Pearls from the pilgrimage of Rev. David Wilkerson to New York, as described in the book ‘The Cross and the Switchblade’

By Abdul Rahman Odoi
Book Review Pearls from the pilgrimage of Rev. David Wilkerson to New York, as described in the book ‘The Cross and the Switchblade’

David Wilkerson was reading Life magazine one night in 1958 when he came across a story about seven teenage hooligans who attacked and killed a fifteen-year-old polio victim named Michael Farmer. Motivated by this, he decided to make a pilgrimage to New York from Pittsburgh by car.

1. Message to New Converts: When you embrace God, remember that you have come to serve Him, and do not be perturbed if religious people show you love or not. Your primary concern should be what brought you to God. Nicky Cruz, when facing trial and abandoned by his brothers in faith, did not let that deter him from focusing on God.

2. Asking God with Certainty: Minister D. Wilkerson, when planning his trip to New York, had no money. He put his television up for sale and asked God that if He was behind this call, He should send a buyer within an hour—something that seemed impossible. In half an hour, a buyer appeared.

3. A Mother’s Consolation: During the court hearing of the teenage hooligans, Minister D. Wilkerson sought to speak with the presiding judge, leading to a commotion with the police. The media reported the incident unfavorably, leaving him ashamed to return home. His mother consoled him, saying, “When you get back home, David, don’t be too quick to say you’re wrong. The Lord moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.” This incident, which the media thought would ruin his image and ministry, instead opened doors to the hearts of gang boys and girls and their leaders.

4. Support for the Anointed: After the incident, David went to church feeling ashamed. However, he was shocked as the congregation showed him their support, despite some thinking he acted foolishly for wanting to speak with the judge. One lady’s words, ��We still want you even if nobody else does,” rejuvenated him and set him on the path to spread God’s word to the teenage hooligans, helping them overcome addiction through the Holy Spirit and rehabilitation.

5. Loneliness Breeds Bad Influence: Angelo, a drug addict, was asked what the greatest problem for boys in the city was. He said, “Lonesomeness.” This seemed preposterous because, at the time, New York had around eight million people. But he explained that the feeling came because “nobody loved you,” and that the gang boys were basically “very lonely boys.” So, in drugs, they found love.

6. A Good Wife is a Good Thing: Gwen was the pillar behind the success of Minister D. Wilkerson. As a wife, she ensured that she supported and trusted every move of his that would help in God’s work. So much so that when, in the second week of July 1958, the city-wide youth rally coincided with her due date for labor, she told her husband to go and do God’s work, for God first, everything else last.

7. The Power of A Woman’s Chest: While the youth rally was ongoing and prayers were intensified, the hooligans moved forward to give their lives to God. As they stood there ready to receive grace, some girls stood up, opened their blouses, and exposed their bare breasts, calling to the boys, saying, “You go in there and you won’t get this.” The thirty boys and the Mau Maus then retreated because they knew that breasts would be forbidden for them once they embraced God. Breasts could be alluring.

8. Women and Cockroaches: Women are resilient and brave, yet they often allow cockroaches to terrify them. Gwen once ran from the second floor to the reception because she saw seven big, fat, black cockroaches, disrupting a meeting Minister D. Wilkerson was having with the church in a hotel.

9. Not the Amount but the Percentage: When the church was donating for the trip, a little boy came and said he had only fourteen cents, but he added, “God is in this. You’re getting all I’ve got.” When it comes to donations, one wins if one does it for God’s sake and gives a higher percentage.

10. Asking Too Much from God: Yes, God gives without stint. And yes, the blessings of God won’t suffer extinction. But sometimes we ask too much from God without doing enough for ourselves. We need to know that God won’t do by miracle what we need to do by responsibility.

11. Two Habits Drug Addicts Fight: Minister Wilkerson noticed the high rate of recidivism. The hooligans explained they fight two habits whenever they want to quit drugs: the body habit and the mind habit. With the former, it’s not too much of a problem to shun; you just stay in the shell for three days and endure a month of less torture, and you’re sorted. But the mind habit is very, very brutal. “There’s something inside you that makes you come back. Something spooky, whispering to you. We got names for this guy: either he’s a monkey on our back, or a vulture in our veins. We can’t get rid of him.” We can infer it’s the whispering of the devil as he runs through our beings like blood.

Minister David Wilkerson went on to be ordained as a Reverend, giving teenage hooligans a second chance at life with his selfless commitment on the path of God. His pilgrimage achieved some success, as Nicky Cruz, once a gang leader who slapped him upon first introduction to God, has become a successful evangelist to this day.

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024