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).