Sunday, February 27, 2005

Dare to Believe

by Donna L. Watkins
© Donna L. Watkins - Rufous-sided Towhee

This issue I'm sharing some of the writing of Smith Wigglesworth. Don't you love the name! If you've never heard of this man, you will not forget him when you read about him, and your faith will grow by leaps and bounds if you spend any time in his books.

His name certainly is unique enough to remember it, but this man of God dared to believe God. He was called "The Apostle of Faith" because absolute trust in God was a constant theme of both his life and his messages.

About twenty different accounts were reported of people being raised from the dead after he prayed for them. He himself was healed of appendicitis and kidney stones. 

Although Wigglesworth believed in complete healing, he encountered illnesses and deaths that were difficult to understand which makes his unwavering faith even more astounding. He lost his wife and son to death, and lived with his daughter's life-long deafness, along with his own battle of sciatica.

He often seemed paradoxical: compassionate but forceful, blunt but gentle, a well-dressed gentleman whose speech was often ungrammatical or confusing. However, he loved God with everything he had, he was steadfastly committed to God and to His Word, and he didn't rest until he saw God move in the lives of those who needed Him.

Wigglesworth's works span a period of several decades, from the early 1900's to the 1940's. Born in 1859 in England and converted as a boy, he had a concern for the salvation of others and won people to Christ, including his mother. As a young man, he could not express himself well enough to give a testimony in church, much less preach a sermon. Couple this with the fact that he had no formal education because he began working twelve hour days at the age of seven to help support the family.

In 1882 he married Polly Featherstone, who had the gift of preaching and evangelism. She taught him to read and became his strongest supporter. They opened a mission to serve the poor and needy of the community and people were miraculously healed when he prayed for them.

In 1907, Wigglesworth's circumstances changed dramatically when, at the age of 48, he was baptized in the Holy Spirit and suddenly had power that enabled him to preach which was the beginning of a worldwide evangelistic and healing ministry that reached thousands in the U.S., Australia, South Africa and Europe until the time of his death in 1947.

My life has been blessed by the books about this man and I know yours will be also. Here's something from the devotional book a friend recently gave to me. It's been the most inspiring devotional I've ever had in relation to building my faith to believe that, in God everything is truly possible, and the faith we have within us is strong enough to bring to pass Jesus' words to many: "If you only believe."

"Here are Sarah - her body is almost dead - and Abraham - his body is almost dead. "Now," says Abraham, "God has made me a father of many nations, and there is no hope of a son according to the natural law, no hope whatever." Here God says, "I have made you a father of many nations," yet Abraham has no son.

How long have you believed and still suffered from some disease? How long have you been waiting for the promise, and it has not come? Did you need to wait? Look here! I want to tell you that all the people who are saved are blessed with faithful Abraham (Galatians 3:9). Abraham is the great substance of the whole keynote of Scripture; he is a man who dared to believe God when everything got worse every day.
I do not know anything in the Scriptures so marvelous, as far-reaching, and as full of the substance of living reality to change us if we will believe God. He will make us so different.

This is a blessed incarnation of living faith that changes us and makes us know that "God is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). God is a reality. God is true, and in Him there is no lie or "shadow of turning" (James 1:17). Oh, it is good! I do love to think about such truths as these.

No subject in the Bible makes my body aflame with passion after God and His righteousness as this one does. I see that He never fails. He wants man to believe, and then man will never fail. Oh, the loveliness of the character of God!

" A father of many nations." You talk about your infirmities - look at this! I have never felt I have had an infirmity since I understand this chapter. My cup runs over as I see the magnitude of this living God.
It is almost as if Abraham had said, "I won't look at my body. I won't look at my infirmities. I believe God will make the whole thing right." God is reality and wants us to know that if we will believe, it will be perfect.

" God ... gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did" (Romans 4:17).

I wonder if you really believe that God can quicken what is dead. I have seen it many times. The more there was no hope, Abraham believed in hope. Sometimes Satan will cloud your mind and interfere with your perception so that the obscure condition is brought right in between you and God but God is able to change the whole position if you will let Him have a chance.

Turn your back on every sense of unbelief, and believe God. God knows. He has a plan; He has a way. Do you dare NOT to trust Him?"

What an inspiring man! I love his devotional book!

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