Dave Wilkerson was a long time friend and colleague. Our first contact occurred in 1972 when he phoned and introduced himself, and then inquired about my recently published novel, BEHOLD A PALE HORSE. I was thrilled to hear he’d read my book and wanted to make a film based on it.
I arranged to fly to Texas to meet with him and over the next few days we discussed my book, his vision for evangelism through the growing interest in earth's "last days," and we brainstormed an outline for a film.
After our meeting I flew home and began to write a screenplay for the film, to be co-produced by David Wilkerson and our company, FourMost Productions. The motion picture was titled, THE RAPTURE, and it was edited and distributed widely.
Not long after the release of THE RAPTURE film I learned that as a result of my book and the film, I'd become an urban myth that began in the late 1970s, persisted into the new century, and has continued in one form or another for nearly 40 years. You can check it out at:
Following the production and release of THE RAPTURE Dave Wilkerson and I got together to work on another motion picture project. This second film was being outlined months after our son David, then three years old, was seriously injured in an auto accident. He was crushed between two cars while with his grandmother, and began bleeding from internal injuries in his abdomen. He was rushed to the hospital, and without stopping at the emergency room, a surgeon took him straight to an operating room.
It was a scary time, and while on the operating table our three-year-old nearly died twice -- once for the loss of blood, and another when his heart stopped from shock. Following almost eight hours of surgery our little David was hospitalized for almost a month.
When he was finally released to recuperate at home. Sometime later I got a phone call from Dave Wilkerson. He invited Nancy and me to bring our David and come to Dallas to stay with him and Gwen and their children. Nancy and David, with Gwen and the Wilkerson kids, relaxed by the swimming pool while Dave and I worked on the other film project. It was an amazing time for our son and he seemed to have gathered strength and recovery much quicker.
The Wilkersons prayed for us during our son’s continued recovery. It was the strength of these prayers that carried us through the tough days as we experienced miraculous answers to the prayers of Dave and Gwen.
My life was truly enriched by David Wilkerson, short as my collective time with him was in the overall linear paths of our lives. I will forever remember my friend and mentor, and tonight my emotions are painful, and there is sadness and grief. But there’s also a great sense of peace and comfort, because I know that he’s in heaven.
Looking back tonight, I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to work with David Wilkerson because those experiences changed my life in many ways. He gave me a greater sense of spiritual vision; he modeled the urgency of sharing the “good news” of Jesus Christ; he taught me how to pray with greater expectation; he showed me how to focus on what really lasts, and he encouraged me to trust God for the results of my efforts.
Dave was a man who had a special “direct line” with heaven, and he was not timid when he felt that God was prompting him in a particular direction. He shared his thoughts with conviction.
I always thought of him as a mature mentor -- an older, wiser counselor. Yet, I learned when I read the account of his deadly accident that he was 79 years old -- I was only five years younger!
I believe there are hundreds -- perhaps thousands who feel they were also personally mentored by David Wilkerson. And if you never had the opportunity to meet him, or read his books, or hear his tapes, I'm sure you've heard his name, and know of him. I'd like to ask you to please pray for his wife Gwen, who was injured in Wednesday’s fatal collision, and for his grown children and their families during their time of grief and loss.
Also see David Crosby’s article in Christianity Today: Remembering David Wilkerson: