As I read William Johnsson’s article earlier this morning, the overwhelming sense within me was that something wasn’t right about the picture that was being painted of Des. While I cannot claim that I knew Des well, the occasional encounters I had with him over the past decade and the recordings of teachings made many years ago had left me with a very different sense of Des than what was being written about in the article and in some of the comments. Then when I read Gill’s reply this evening, I thought,now that is the Des I saw. Thankyou Gill for setting the record straight (thought you likely only touched on the tip of the iceberg).
If I had to describe my perceptions of Des in one word, that word would be “Christlike”. I actually can’t recall any other ‘preacher’ that I have heard be as honest and open about their own humanity as I heard Des be on every occasion I heard him speak. Humble is one of the key impressions I have of Des - so much so that I remarked about this attribute in particular when others asked me about the meetings I had attended where Des was speaking.
The other standout attribute of Des was passionate conviction. I clearly remember the experience of Matt 7:28,29 coming to mind the first few times I heard Des speaking - it matched what I was experiencing when hearing Des expound the Word of God. It makes sense - Des walked what he talked. You can’t fake that.
It is easy for people to mistake passionate conviction for a need to be right. They can look similar on the surface. But the difference is the underpinning heart motive. I saw no evidence that Des was motivated by any self-based motivation. Rather, I saw a mountain of evidence that he was motivated by the desire to honor and serve God by searching out the evidence for God’s goodness and grace - and then to serve others by sharing the true Good News of that goodness and grace. I do not believe it is too strong to say that Des was a modern day example of a man after God’s own heart.
In my opinion, I believe that the words of 2 Tim 4:7,8 can be validly applied to Des:
" I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me in that day; but not only to me, but also to all those loving His appearing."
Only in eternity will we see the magnitude of the positive impact that Des - a humble and passionately convicted servant of God - had across this earth in the time we were blessed to have him with us.
Rest for now, good and faithful servant…
[PS: I believe this article should have been titled: Des Ford: The Perils of Being in the Right.]