It was with great sadness, last night, that I learned of the death of David Wilkerson. He was a man who could say, like the Apostle Paul,
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7-8
I'm not sure when I first read his best-selling book, The Cross and the Switchblade. I may have been as young as 11 but I know for certain that I'd read it by the time I reached by teens.
He was, as he would describe it, a "country preacher" living in the hills of Pennsylvania when God placed the call upon his heart to go to NYC and try to minister to some teenage boys who were on trial for the murder of a 15 year old boy who had polio, Michael Farmer. He certainly had never done something like that before. He didn't know how to get in contact with them, he didn't have much money and would have to sleep in his car. This was not a safe thing to do in New York City! There were lots of excuses he could have made to not go but he made the decision to obey God regardless and in doing so changed the lives of so many people! That legacy will continue even though he is no longer here in this world!
He was the one who taught me that God's way does not always look like our way. In fact, I suspect that God's way rarely looks like our way at all!
He went to NYC to try to minister to those young men. Every step of the way, he was barred from seeing them. In desperation he attempted to see the judge hearing the case and was physically removed from the courtroom. A reporter asked him what he was holding. When he replied that it was his Bible, he was asked if he was ashamed of it. No he wasn't and to prove it, he held it up. The next day, the picture of a "wild-eyed, Bible-waving" preacher was published in the papers and he was publicly humiliated.
He had believed that he was following God. How could he have been so wrong! In danger of possibly losing his pastorate, he questioned whether or not God was really directing him. God's ways aren't our ways and we need to remember that! He was to discover that gang members read/hear the news too.
The "fiasco" was actually God's way of opening up the door for David Wilkerson to minister to not just seven troubled youths but thousands. As he walked the streets of NYC in despair, a gang member recognized him and called out to him. He wanted to know why David had done what he'd done. He figured if the police didn't like David, he must be an okay guy. He put David in contact with other gang members and their families and a short time later, David gave up his pastorate and moved his family to NYC. He later founded Teen Challenge.
In the days, months and years that followed, thousands of broken lives have been healed and restored. Thousands have come to know Christ and been set free from sin and the horrible addiction to drugs. Their lives have been transformed and they have become a new creation in Christ.
Teen Challenge Centers spread across the United states and the world. According to Teen Challenge USA there are
233 centers in the US, and 1187 total worldwide, providing help to as many as 25,000 people needing deliverance through the power of God.Think of the lives which have been changed because one man was willing to set aside his fears, step out in faith and follow God wherever He chose to lead him!
I discovered last night that David Wilkerson had posted a blog earlier that day. The final words of that blog are
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.
May we all run well...
Yes, I also feel sad to hear of such news. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.
Thanks for sharing about a great man of God, Sister K.
From Hwa Silverpen
The world trys to make us look silly and foolish, but God's plan always comes through! We know the truth which is God always wins!!! They tried to make Jesus look foolish and look what God has and continues to do through him! My thoughts and prayers are with david's family and friends and many followers. Thank you for sharing about his ministry.
i remember the Film "The Cross and the switchblade", being shown in churches all around my province. The buildings were packed night after night. I too am very saddened to hear that david has passed.
I remember seeing that film for the first time. It changed me profoundly.
As I have just joined the site, you will have to forgive me for being so belated. The church that he founded "Times Square Church in NYC" is one of my favorite sites to go and listen to sermons...David W. has sermons on there back at least 10 years or more. The head pastor is Carter Conlon which I have learned so much from as well...very sincere and very real. His wife Tereasa is good too. I found their sermons to be so amazing through some very painful times during my divorce...I would listen to them around the clock...God spoke through them so many times...it was such a comfort! You will also find sermons by others on there, I particularly like Ben Crandal...he gets the love of the Lord across so amazingly. I really think, for modern day preachers, they are really willing to say it as it is...which is unusual these days...at least where I'm from. Love in Christ Shirley
Brother David's story is still impacting lives today. My 11yr. old foster son isn't a big movie fan, but he was bored 1 day & put "The Cross & the Switchblade" on. He was riveted to the TV till the end. & though he struggles w/ reading, he read Nicky Cruz's "Run, Baby Run" to find out more.
Thanks for the blog, Marjorie
I've read Cross and the Switchblade...I don't think I've Read Run, Baby Run, but I think I will get them to read to my 3 boys, such a good idea. Thanks for the tip, Shirley