David Powlison was promoted to glory a week ago Friday at the age of 69. For many of you David is unknown. For those involved in the biblical counseling movement he was legend. If you’ve heard me talk about idols of the heart – his work on that truth was groundbreaking.
David was saved as a young man, psychology major working in a mental health facility seeing the emptiness, despair and hopelessness of his work. A friend introduced him to Christ. David writes, “I was surprised by joy and the by the love of Jesus.” It was not long after that he became a student – and then a faculty member at Westminster Theological Seminary; later joining the staff and becoming the director of CCEF (Christian Counseling and Education Foundation). He wrote and spoke about how the gospel can change us from the inside out.
David was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last November. He wrote addressing the questions that flood our hearts at a time like that. Why me? “Christ … steps into your significant suffering. He will see you through and work with you the whole way … This reality changes the questions that rise up from your heart. The inward-turning ‘why me’ quiets down, lifts its eyes and begins to look around. Why you [Jesus]? Why would you enter this world of evils? Why would you go through loss, weakness, hardship, sorrow and death? Why would you do this for me, of all people? But he did … If my suffering shows forth the Savior of the world, why not me?”