Editor’s Note: Concerned Women for America (CWA) joins with Christians everywhere in mourning the death yesterday of Pastor David Wilkerson. The following tribute was written by Janne Myrdal, CWA’s State Director in North Dakota. Please pray for David’s wife, Gwen, who is in stable condition from injuries suffered in the same accident that took Pastor Wilkerson’s life.
Today heaven is indeed a richer place, but we have suffered a great loss here on earth.
I heard the sad news of the tragic passing of Pastor David Wilkerson late last night. My heart is grieved. Brother Dave, as we affectionately used to call him, was a mighty man of God who never feared speaking truth in the public square. He was the founder of Teen Challenge and most know him from his famous book The Cross and the Switchblade in which he recounts the story of heeding God’s call upon his life to reach out to the drug addicts and gangs in New York City. Nicky Cruz, the young man whose journey of life, salvation and restoration is vividly depicted in this book, is one of thousands upon thousands of people who have come to the knowledge and healing of Christ through the life and obedience of David Wilkerson. I am one of those.
Years ago, I was blessed with the opportunity of living literally across the street from David and Gwen Wilkerson in East Texas. At the time, he was calling out the Church of God to renew and restore the true message of Christ. Every Sunday in a small building in East Texas, he conducted what was then known as “meetings in the upper room”, and I was privileged to have been part of those many months of teaching and mentoring. Pastor Dave’s intense love of the Word of God, his sincere belief in salvation and forgiveness for all and his urgent messages of hope and restoration rung true then as it does still today. He never held back, nor did he ever compromise, when he heard the call to preach the truth, but he also never was shy about repenting if he had spoken wrongly. Some thought and still think him radical. And yes, he was. He was a prophet for our time, and though at times his words were strong, they were truth. Such is sadly lacking greatly in the Church today. I think of him as a voice in the wilderness with a call to repentance and true faith. It was a call truly not only to speak of your faith, but apply it to all areas of your life and bear fruit. What treasures are in my heart and life from such wonderful mentoring back then.
Not only was I blessed by Providence to have sat under such teaching in my younger years, but I have to go even further back in my life to explain what this man and his simple obedience to Christ meant for me. As a teenager growing up in Europe, spiritually lost, one day I was invited to go to a crusade in my home town in Norway. On stage was an American man named Nicky Cruz who shared an anointed and personal testimony the likes of which I had never before heard. That was the night I came forward, knelt down and gave my heart and life to Christ. The journey ever since has been nothing but remarkable. To have been one of the fruit of the obedience of one man, and then to have sat and listened to the Godly wisdom of that same man years later in a foreign land can only be a journey of providential favor. I am ever so grateful for his life, his love of Christ and the truth he so boldly spoke. May it be that we all carry on Christ’s call upon each of our lives with the same fervor and passion this man showed in his years on earth.
Earth indeed is a lesser place without him this morning, but heaven indeed a richer place. I am sure the words “Well done, good and faithful servant” rang out at the gates of heaven last night.
David Wilkerson wrote a daily devotional. The devotional written yesterday, the day of his death, would seem to have been written for those of us who grieve his passing. http://davidwilkersontoday.blogspot.com/2011/04/when-all-means-fail.html