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Month 3:16, Week 3:1 (Rishon/Pesach), Year:Day 5936:075AM
7 Sabbaths + Omer Count Day #8
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 5 June 2012
The Drowning Man
A Lesson in Deliverance

      "An inheritance (or deliverance) gained hastily at the beginning will not be blessed at the end" (Prov.20:21, NKJV).

    The famous Chinese evangelist, Watchman Nee (Nee To-sheng), tells the story of himself and 20 other brethren. As the washing facilities in the home they were staying were inadequate for all of them, they decided they would make daily their ablutions at the river. On an occasion when they were taking their daily plunge in what one supposes was very cold water, one of the brethren got a cramp in one leg and began to sink fast. Nee motioned to one of the brothers, who was an expert swimmer, to make haste to rescue his drowning comrade. But the expert swimmer made no move whatsoever even though he had clearly heard Nee's plea to help. Nee, naturally, becoming quite desperate, called upon him to effect the rescue post haste, but was again met with no response. At length the entire company of men becan shouting to this brother to make the plunge and so safe the life of their friend. Calm and collected, he remained where he was, apparently delaying the unpleasant task. As the voice of the poor drowning man grew fainter and his efforts feebler, so Nee began thinking to himself: 'I hate that man! Thinking of letting a brother drown before his very eyes and not going to the rescue!'

    But as the man was actually sinking and not resurfacing, the expert swimmer suddenly leaped into the river and with a few swift strokes was at his side and brought him safely ashore. Nee remained furious and made his indignation plain: 'I have never seen any Christian who loved his life quite as much as you do! Think of the distress you would have saved that brother if you had considered yourself a little less and him a little more!' But the expert swimmer knew his business better than Watchman Nee and replied: 'Had I gone a little earlier he would have clutched me so fast that both of us would have gone under. A drowning man cannot be saved until he is utterly exhausted and ceases to make the slightest effort to save himself' [1].

    We, who do not always see the bigger picture, are apt to judge wrongly as Nee did and to falsely accuse our rescuers, whether it be Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself or another brother who has considerably more experience than we ourselves do, in knowing what is best to effect the salvation of our soul. In the tricky matter of deliverance particularly, the one desperately seeking help not infrequently thinks he or she knows best and has pre-planned 'how it is to be done'. Many a soul coming for help from me has been of this mind, not really having a clue how to proceed, yet judging the minister because he is not doing what is 'expected'. Sadly, many have walked away undelivered in search of other ministers who will deliver them in the way they demand.

    What this true incident teaches us is that not until we have totally given up trying to control our own deliverance are we in a position to be delivered. Unlike Elohim (God), mortal ministers do not have infinite resources and can easily be drowned. Not a few deliverance ministers have been burned up because they have yielded to the demands of those they are trying to help instead of listening to Yahweh and letting Him direct their affairs. Having made this mistake myself in the name of careless bravado and na´ve faith, and having aged somewhat in the interim, I am not about to make it again. I therefore share this anecdote with those I serve in the hope that they will realise that Yahweh waits until the one in desperate need is at the end of his resources and can do nothing more for himself, neither placing conditions for deliverance nor trying to make the deliverance minister do the bidding of the flesh.

    Victory in Messiah over sin and oppression comes about only through complete surrender and not by carnal 'techniques'. Many a soul seeking deliverance has tried to make it unnecessarily complex by demanding that I read this or that so that I can understand what is going on inside them as if it is possible for the one who is lost to have any clue at all what is actually going on. Experience, to be sure, helps on occasion but basically what is required is ongoing revelation to minister and subject, and complete surrender on the part of the subject. And until that happens, he will simply struggle in the water and take the minister down with him in spiritual, emotional and physical burnout or whatever. The wise minister waits until the one suffering is no longer resisting and then leaps in to effect the rescue. The demonic that is in charge of the fleshy thinking and behaviour, and which desires the destruction of both victim and minister if at all possible, will rail and accuse the minister in an attempt to emotionally blackmail him into unwise and ultimately unfruitful action, something that he must be wise enough to resist even at the risk of having the deliverance process aborted for a time, depending on the degree of stubbornness and obstinancy of the subject. There is, in any case, a right and a wrong season for deliverance, depending on the subject's attitude.

    This is, of course, true of all of us in our relationship toward Yahweh and our pleas for help, for until we are willing to completely let go and come to an end of fleshy striving, He will not intervene, knowing that if He does that we will, in due course, simply return to where we were and end up in even more dire straits, more demons returning than ever were there before following a precipitous expulsion without the grounds for their presence having been determined by the minister and realised by the subject.

    Endnotes

    [1] Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life, Chapter 9, p.63 (PDF edition)

    Comments from Readers

    "Thanks, so true!" (MR, Sweden, 5 June 2012)

    "Thank you, very timely" (DL, USA, 5 June 2012)

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