David Wilkerson

David Wilkerson passed on to Heaven today. I am deeply moved. He was a man who gave his life for the hurting and the lost, with such an incredible passion for young people.

I first “met” him through his book, The Cross and The Switchblade, when I was a teenager. It’s his story, the story of sacrificial and daring outreach to teenagers trapped in gangs and drugs in New York City. It had a profound effect on my life – something about the abandon with which he believed God and stepped out in faith marked my spirit.

His legacy has also blessed my family. My mother always attends Times Square Church during her stints in New York, and has been greatly enriched by his ministry. One of my aunt and uncle’s dear friends used to run with Nicky Cruz (the young man featured in Wilkerson’s book) in her youth. Her testimony impacted us.

How fascinating what David spoke to us through his devotional just today:

To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights—and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, “I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. You will see it was all part of my plan. It was no accident. It was no failure on your part. Hold fast. Let me embrace you in your hour of pain.”

Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail—his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world.

Wilkerson with Nicky Cruz

I really don’t have anything deep to add. I am just so touched by the beauty of his life – and I think what is so compelling to me is the knowledge that, at last, he is face to face with his precious Savior. What peace, what joy for such a warrior to enjoy the Divine Presence in all fullness.

I am so sad for the loss his family is experiencing. I am praying for his wife Gwen, who is reportedly still in the hospital. But to David himself I say, “Well done. You are a father to many. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for such an inspiring life.”

(You can read the rest of David’s devotional, dated April 27, 2011 here).

The Importance of Listening – Stay in Your Lane

This is kind of silly, but it’s real life… I’m going to let you eavesdrop on a talk Peter and I had recently.

We were walking around the track at Relay for Life, lost in conversation, wondering about a dear friend who has been battling cancer. Peter, as usual, was so involved that he didn’t notice he was slowly crowding me.

“Careful, you’re drifting,” I said to him.

“Are you telling me to stay in my lane?!”  he  jostled me, faking annoyance.

“Yes I am!”  I told him, pushing back.

We laughed, then found ourselves on memory lane.

“Remember when those words saved our lives?”

Flashback: We were on I-80 in California, driving home from San Francisco with some friends. Our young children were home with a babysitter. Peter was driving.

Suddenly tension blanketed the car. We all stared as a vehicle ahead of us  swerved across several lanes, having lost a complete wheel. Cars ahead of us were weaving to avoid crashing. We had to maintain speed, as cars beside us and behind us were still going full throttle. We sat frozen – watching the tire fly sideways straight toward our windshield. We held our breath. Peter held the steering wheel, not turning to the left or to the right.

In a second it was over. The wheel hit our front bumper instead of our windshield, and lodged under our car. We made it safely to the shoulder of the freeway.

Peter told us that, minutes earlier, he had heard these words in his spirit, “Stay in your lane.” Stay in your lane? What could that mean? He had dreamed about that same phrase the night before.

He was thinking about it when the accident happened. He knew immediately to follow the instructions. He kept the car perfectly controlled, resisting the urge to swerve as the wheel was about to hit us – and most likely saved our lives.

It is so important to have a listening heart.