26:39).
In Part 3, we learned that to be a man or woman of God, you also must face a night of confusion. Jesus said, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death" (Matthew 26:38). The night of confusion always comes just before the victory, just before the light dawns. But rest assured, dear saint: Before the power of Satan is broken, you'll face your night of confusion.
Part 4 of "Do You Want to Be A Man/Woman of God?" takes us around the bend for the homestretch through the teachings of Pastor David Wilkerson.
As as a man or woman of God you must face an hour of isolation. These words came from the lips of Jesus, God's own Son: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). Job said of God, "He's become cruel to me. I cry in the day and I rise in the night, but He hears me not." David said, "I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind" (Psalm 31:12). He also cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me?" (Psalm 22:1).
The hour of isolation comes when it appears God has hidden His face, and none of your friends truly understand what you are going through. But, you ask, does God really hide His face from those He loves? Is it possible He lifts His hand for a short while, to teach us trust and dependence? The Bible answers clearly: "God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart" (2 chronicles 32:31).
I can honestly say Jesus has never been more real to me than He is today. But I can also say there is nothing you can do when you get on your knees and discover the heavens are as brass. You cannot pray to break through. You feel nothing but emptiness and defeat. And your heart cries out, "Oh God, where are You?"
Does that sound strange to you? Have you never faced this? Then you have never truly been to the Cross or Gethsemane. God says, "In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment" (Isaiah 54:8). But He also says, " (I) redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies" (Psalm 103:4). He promises He will extend tender, loving mercies in our times of isolation. Job said in his hour, "He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23:10). David said in the midst of his hour, "I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever" (Psalm 89:1). His faith remained intact; nothing could touch it. And Peter, on the day of Pentecost, rose above his miserable failure to stand confident as he preached, "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel" (Acts 2:16).
We know these were all men of God. The Bible says God acknowledged the righteousness of Job. And He hand-picked David, saying to the prophet Samuel, "This is the one - anoint him!" We know God's hand was on Peter as well. Yet each of these men experienced great testings.
But what does all this have to do with you and me? Here is one practical application: After one of my evangelistic meetings in San Francisco, a certain young man walked into the prayer room. I had met him years before when he attended one of my crusades, and he had cried and prayed and walked out of the prayer room with true joy in his heart. But now he looked totally forlorn; I had never seen such a sad young face in all my life.
The young man said, "Mr. Wilkerson, I don't know which way to turn. I have no joy, and God seems to be far away. I'm being tempted, and I'm afraid I'm going to backslide and lose my touch of God. I walk the streets in fear and trembling!"
I put my hand on the young man s shoulder and said, "Son, this is your hour of trial. God is testing you to see what is in your heart. Will you repent, accept His forgiveness and keep coming to the Light? God has not forsaken you."
Suddenly tears began streaming down his cheeks. He said, "You mean God really isn't mad at me after all?" No, I answered. Then he asked, "Is my restlessness and despair the result of some terrible habit in my life?" I said, "You'd have to answer that." He replied, "No, I don't think so."
Then suddenly he began to see the light. It was not God's fault - it was his own neglect of prayer and hunger for the Word! At that moment, the Spirit of the Lord began to minister hope to him, and he raised his hands and praised the Lord: "Take me through, Lord. Restore my faith!" When I left him, he was thanking God for bringing him back to a solid commitment. The Holy Spirit was beginning to shine forth in him again.
There is a gospel song that says, "Standing somewhere in the shadows you will find Jesus..." That song must have been written by a tested man of God. You see, the battle I face in my ministry is not in my home; I have a loving wife and wonderful children. I have thousands of friends around the country who appreciate my ministry; my battle is not there. I have never loved the Lord more than I love Him now. I have never desired God more in all my life.
But the more I pray, "God, use me - open my eyes so I can see Your glory," the more I can feel the enemy's forces arrayed against me. I feel myself being crushed as Jesus was, and I cry out, "Oh God, I can't endure it. Take away this cup of pain!" Like David, I want to say, "Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest" (Psalm 55:6).
So, how do you know and believe at the same time? That's what much of these teachings come down to. In Part 5, the light becomes brighter and clearer....