A Place Called Wits’ End
AUTHOR: Wilkerson, David
PUBLISHED ON: April 1, 2003

Times Square Church Pulpit Series

A Place Called Wits’ End

  By David Wilkerson
  April 24, 1995

      “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do
    business in great waters; these see the works of
    the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he
    commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which
    lifteth up the waves thereof.
      “They mount up to the heaven, they go down
    again to the depths: their soul is melted because
    of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger
    like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end”
    (Psalm 107:23-27).

  In this psalm, the place called “wit’s end” is on a ship’s deck
in a storm-tossed sea. Giant waves carry the ship up to the
heavens, 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 looks like it’s all over for them, and
they’re 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 “wit’s end.” It is a
condition that afflicts all Christians at one time or another.
This phrase means simply, “having lost or exhausted any
possibility of perceiving or thinking of a way out.” In short, it
is the end of all human ability and resources. There is no escape
– no help, no deliverance, other than in God Himself!

              Perhaps You Have Already
              Arrived at “Wit’s End”!

  Like the sailors aboard the ship, you have simply been going
about your business, moving on in your walk with Jesus. Then one
day, out of nowhere, a storm hit – and waves of trouble came
crashing down on you from all sides!

  Life’s troubles seldom come one at a time. They’re like the
waves in a storm – coming one after another, fast and furious,
mounting higher and higher. It’s as if the sun has gone down, the
air has turned cold and icy, and the winds of trouble have begun
beating down. Like the sailors in Psalm 107, your “…soul is
melted because of trouble…” (verse 26). (The Hebrew word for
melted here means “fainting with fear.”)

  I must note: God Himself has initiated this storm! “…For he
commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind…” (verse 25). He’s the
One who brought the sailors to this place. He’s the One raising
the wind, stirring up the waves, tossing the ship. It is all His

  Yet this can be a great encouragement to our faith whenever
troubles hit us from all sides. We have the knowledge that all
troubles and storms in life have been ordained by God, for those
who walk in righteousness. They aren’t caused by the devil or
some particular sin. Rather, the Lord has brought us to wit’s end
– and He has a purpose in it all!

      “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery
    trial which is to try you, as though some strange
    thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye
    are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his
    glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with
    exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12).

  God is not surprised by your ordeal. In fact, it is happening
because He wants to produce something in your heart – to reveal
His glory in you.

  Yet you may feel it is absolutely the worst storm in your life!
Your trial may be a financial struggle, business troubles,
slander, family problems or a personal tragedy. You go to bed at
night with a restlessness inside, a cloud hanging over you. When
you awaken, the dull ache is still with you. And it keeps hanging
on until one day you wake up crying, “God, how much more do I
have to endure? How long will You allow me to go through this?
When will it all end?”

  When did the storm stop for the sailors in Psalm 107? When did
God bring them into their desired safe haven? According to the
psalmist, two things happened:

  * First, the sailors came to their wits’ end, giving up on all
human hope or help. They said, “There’s 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!

      “Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and
    he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh
    the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are
    still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so
    he bringeth them unto their desired haven” (Psalm         

  If you are a true child of God – if you’re set on allowing Him
to mold you into the image of His Son – then your battle won’t
stop until you give up trying to figure it all out and throw
yourself completely into God’s care. Until He has accomplished
His eternal purposes in you, your troubles will only continue to

  Right now, you could be keeping your storm raging, your
troubles piling up. You could be missing the calm that God wants
to bring to you. How does this happen?

  It happens when you keep questioning the Lord in the midst of
your crisis; when you keep murmuring and complaining; when you
phone a friend whom you think has the answer for you; when you
turn to counselors, psychologists, lawyers, experts; when you go
to a Christian bookstore and buy stacks of self-help books and
tapes; when you keep looking for that one secret, that one plan,
to deliver you from your trouble.

  Beloved, you’re only prolonging your trial! It sounds simple,
but from the very beginning, God has been wanting our childlike
trust and confidence. And you’re only keeping the storm raging
and the waves piling up when you refuse to cry out, “Lord, I’m in
a mess – and the only way out is You!”

              God Keeps Bringing Us to Wit’s End
                        Until We Learn
                    To Trust Him Completely –
                    No Matter How Hopeless
                        Things Appear!

  We see this happen time after time with the children of Israel
in the wilderness. Again and again God brought them to wit’s end
– to test them, to see if they would trust Him. But each time
they refused!

  First the Lord brought them to a place called Pi-hahiroth,
between Migdol and the sea. He had shut them in – the sea in
front, the mountains on both sides, and Pharaoh behind. God had
actually led them to a place of human hopelessness – to wit’s

  Had the Israelites simply believed one promise God had made to
them, they could have been free from all worry and fear. God had
told them:

      “…the Lord thy God bare [carried] thee…the Lord
    your God…went in the way before you, to search you
    out a place to pitch your tents in…to shew you by
    what way ye should go…” (Deuteronomy 1:31-33).

  God was saying, in other words, “I will go with you! I will
carry you as a man carries his son. I will walk before you and
find places for you to pitch your tents. Wherever the cloud I
have provided for you stops, that’s where you are to stop.”

  It happened that the cloud stopped between Migdol and the sea –
a place of total befuddlement, of wit’s end! There was no way
Israel could figure their way through the Red Sea. And now
Pharaoh’s army was fast approaching.

  Are you in a hard place right now, with a storm brewing? I ask
you: How did you get there? Do you think the devil put you there?
My answer to you is this: “The steps of a good man are ordered
by the Lord…” (Psalm 37:23). No matter what storm you’re going
through, no matter how black things seem, God has put you in that
place – at wit’s end!

  Please understand: God is never caught by surprise. He doesn’t
have to ad lib His divine direction whenever troubles befall us.
He doesn’t flip some cosmic coin to determine His actions on our
behalf. No – long before Israel left Egypt and arrived at Migdol,
God’s plan for them was already set. He had already commanded the
winds to blow at a certain hour, to wall up the Red Sea. He had
known all along exactly what He was going to do!

  Likewise today, God has a plan to bring you out of your storm.
In fact, He devised that plan long before your trouble even
started. Yet He will hold it back to the very last moment,
waiting for you to trust Him. He wants to see if you’ll put your
life into His hands and say, “Live or die, I will trust the

  Israel failed this test. They became fearful, fainting at wit’s
end. Yet God still did for them what He had planned all along. He
delivered Israel with a mighty miracle. But the result was, the
people sang their song of faith on the wrong side of the Red Sea.
Had they simply believed God’s promise – “I will go before you
and carry you as a man carries his son” – they would have passed
the test!

  If you panic at wit’s end as Israel did – fainting, accusing
God of not caring – He nevertheless will move in at the last
moment and deliver you. But, afterward, He will take you into
another wit’s-end experience – because you did not come through
the last one trusting in Him!

  Indeed, just three days after their Red Sea deliverance, Israel
was back in the middle of another big crisis. The people were
hot, exhausted, overcome by thirst. Their scouts now came back
crying, “There is water ahead at Marah, but we can’t drink it.
It’s too bitter!”

  Scripture makes it very clear: It wasn’t the devil who had led
Israel to this testing place. It was the cloud that had led them
here. Once more, the people were at wit’s end. And what a wailing
went up from the camp – what awful accusations against Moses and
God: “You’ve brought us here to die!”

  Did God know these waters at Marah were bitter? Of course He
did! But He had a plan. There was a certain living tree near that
bitter pond, and He would use it to purify the waters for Israel.

  I wonder – how many years before had God planted that tree in
that spot? And how many times had the hot sun beaten on that tree
to wither it? How many worms had tried to kill it? How many
passersby had tried to cut it down? I tell you, nobody could have
touched it – because God had a plan for it! He said, “One day My
children are going to come here, and these waters will need to be
purified. I have a plan to deliver them – and it’s going to
involve this tree!”

  Of course, this tree in the desert represents the Cross. And,
beloved, God has already planted a tree of deliverance for you!
He knows exactly what to do about your problem, and the exact
hour He will do it. All He wants from you is a quiet trust. He
wants you to say, “My God is with me. He knows the way out of my

              Wit’s End Is a Place of Suffering,
                    Pain and Insecurity!

  We see this illustrated in Israel’s experience at Rephidim:

      “And all the congregation of the children of Israel     
    journeyed from the wilderness of Sin…according to
    the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim:
    and there was no water for the people to drink….
      “And…the people murmured against Moses, and said,     
    Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of
    Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle
    with thirst? And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying,
    What shall I do unto this people? they be almost
    ready to stone me” (Exodus 17:1-4).

  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…” (verse 1).

  God Himself had allowed His people to grow thirsty: “And the
people thirsted there for water…” (verse 3). 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.” So they turned in anger to Moses, crying,
“Give us water to drink!” They were still depending on man – on
the flesh!

  I want to stop here to point something out. First, God took
Israel to Migdol by the sea, to test them – and they failed to
trust Him there. Next, He took them to Marah, where He had
another plan of deliverance – and they failed the test again. Now
He 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 back to yet another testing ground. You’ll go from one test
to another!

  Israel was in just such a place once again. They were hot,
thirsty, angry. But God already had a plan! He wasn’t 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.
And that source would last not just a day, a week or a month –
but thirty-eight years!

  Yet God was waiting for a response of faith from Israel. He was
saying, “I have taken you through all of these things, but you’ve
refused to learn. Will you trust Me now? How many more problems
do I have to allow in your life before you’ll trust Me?”

  Many Christians are being tested and tried right now through
unemployment. They have sent out resumes in every direction, but
weeks roll by and nothing turns up. They’ve used up all their
savings, and now they’re surrounded by creditors. Their situation
looks totally hopeless. There is pain and suffering involved; it
is never easy.

  Others have jobs but are underemployed. They don’t earn enough
to make ends meet. Many working young people have had to move
back in with their parents. And thousands of single mothers are
scraping by on a tiny income.

  Numerous business owners are barely surviving. Many have
trouble sleeping at night because the business world is so crazy,
with skyrocketing taxes, increasing regulations, shaky profits.
The competition is growing, and they have exhausted all their
ideas and alternatives. Now they lie awake worrying about what to

  These suffering, anxiety-ridden people come to church and raise
their hands in praises to the Lord. They put on big smiles and
hug each other. Yet they are going through awful pain and
insecurity. They are troubled – completely at wit’s end!

  I ask you: As God’s children, do we have no option but fear –
sleepless nights, endless days of questioning God, living in
utter turmoil? Consider Israel: Was their fretting and grumbling
the only response possible? Was it simply human for them to react
as they did, out of concern for their families?

  Let me answer these by asking another question: Hasn’t God
always known what He was going to do in each of these cases?
Hasn’t He always had a plan?

  Think about it: Didn’t God already plan to have the winds open
the Red Sea? Didn’t He already preserve a tree at Marah that
would heal the waters? Didn’t He already choose a rock on Mount
Horeb, out of which He would supply Israel’s water for decades?

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

  There is no problem you have that He can’t unravel!

  Let me show you why God had to bring Israel to the brink of
disaster before He miraculously met their need:

              God Brought Israel to Wit’s End
                    to Try to Induce Faith
                    Through the Miraculous –
                    And It Didn’t Work!

  I want to talk to you about the limitations of the miraculous.
Many Christians travel thousands of miles each year to witness
supernatural works – miracles, manifestations, signs, wonders.
Yet, ironically, these sign-seeking addicts never develop a
lasting faith – because miracles rarely produce that. Instead,
they always need a bigger, more spectacular miracle.

  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 at the first!  You’d
think that the ten plagues on Egypt would have produced faith in
the Israelites. When Egypt was afflicted with flies, there were
none to be found in Israel’s camp. When Egypt fell under total
darkness, there was no darkness in Israel. Yet none of these
miraculous plagues produced faith of any kind!

  Even after God opened the Red Sea, Israel’s faith lasted only
three days. Scripture says:

      “…they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies;
    but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea”
    (Psalm 106:7).

The psalmist is saying here: “They even doubted God at the Red
Sea – the place where He performed His greatest miracle!”

  The elders who watched Moses strike the rock at Marah saw water
come flowing out. Indeed, all of Israel drank to the full – and
yet that miracle didn’t produce any faith! Then God sent hordes
of quail to Israel. Hundreds of thousands of birds fell from the
sky into the midst of their camp, and the people cooked them for
meat. Yet still they had no faith! The next morning, when Israel
came out of their tents, the ground was covered with manna,
miraculously sent from heaven. Yet even this didn’t produce

  On the contrary, after all these glorious miracles, God’s
children wrung their hands in despair, crying, “…Is the Lord
among us, or not?” (Exodus 17:7). In other words: “Is God even
with us? How could He be leading us when we have so much

  Israel had received forty years of miracle food, miracle water,
a miracle cloud by day, miracle fire by night, miracle
protection, miracle clothes that never wore out. Moses told them:

      “…These forty years the Lord thy God hath been with
    thee; thou hast lacked nothing” (Deuteronomy 2:7).

And yet still they doubted Him. In fact, all but two of those who
had witnessed these miracles died in the wilderness – in total

  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’d never doubt Him again!” Yet, what about all the
miracles He has performed for you already? They haven’t produced
in you any faith to help you in your present trouble!

  Recently, two precious men of God from the Zulu tribe in Africa
visited Times Square Church. An incredible revival is taking
place among the 8 million Zulus today, and God is doing
miraculous things among them. For example, more than ten cases
have been documented of the dead being raised.

  Yet that is not what these men wanted to talk about. Rather,
what has impressed them most about the revival are the “overcomer
Zulus” – those who take a stand for Christ, burning witchcraft
books and witnessing boldly even though they’re being tested and
tried severely. These people were once evil, with murderous
spirits – and now they’re being transformed into the image of

  I believe the greatest sign or wonder to the world in these
last days isn’t a person who’s 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.

  I recently read of a foggy little town of 4,000 people in
Hungary with an alarming suicide rate. The newspaper headline
read: “Suicide Stalks Isolated Village.” Residents there have
committed suicide in every conceivable manner. One man tossed
himself into an abandoned well. Another hanged himself. Some
people have overdosed. Others cut their wrists, swallowed
pesticides, jumped in front of trains. Entire families have taken
their lives, from teenagers to grandparents.

  The town is Asotthalom, one hundred miles south of Budapest,
and it is a desolate, lonely place. A doctor named Ulloh runs a
psychiatric clinic there, and he told a reporter, “Some people
call the road here the ‘narrow road to the cursed place.’ …It
is ingrained in the people that God doesn’t very much like us.”

  Beloved, that is the destructive power of unbelief! There is no
worse despair than to believe God has it in for you. This was
Israel’s problem, and too often it is ours as well. We have an
unspoken sense that all our suffering and troubles are the result
of God’s displeasure with us!

              When You Are at Wit’s End,
                    One of Two Things
                    Will Happen to You.

  Every Christian emerges from wit’s end either trusting in man,
or trusting fully in God – that is, either cursed or blessed.
Which way will you respond in your time of trouble?

  Jeremiah writes:

      “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth
    in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart
    departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath
    in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but
    shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in
    a salt land and not inhabited.
      “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and
    whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be as a tree
    planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots
    by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but
    her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in
    the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding   
    fruit” (Jeremiah 17:5-8).

  The first person Jeremiah talks about here doesn’t wait for God
to move. He takes matters into his own hands – making his own
plans, turning to people he thinks have clout, taking shortcuts.
He is always scheming, planning, manipulating. His philosophy is,
“It’s not what you know that counts, it’s who you know.” And he’s
forever looking for that special “who” to solve his problems!

  Scripture says a spiritual dryness sets into this person’s

      “…he shall be like the heath [shrub] in the
    desert…”    (verse 6).

He looks barely alive – with no fruit, no wellspring of life.
He’s always on the brink of dying!

      “…he…shall not see when good cometh…”
    (same verse).

He never partakes in the joy of being delivered by God’s hand.
And everything he thinks looks good turns into misery. He is
isolated, existing only in “…parched places…” (same verse).
He keeps withering away – sweating it out, always frantic.

  But consider the one who trusts God in the hard places, at
wit’s end:

      “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and
    whose hope is the Lord” (verse 7).

This Christian is “planted.” He has roots, stability, a reservoir
of Living Water. He is always “spreading out,” fruitful and green
with fresh life. Scripture says

      “…he…shall not be careful [fearful] in the year
    of drought…” (verse 8).

When things get hot and bothersome, he won’t be afraid!

  This person says, “Jesus, I give up looking to any person to
bring me out of my trial. I turn to You alone! You’re my only
keeper, my only hope. I look to You to bring me out of this!”
The Lord desires this kind of faith from us in everyday matters.
You may object, “But, Brother Dave, I’m still unemployed, still
having trouble.” Yet I have to believe God’s Word: “Trust Me,
and you’ll be blessed!”

  You may answer, “But I don’t know what I’m going to do. The
storm is still raging. It looks so hopeless. I don’t see any sign
of help or deliverance!” To all these things God still says,
“Trust Me, My child – and you’ll be blessed!”

  It doesn’t matter whether your trial is with your family, with
your business, or with putting food on the table. If you put your
total trust in His Word and His faithfulness, God has promised to
bless you – and He cannot lie! When the heat comes, you won’t
even be bothered. When the wind comes, you’ll stand strong –
because you will have learned to trust Him in spite of all
unnerving circumstances. You’ll be a green tree bearing the
abundant fruit of confidence – and everyone around you will be
given hope and encouragement as they behold your quiet trust.

  God, help us all to surrender our wills, our personal agendas,
when we come to this place called wit’s end. May it become a
place of renewed faith and trust in our loving Father. Amen!

When in New York City Visit Times Square Church 
Located at 51st Street and Broadway 

Schedule of Services
Sunday Morning……………………………10:00
Sunday Afternoon…………………………. 3:00
Sunday Evening…………………………… 6:00
Tuesday Evening [Prayer, healing, communion]… 7:00
Thursday Evening [Intercessory Prayer]……… 7:00
Friday Evening…………………………… 7:00

The David Wilkerson Times Square Church Pulpit Series is sent out
every three weeks free of charge. You may be added to our growing
list of readers and receive these messages on a regular basis.* 

Send your request to:

World Challenge
P.O. Box 260
Lindale, Texas 75771

*NOTE: Please mention that you received this information through
the internet ministry of The Missing Link, Inc., so we can
continue enjoying the Times Square Church Pulpit Series on the

We would appreciate your personal feedback so we can forward it
to David Wilkerson and encourage him with the effectiveness of
his ministry on the internet.


This data file is the sole property of World Challenge.  It may
not be altered or edited in any way.  It may be reproduced only
in its entirety for circulation as “freeware,” without charge.
All reproductions of this data file must contain the copyright
notice [i.e., “Copyright (C)1995 by World Challenge”].  This
data file may not be used without the permission World Challenge
for resale or the enhancement of any other product sold.  This
includes all of its content with the exception of a few brief
quotations.  Please give the following source credit: Copyright
(C)1995 by World Challenge, Lindale Texas.

            ~~|~  |~~~  |~~’  |  |  |~~`                -=John 12_32=-
              |  |~~  `~~|  |  |  `~~|            -=The LCFN Chapel=-
            `~’  `~~~  ~~~’  `~~’  ~~~’
  Lifting ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ High!

file: /pub/resources/text/Times.Square.Church/tscps: ps950424.txt


Doc Viewed 16035 times

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.