David Watson: A leader who finished well

David Watson Anglican church leader and author, David Watson is one of my heroes of the faith. “Fear No Evil” is the personal account of his losing battle with cancer. In January 1984 he flew to California to his friend, John Wimber's Vineyard church for an intense time of prayer for healing. Experienced teams prayed with him for two to five hours a day over eight days. Yet everything got worse.

Watson recalls:

The asthma persisted, so that I slept badly each night; my legs, ankles and feet blew up like balloons; and my abdomen grew at an astonishing rate until I looked like a pregnant woman. . . My arms and shoulders withered into mere skin and bones. . . I looked more dead than alive.

However God has been far from inactive in my life. At about one a.m. . . . I had a bad asthma attack. In my helplessness I cried out to God to speak to me. I’m not very good at listening to God, but between one and three a.m. God spoke to me so powerfully and painfully that I have never felt so broken before him. . .

He showed me that all my preaching, writing and other ministry was absolutely nothing compared to my love relationship with him. . .

God also showed me that my ‘love’ for him meant nothing unless I was truly able to love from my heart my brother or sisiter in Christ. As the Lord put various names into my mind I began to write letters to about twelve people asking for forgiveness for hurting them. . . It was the most painful pruning and purging I can remember in my entire Christian life. . .

Whatever else is happening to me physically, God is working deeply in my life. His challenge to me can be summed up in three words: ‘Seek my face.’ I am not now clinging to physical life (although I still believe that God can heal and wants to heal); but I am clinging to the Lord. I am ready to go and be with Christ for ever. That would be literally heaven. But I am equally ready to stay, if that is what God wants.

'Father, not my will but yours be done.' In that position of security I have experienced once again his perfect love, a love that casts out all fear.

These were the last words he wrote.

“Fear No Evil: One Man Deals With Terminal Illness” (David C. K. Watson), 170-1.

Spiritual Formation