Friends for the Cross
"It's Not a 'Yikes!' It's a 'Wow!'"
Dave and Patti Hills were a couple we fell in love with the first time we met them at the Meadow Brook Concours in Detroit. They were thirty years our senior with no apparent reason to become our close friends. But we became more than close, and the four of us had dinner together at car guy events all over the country. It's interesting how they were never comfortable with us talking about God or praying over our meals together. But our love for them was undaunted, and theirs for us.
I was the speaker at a church on a Sunday morning just ten minutes from their house. We had dinner the night before and I was sure they would come, but they did not. Had I been speaking anywhere else other than a church, I had no doubt they would have come to hear me. During our dinner on the last night of the Amelia Island Concours over twenty years ago, Patti asked me to tell Dave he had to go to the doctor when he returned to Detroit. While he had not mentioned it, she was very concerned something was wrong in his throat. So, I did, and he called me two weeks later to tell me he had stage four cancer with little time left to live.
That's why God put us together with this amazing couple who was far older than us. We loved them, prayed for them, and always made sure that everything we said and did was moving them closer to Jesus. They never had God in their lives, but through us, they knew God was real. We threw out every kind of spiritual "chum" we could think of over a period of ten years, for this moment -and now he was ready.
On that very phone call, I led David Hills to the Lord. That only happened because of our years allowing God to love Dave through us. During his last couple of weeks, he lost all interest in his cars and the car hobby. Patti called me on a Sunday morning asking me to pray for him to calm him down. She put him on the phone, and the Holy Spirit joined us as we had an amazing prayer time together. Dave died later that week, and Patti told me he was in complete peace from the time of our prayer to the moment he passed. My reminding him that he was on his way to heaven gave him complete peace for the last week of his life.
I had the privilege of speaking at his funeral to the royalty of the car industry, explaining Dave's rejection and then acceptance of God and that now he's in heaven. Then I prayed the sinner's prayer for all of them. Looking back, Dave and Patti only knew God by our love -and our love led Dave to Jesus.
Here's the most disturbing part of the story, which speaks loudly to the hold Satan has on us. In our continuing relationship with Patti, she still didn't want to talk about God and let us know she didn't want us to pray over our meals. After she watched the miracle of Dave accepting the Lord and asked me to speak at his funeral, she immediately returned to her normal godless life until she found out she had stage 4 cancer! We were in Detroit for the Meadowbrook Concours one day, had extra time, and called Patti just moments after she got the news to see if we could get together.
She asked if we could come immediately, and we did. Patti was in shock as she shared her story. We loved on her and prayed for her and led her to the Lord that day in her living room. God knew the hearts of these two precious people and supernaturally brought us into their lives so they could see Him face-to-face. He's so Amazing! And we now get to spend Eternity with Dave and Patti.
After sharing my faith on a daily basis for fifty years and processing every sermon and every scripture read through the lens of a faith sharer, you start to put all the pieces together. The interconnections of the Bible validated the truth that sharing our faith is the most integral part of our faith. We can't share what we don't have. But when we have wholehearted, unwavering faith, we can't stop from sharing it.
On the one side, James 1 tells us that God's not obligated to answer our prayers when our faith is double-minded. On the other side, John 9:31 tell us: "We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but He is ready to hear those who worship him and do His will" (NLT). It's fair to say that performing the Great Commission, loving our neighbors as ourselves and living our lives for His Purpose is "doing His Will." I love knowing, for sure, that God is listening to my prayers!
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