Friends and family called him Phil; business associates called him Bill. He was a brilliant older gentleman, highly esteemed in the world of metallurgy. He had helped NASA with a rocket welding problem and made the final welds at top of the famous Saint Louis Gateway Arch. I had the honor of being both his friend and business associate…so I called him Phil-Bill.
On long business trips together he shared stories with me about his life. He was a survivor of multiple car crashes and other tragedies. In every instance, he would always point out how God had protected him because in the natural realm, he really should have been killed. One of his stories has stayed with me over the years—perhaps because it illustrates the simplicity of his faith.
As a young salesman getting established, Phil-Bill traveled a lot. Occasionally, he barely had enough money to get from one place to the next, hoping for a sale. Such was the case one lonely afternoon. He had only enough to pay for his stay at the hotel but not enough to buy food. He sat there on his bed, lonely, hungry and a bit despairing.
These were times long ago, and the hotel room had a rickety old bed, noisy springs, hardwood flooring, and a vent above the door frame that slanted into the room. Turning to the Lord, Phil-Bill got on his knees beside the bed.
“Dear Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank you that I’m yours, but Father, I am out of money and I’m really hungry. And …”
His prayer broke off at a loud THUMP right beside his head! He opened his eyes, and just a few inches away lay a brown paper bag.
Phil-Bill, leaning forward, opened the bag to find a sandwich with an apple. Dumbstruck, he stared at the food. Closing his eyes, and with a smile, he said, “Thank you, Father!”
I remember him telling me it was an excellent sandwich! Later, he found out what happened. Three gentlemen were standing near his door discussing their lunch plans. One had a bag lunch; the other two didn’t. After deciding to go to a restaurant, the man with the lunch just tossed it up through the open vent above Phil-Bill’s door.
Once again, God had taken care of him. He was always telling me that God was faithful, that He was reliable, and could be trusted completely. Phil-Bill lived that simple faith in his life, which was so clearly illustrated by his simple hungry prayer that was answered with a THUMP by his head.
“…for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” –Matthew 6:8 (NLT)
Copyright © 2012 by William D. (Nick) Nichols