What Brings Heaven to You

Tim Dilena

You exercise faith everyday. Let’s take one example from the doctor and the pharmacist. You go to a doctor whose name you can barely pronounce and whose degrees you have never verified. He gives you a prescription you cannot read. You take it to a pharmacist you have never met before. He gives you a chemical compound you do not understand, then you go home and take the pill according to the instructions on the bottle. All in trusting, sincere faith.

When it comes to your spiritual life, you need faith to get over the hurdle of determining that God exists. You use faith for the next hurdle: Who is this God you gave your life to? You face another hurdle that takes faith: fighting the devil as he tries to mess you up on the greatness of God. 

Why? Because biblical faith always depends upon its object.

You can have little faith in thick ice and still survive; you can have great faith with thin ice and drown; it’s the object of faith that is the issue. The Bible never says to believe only; it says to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible never says to have faith only; it says to “have faith in God” (see Mark 11:22).

If the God you put your faith in is misconstrued, then so is your faith. The best way to grow faith is to do as Peter tells us to, “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18, ESV). The best place to start that growth, in order to know God, is through reading and studying the Word of God.

Your faith is only as great as the God you believe in. He must be the object of your faith. Since God does not change, your faith can still be strong in tough times. You don’t need great faith; you need faith in a great God. As Charles H. Spurgeon once said, “Oh, brethren, be great believers! Little faith will bring your souls to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to you.”

“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Peter 3:13-14). 

After pastoring an inner-city congregation in Detroit for thirty years, Pastor Tim served at Brooklyn Tabernacle in NYC for five years and pastored in Lafayette, Louisiana, for five years. He became Senior Pastor of Times Square Church in May of 2020.

Limitations of the Miraculous

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Nobody had ever seen as many supernatural works as Israel. God provided miracle after miracle for them, and yet each work left the people as faithless and unbelieving as before. You would think that the ten plagues on Egypt would have produced faith in the Israelites. When Egypt was afflicted with flies, none were found in Israel's camp. When Egypt fell under total darkness, there was no darkness in Israel. However, none of these plagues produced faith of any kind.

Even after God opened the Red Sea, Israel's faith lasted only three days. Scripture says, “They did not remember the multitude of your mercies, but rebelled by the sea—the Red Sea” (Psalm 106:7, NKJV). The psalmist was saying, “They even doubted God at the Red Sea, the very place where he performed one of his greatest miracles.”

We are so like Israel. We want God to speak a word, grant us a miraculous deliverance, quickly meet our needs, remove all our pain and suffering. In fact, you may be saying right now, “If God would just get me out of this mess, if he'd give me this one miracle, I would never doubt him again.” 

What about all the miracles he has already performed for you? Have you allowed them to produce in you a faith to help you in your present trouble?

Two precious men of God from the Zulu tribe in Africa visited Times Square Church. An incredible revival was taking place among the eight million Zulus, and God was doing miraculous things among them. That is not what these men wanted to talk about, though. Rather, what impressed them most about the revival were the “overcomer Zulus”, those who stood for Christ, burning witchcraft books and witnessing boldly, even though they were being tested and tried severely. These people were once evil with murderous spirits, and they were being transformed into the image of Jesus.

I believe the greatest sign or wonder to the world in these last days is not a person who has been raised from the dead. No, what truly makes an impact on the mind and spirit of the ungodly is the Christian who endures all trials, storms, pain and suffering with a confident faith. Such a believer emerges from his troubles stronger in character, stronger in faith, stronger in Christ.

No Water to Drink

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

"Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey from the Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink…. And the people murmured against Moses, and said, ‘Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’” (Exodus 17:1-3, NKJV).

God had led Israel to the driest place in the whole wilderness. It was a testing place with no stream, no well, not even a trickle of water. Most baffling of all, Israel was led there “according to the commandment of the Lord.”

God himself had allowed his people to grow thirsty. Babies were crying, children wailing, grandparents suffering parched throats. Parents looked at their families and thought, “In a few days, we'll all be dead.” They turned in anger to Moses, crying, “Give us water to drink!” They were still depending on man and the flesh.

I want to stop here to point out something. First, God took Israel to Migdol by the sea to test them, and they failed to trust him. Next, he took them to Marah, where he had another plan of deliverance; and they failed again. Now he had brought them to Rephidim for more testing.

Do you see the pattern? If you don't learn to trust the Lord in simple, childlike faith when you're being tested, he will bring you to yet another testing ground.

Israel was in just such a place once again. They were hot, thirsty, angry; but God already had a plan. He was not going to let them die. He had chosen beforehand to have them walk up Mount Horeb to a reservoir of water that he had prepared long before. That source would last not just a day, a week or a month but thirty-eight years! However, God was waiting for a response of faith from Israel. 

Our loving, heavenly Father would never lead his children into a dry desert only to let them die of thirst, especially when he had a reservoir stored in a nearby rock. God has always had a plan for his people. He has a plan for you right now, to deliver you from your present trouble.

At Your Wits’ End

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end” (Psalm 107:23-27, NKJV).

In this psalm, the place referred to as “wits’ end” is a ship's deck in a storm-tossed sea. Giant waves carry the ship up to the heavens and then drop it down to the depths. Powerful winds toss it back and forth so that none of the sailors can find their sea legs. They stagger across the deck like drunken men.

The ship’s sails are tattered and ripped, and wave after powerful wave crashes onto the deck. The sailors have to struggle just to hold on. It appears to be all over for them, and they are in total despair. They are helpless, vulnerable to the power of the elements, unable to stop the storm, powerless to save themselves.

These sailors have come to a place called “wits’ end.” This condition afflicts all Christians at one time or another. It simply means, “Having lost or exhausted any possibility of perceiving or thinking of a way out.” In short, there is no escape, no help or deliverance other than in God himself!

“Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so he guides them to their desired haven” (Psalm 107:28-30).

When did the storm stop for the sailors in Psalm 107? When did God bring them into their desired safe haven? First, the sailors came to their wits’ end, giving up on all human hope or help. They said, “There is no way we can save ourselves. Nobody on earth can get us out of this!” Second, they cried to the Lord in the midst of their trouble, turning to him alone for help. Beloved, that is the key to making it through our storms.

The No-Name Infirmity

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?... O my God, my soul is cast down within me” (Psalm 42:5-6, NKJV).

Scholars aren’t certain who the writer of this psalm is, but we do know for sure that something is bothering him. His soul is deeply disturbed, and he can’t explain why. This psalmist is on fire for God. He pants after the Lord the way a deer pants for water (see Psalm 42:1), thirsting after the Lord, yearning for intimacy. He asks, “When shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:2).

We never do learn what the psalmist’s infirmity is. Have you ever experienced this kind of unexplainable melancholy and unexpected, unnamed spiritual blues? You’re doing just fine and have no known sins in your life, but one day you wake up with a disturbance deep in your soul. Some kind of depression has come over you, and you can’t put your finger on it.

I have good news for you. This is an infirmity of the righteous! It strikes only those who hunger after Jesus. We are not to be afraid of such an infirmity because the Holy Spirit has a part in it.

I have experienced enough of life to know that a time comes when this happens to every Christian. We mustn’t try to figure it out because we can’t. As far as we know, the psalmist never did get his “why” answers. 

I believe this strange infirmity is “the sighing of the Holy Spirit” within us. He is letting us know what it feels like to be without God, to be on our own without comfort, hope or guidance. He allows us to experience just a taste of such an awful, horrible condition because our bodies are his temple, and he has been sent to prepare us a chaste bride to Christ. He knows what it takes to keep us unspotted for the bridegroom. 

Most importantly, the Spirit knows how important it is for us to cry out to God for daily strength and power. We simply cannot stand in this time unless we are intimate with the Lord, trusting in him fully and constantly fleeing into his presence. These sighings in our spirits are reminders of where our true source of power and hope lies!