The Hermit Crab’s Life

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

King David, the author of so many psalms, grew weary of his struggles. He was so tired in soul, so embattled and beset by troubles, that all he wanted was to escape to a place of peace and safety. “My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. …So I said, ‘Oh, that I had wings like a dove!

I would fly away and be at rest. … I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.’” (Psalm 55:4-8, NKJV).

A lesson from nature reveals what happens when we trade the good fight for an easier way and walk away from our struggle. I recently read a biologist’s study on crabs, creatures that live in a rough, dangerous environment among jagged rocks. Crabs are dashed about daily by waves and attacked on every side by creatures from deeper waters. They battle continually to protect themselves, and over time they develop a strong shell and powerful instincts for survival.

Amazingly, some in the crab family give up the struggle for life. Searching for a safe haven, they take up residence in the cast-off shells of other ocean creatures. These crabs are known as hermit crabs. Settling for safety, they retreat from the battle and escape into secondhand houses that are ready-made.

Hermit crabs’ “safe houses” prove to be costly and ruinous. Through their lack of struggle, crucial parts of their bodies deteriorate. Even their organs wither due to lack of use. Over time the hermit crab loses all power of motion, as well as vital parts needed for escape. These limbs simply fall off, leaving the crab out of danger but useless to do anything except exist.

Meanwhile, crabs that continued the struggle grow and flourish. Their five pairs of legs become meaty and strong from resisting the powerful tides. They learn to escape from their predators by skillfully hiding among rock formations.

This law of nature also illustrates the law of the Spirit. As believers, we get tossed and pounded by wave after wave of difficulties. We face vicious predators in Satan’s principalities and powers. As we fight on, we grow stronger. We come to recognize the devil’s wiles when he employs them against us. We discover our true refuge, the “cleft in the rock,” by trusting in Jesus. Only then are we truly safe in the midst of our battle.

Are You among the 7,000?

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

We know that all through the Bible, the number seven is associated with God’s eternal purpose. Therefore, I believe that when God said to one of his prophets, “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18, NKJV), he was simply denoting everyone who made up his remnant. The people he sets aside for himself could number 70 or 7 million. What matters is that they are wholly given to him.

So, what are the characteristics of this remnant? Here are three defining marks.

  • An unchangeable commitment to cling to the Lord. Every remnant believer has made a single-minded choice to swim against the tide of evil. At some point, you have to make a commitment, declaring, “I don’t care what others say or do. I am the Lord’s. I won’t give in to the wicked spirit of this age.”

  • A willingness to identify with the poor. While society’s trend is to associate with the rich and successful, you align yourself with the suffering class. Scripture clearly states, “Whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:17-18)

  • A reliance on hope. The 7,000 mentioned in 1 Kings endured because of their hope in a coming day of deliverance. Likewise, the church’s blessed hope is the soon return of Jesus. With one trumpet blast, all wickedness will end. Our Lord will do away with all killing of babies, all blatant perversions and all ethnic genocide.

Do these three marks characterize you as a part of God’s holy remnant? If so, God boasts of you, “This one has given his heart to me. He is focused on me. He is wholly mine!”

We are to evangelize, minister and work while it is still day. We are also to live in the hope that King Jesus is coming and that he’s bringing a new world with him. One day, he will rule from his eternal throne. This is the great hope of the 7,000.

God’s Measure of Success

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Success in God’s eyes is being totally fulfilled in ministering to him. Such servants aren’t striving to “make it” or seeking earthly security. They only want to know their Lord and to minister to him.

Think about the 100 prophets hidden by Obadiah (see 1 Kings 18:4). They lived an isolated existence in caves during a severe famine for probably three to four years. These men had no outside ministry. They were completely out of the public’s view, likely forgotten by most people. They couldn’t even share in Elijah’s victory on Mount Carmel. No doubt, the world would call them failures, insignificant men who hadn’t accomplished anything.

However, God had given these devoted servants the precious gift of time. They had days, weeks, even years to pray, study and grow. God may have been preparing them for the day when he would release them to minister to his people, those who would return to God as a result of Elijah’s warnings and preaching. Others God may have simply wanted to worship before his throne and minister to him.

Years ago, the Lord blessed me with this gift of time. Before I ever pastored a church, I went into the woods and preached to the birds and trees. I had no plans, no agenda, no dreams. I only wanted to get to know God’s heart. I prayed daily, seeking the Lord and ministering to him. I marked my Bible from cover to cover. I was hidden, not seen by anyone, but God knew my address all along.

My advice is to quit looking for ministry. Spend your time seeking God instead. He knows where to find you. He’ll summon you when he sees you are ready. Forget what others are doing. Strive to be a success at God’s throne. If you’re ministering to the Lord and praying for others, you are already a success in his eyes!

Days of Awe and Excitement

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

God, in his love and mercy, is allowing disasters to strike the earth to warn all who hear that Jesus is coming back and that it’s time to get ready. He loves his children too much to bring his new kingdom to pass without warning. He knows that mankind is hard of hearing and that it takes disasters of earthquake proportions to get our attention.

These disasters are a kind of countdown, too painful to ignore, allowed by God to set the stage for the final moments of time. These labor pains will become more frequent and intense as we approach the last hour. Christ told his followers, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28, NKJV).

Does it all sound scary? Is the truth frightening? Is it really possible that the end of the world is upon us? Is this the very point in time that all the prophets in the Bible predicted would come? Can even the most devout Christians remotely understand how terribly close this earth is to the midnight hour? One thing is certain: everything appears to be falling apart, as far as the natural eye can discern.

Dear friend, hear what the Holy Spirit spoke to me about these days. Just five little words but so powerful that they awakened in me a glorious new hope and faith. Those five little words are “God has everything under control!”

If you trust God, you can look every disaster in the face and proclaim with confidence, “My God is speaking to this universe, and his power is being demonstrated. I will just stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” God has everything under control, and we are under his control. Scripture’s message for this hour is “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Let us live then in confidence and anticipation of our Lord’s coming.

The One Who Gives Us Strength

Gary Wilkerson

When you cover up or repress certain emotions like pain, hurt, sorrow or fear, it’s generally because you don't want to deal with them. The problem with doing this, though, is that we're not built to repress certain elements of our lives. We can't repress pain without also repressing joy. We can't repress fear without repressing peace.

This is why God says, “Bring it all to the table. Bring your fear, and I'll teach you peace. Bring your pain, and I'll teach you comfort.” Jesus clearly stated, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:3-5, ESV).

Well, a lot of Christians in the United States don't believe in mourning. We act as if grief comes from a lack of faith in God. If we repress sorrow and pain, though, we’ll never receive a full measure of God’s comfort.

Recently, in my own personal study of the Book of Psalms, I realized that reading these verses was almost creating in me a sense that I needed to stop. I couldn’t continue until I was willing to be honest with God and the scriptures. Since I’ve faced some serious issues in my life, I actually got out a yellow notepad and started writing things down. I had to admit, “Here's five or six things over the past ten years that hurt deeply, and I tried to bypass dealing with them.” I had to admit that this grief and pain could be good because joy could come out of this place.

I see God protecting us by getting us out of storms but also sometimes by keeping us in the storm. Say somebody is facing depression, and you see God lifting them out of that season of despair. That’s wonderful! At other times, though, you see that God is keeping a person in a tough position. Instead of taking them out of the situation, he gives them peace in the midst of that storm. That’s wonderful too. Our assurance is that God is protecting us no matter what we’re going through.

When Paul wrote, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13), he wasn’t ignoring or repressing the pain in his past or present circumstances. He simply knew God would comfort him and see him through.