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The Cross and The Switchblade - A Book Review

Updated: Nov 28, 2020

What have you asked God to do for you lately?

David Wilkerson made a choice. He sold his TV and set aside that time to pray. He didn’t know what God would do, but by giving this time to Him, He was opening up the opportunity for God to move....and He did.

One night during his prayer time he saw a magazine cover, featuring 7 young gang members who were convicted of murder. His heart felt compelled to help them. He went to visit New York, where they were, in an attempt to see them at the trial, but was denied. Instead, he was arrested in the courtroom, publicly embarassed and returned home feeling very ashamed.

The stirring inside his soul never left; he continued to pray. Again, he made another visit to New York, hoping to meet those boys in custody. He was denied.

You’d think failure would have overwhelmed him, and the thought seemed to cross his mind. Instead of succoming to the fears of failure, he persisted in faith, trusting God had a reason for him to be there. He began to connect with the boys’ families, and by an amazing turn of events, some gang members. David’s photo in the local news - when he was arrested - earned him the respect of the gangs and he was able to start a relationship with them.

As the relationship evolved, David began to identify needs in the gang communities, and opportunities to help. He continued to pray and trust God’s leading and provision as the Teen Challenge ministry was established and developed.

I really enjoyed this biography! Our local church has a long relationship with Teen Challenge and reading about how it began was really inspiring. I appreciated that the philosophy and vision of Teen Challenge has stayed true since it began.

I saw how David’s persistence in prayer caused the DNA of the ministry to prayer and dependance on God. This is most practically seen in Teen Challenge’s reliance on donations for food. They wait on the Lord, and trust His provision for each day.

It made me wonder, what have I asked God to do for me lately? I seek the Lord for the things I daily need; wisdom to disciple my kids well, humility to serve my husband well, courage to lead well in the ER. I am admonished to notice where I am truly dependant on Him, and not myself; to continue seeking Him with perseverance and recognize His hand in all the answers.

His story also reminded me that everyone needs love and a place to belong. The kids in the gangs were often just lonely and looking for someone to care for them and a place to be themselves. It can be easy to forget this, yet even in a small town we can extend these invitations to those around us.

An example of what God will do through humble, persistent hearts. A story of trusting God when things aren't going like you wish they would. It’s a book I’d heartily recommend!!

How have you depended on God lately? How has he provided?


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