For anyone who has taken an interest in “how it worked in the old days” then Smith Wigglesworth will not be a stranger. Here is yet another man of God who led by example. Born in 1859 in Yorkshire, England, Smith Wigglesworth was bought up as a farm labourer. Education came second in those days, which meant he was a young man before he learnt to read and write.
Smith was led to Jesus at the age of 8 through his Nanna, yet he was 48 before he would be baptised in the Holy Spirit.
Smith Wigglesworth was not afraid of hard work, he was a true “grafter”, and would not let his hands be idle in anything. In his youth he worked in a mill with his father then went and found work in Liverpool.
In his teens, Smith attended tent meetings held by William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. Smith was impressed by the zeal to win people for Jesus, this was something that would run with him for the rest of his life.
Smith Wigglesworth was a true Yorkshireman who would at times probably be so abrupt which would lead him to be misunderstood as being rude, however, really, it was just how he was, Yorkshireman through and through. He had no time for the shallowness of people and was only interested in the heart of a person.
The Revelation of Healing
He had such a revelation of the healing powers of Jesus, that he considered every illness as a tactic of the devil, so he would treat illness in the same manner as though it was the devil stood in front of him rather than the illness. If a person came up to him for him to pray for their healing, he would likely punch them at the spot where the illness resided rather than gently lay hands on him. (I would say he would be well-known in the courts in this day and age). However, it was his faith in God, and his own revelation of what sickness was that enabled his faith in knowing His God would heal these people because to Smith, God wanted to heal His people as much as they wanted to be healed.
Sickness was of the devil and had no part in peoples lives.
A Compassionate Heart
Although Smith Wigglesworth is often remembered as having an abruptness about him, he was also known to have a compassionate heart for people. He would never be worried about standing up and preaching, infact, it was written about him that he once boarded a train to go to London and stood up in front of all the passengers and took out his Bible and said “Listen to this” and began to read a scripture, he then went on to explain what it meant. There were some that wept and he went and laid hands on others. He was also known to preach on the platform, not caring what people would say about him.
He has such a faith in God and a desire for people to know Him that he would speak about His Lord at every opportunity. He was a humble man never claiming to have a “gift” of healing but saying “If I have it, the manifestation of it will be the evidence that it is there. It’s not what I claim, it’s what God does”.
Smith Wigglesworth led a life worthy of us today of learning about. Even through his life today, faith is built up because of the his simple faith in God and his life that God used as a channel to work signs and wonders in peoples lives. Reading about his life today, does not point you to Smith Wigglesworth, but points you to Jesus, and believe me, Smith Wigglesworth would not have it any other way!
There are a number of books you can read about Smith Wigglesworth, but here are just a few to get your teeth into: