The Death of Pastor David Wilkerson and what we can learn from it

dw0964431The late Pastor David Wilkerson founded Teen Challenge, authored several books including the Cross and the Switchblade and also founded Times Square Church in New York City. His legacy continues on in these ministries as well as his writings and sermons. Pastor David Wilkerson is most certainly and undoubtedly comparable to such great Men of God as Leonard Ravenhill, the late Evangelist Steve Hill and other giants of the Faith. Zac Poonen said of Pastor David Wilkerson, “He was certainly the one I respected the most in the USA” and “David Wilkerson was a great evangelist and a prophet – a unique combination of gifts that is almost never seen in the church. He was a new-covenant prophet and not an old-covenant prophet“.

On April 27th, 2011, Pastor David Wilkerson died in an automobile accident at the age of 79 years old.

 

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The photo of the car you see here in this article is the car that Pastor Wilkerson was driving. As you can see, the accident was horrible! This begs the question: “After decades of faithfulness to the Lord, why would the Lord allow Pastor David to die in such a violent way?”

He faithfully served the Lord; he was involved in seeing lives transformed by God’s Spirit; his life was given over to the service of King Jesus. By all accounts, Pastor David Wilkerson lived a blameless life, both privately and publicly. So why did he die this type of death?

I believe that the answer is that God wants to teach us a lesson in Pastor David Wilkerson’s tragic death, that if a godly sold out saint can pass away unexpectedly and suddenly, we can all pass away unexpectedly and suddenly! The godliest among us have no guarantee of physical protection while on this earth; at least none of us can say that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt when they’ll enter into eternity.

There’s a teaching in certain camps that states we can believe for “Divine Protection” and while this is partially true, these Believers teach that they absolutely will not die in such ways; that they are somehow protected from physical death in such ways as we see here in the above photo. Yet, what does Scripture teach?

James 4:13-16 “ Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.”

None of us can say what our lives will be like tomorrow, what we’ll be doing or even if we’ll have a tomorrow! Pastor David Wilkerson died in a way that simply cannot be understood unless you see the Hand of God in it. The Lord is teaching us! He’s teaching us that His best servants – His most faithful Generals of the Faith! – can at any moment be called home. This is exactly what happened with Pastor David Wilkerson.

In Psalm 116:15 we read these words: “The LORD cares deeply when his loved ones die.”

The Lord wasn’t powerless to stop Pastor David from physical death! The Lord deeply cared about David Wilkerson in a way we will never be able to comprehend on this side of the grave. Indeed, God deeply cares about you in a way that you’ll never be able to comprehend this side of the grave!

The Father did not stop Pastor David’s physical death; He instead allowed it. He did so, I believe, to show us just how unpredictable our lives can become when external circumstances are at work. Yes, the Lord can and does intervene in the affairs of men, yet sometimes His intervention is to allow a situation which will bring about our deaths in a way that we did not expect.

All of this should give us cause to consider how we live our lives. Do we live daily for Jesus Christ or are we half hearted disciples who are so self deceived that we would never in a million years think that we’d die in such a way? Are we surrendered to the Lord fully or do we continue to flirt with sin and hidden lusts, believing we’re getting away with it?

At any moment you or I can be called to our own physical deaths; at any moment that could be our own car on the highway! None of us are guaranteed another breath, let alone another day! We’re no different in weakness than a rose which is here one day in it’s beauty and then withered the next day, dead and gone.

Let us run this race with patience, endurance and with full assurance that God has everything under His complete, total control and care; just as He had Pastor David Wilkerson under HIs complete, total control and care. Whether the Lord allows us another day or not isn’t our business; our business is to be about the Father’s business, doing the work of the Kingdom until the day that He calls us home. Whether He calls us home in the same type of way that He called Pastor David Wilkerson or by some other means, let us continue to love Him, serve Him and walk in obedience to Him.

In Christ,

Dan

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