I just returned from a divine time with a genuine 91/year old apostle to Spain, where we are establishing a beachhead there to the nations. He is now semi-retired and living on a farm in South Georgia. After spending a few days with him I am very different. Enriched. Broken. Full of honor for our generals in the faith. More empowered.
It’s interesting but in the last 15 years of my life I’ve asked the Lord for fathers in the faith. Since dad Hagin and the missionary statesman Lester Sumrall went home to their reward some years ago ( they were like fathers to me), and then two dear friends who also stood in the apostolic/prophetic ministries but went home too soon, I have felt a personal loss. There is tremendous benefit to having real and true spiritual fathers on the earth in your personal life. I have gained so so much from them. And yet I recognize we all have one Father in heaven who is the Father of us all. Praise His Name forever! There is no substitute for Him. At the same time we have so many teachers but so few fathers. We need them so badly in this hour.
WHEN THEY LEAVE THE EARTH
On April 28, 1996 I was leading our staff meeting in Gambia, West Africa preparing to turn the work we established there over to national leadership. Suddenly our administrator walked through the door and laid a small folded piece of paper in front of me. When I opened it I read the words, “Brother Sumrall has gone to be with the Lord.”
Something hit me in the gut when I read those words, and I let out a big moan that startled our team. I felt the loss of his spirit from the earth. That’s happened to me more than once. That’s when I started to ask God for personal fathers and aged mentors to replace them in my life. We need their weighty voices of wisdom and experience.
Soon after that I met another older man in his 70s who began to impact my spirit as a father. When he departed to heaven a few years after, the Lord caused my path to cross with yet another aged father in the faith who was well into his 80s. A few weeks before he passed he endorsed my books and paid me a high compliment when he called me a personal comforter to him. I was a bit stunned to hear that. He said he could go home to glory any moment now knowing that there was someone who would carry these truths that were dear to his heart even further. You see, he was greatly burdened for the Ekklesia, and that same burden is echoed through my latest books. It comforted and encouraged him to know that. Somehow he let go and went home shortly after reading them. I was deeply moved by his commendation.
Then these last few days the Lord allows me to connect with this 90-year old apostle to Spain whose ministry and disciples have impacted many nations. The difference was this old man actually had time to sit with me for several days and impart his life and heart to me. We may be going to Spain together in May for what will undoubtedly be his final visit. He wants me to help him unite and strengthen his churches. What an honor!
What deeply impressed me about this partriarch was the many trials and sufferings he’s endured throughout his years of missionary work. He’s paid a great price with personal loss. The most precious things are costly. This brokenness and humility is something so rare to see in these modern pseudo apostles we have today. He ministered to my spirit without saying a word. When you’re around broken men there is a fragrance that evades from them. This general of the faith bears the marks of the cross. Those are the kind of fathers that impact the Church. I’m not seeing the presence of the gray hairs in the Church as much as I used to in times past. It’s a little disconcerting to me. Somehow their wisdom keeps a lid on things and brings order and peace to the body of Christ. I marvel when many of our best selling books are written by talented authors and gifted ministers who haven’t really suffered for what they believe and preach. People are so gullible. I will reserve more of my thoughts on this for another time.
I hope these words provoke you to think deeply and reflect on the need for true fathers today.
God is turning the hearts of the fathers to the sons and the sons to the fathers in this time, so that the blessing will rest on us.
By the grace of God we will re-dig these wells in Spain. Stay tuned…
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