Next Friday, May 24th marks the 12 year anniversary of the home going of my Granddaddy. Can I tell you a little bit about him? Oh good, thank you. I’ve got a two-part series about him, but really could write a whole book about the wisdom he passed down to me. In fact, one has been written already. You should read it
My Granddaddy, Dr.T.W. Wilson, was one of the wisest, kindest, sweetest, funniest, Godliest men I’ve ever known. He gave up his own personal ministry as a Pastor when one of his best friends, Dr.Billy Graham, told Granddaddy that he really needed his help in his own ministry. So, for over 50 years Granddaddy served in ministry with him and soon became his right hand man. He did whatever was needed to help the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s mission of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was a servant leader if ever I’ve seen one. When I think of the word “faithful” defined, I think of my Granddaddy. He would fill in and preach, help research for sermons, arrange meetings, work out travel details, field calls, handle press releases, mentor people, pray with “Uncle” Billy, and even stand as a bodyguard sometimes with his U.S. Marshal badge. Whatever the task was- great or small- he was faithful in making sure the gospel was spread.
About two months before Granddaddy went to Heaven, I drove to the airport with him to drop off a car for my parents, who were in Israel at the time. My parents had wanted my sister and me to go on the trip, but my teenage self thought basketball was more important. It turned out to be a good thing that I stayed home, though, because I may never have had the opportunity to have the car ride conversations with Granddaddy that I did that day. It was a journey that was arranged by our Sovereign God.
And I learned so much about the sovereignty of God from Granddaddy that day. Anybody who has even an inkling of knowledge about my Granddaddy knows that his life verse was Romans 8:28, “And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.” When he was younger, he was a dead ringer for the famous comedian, Bob Hope. People would often stop him in public and ask for his autograph and he would explain that he wasn’t actually Mr.Hope. Finally, on at least one occasion, he relented and gave the person an autograph. He signed it, “Bob Hope… Romans 8:28.” I never knew why that verse meant so much to him, though, until we shared that buggy ride to town.
When he was a young man, he was to fly home to Charlotte, North Carolina. He had a standby ticket and when he went to board the plane, the stewardess said, “I’m sorry, Mr.Wilson, but another man who had gotten his ticket earlier will be taking your spot.” This made him really irritated and angry, so he voiced his complaints. He ended up taking a bus home to Charlotte, still upset about his missed flight. When he got to his parents’ house, his father opened the door and started sobbing when he saw him. “Oh son! Oh son!” he shouted in between tears. Granddaddy didn’t know what on earth was the matter. Great Granddaddy Wilson finally got the words out to tell him what was wrong. The plane that my Granddaddy was supposed to be on had crashed and everyone on it had been killed.
I wouldn’t be typing this today if my Granddaddy had gotten on that plane. God had a great purpose and calling on Granddaddy’s life. Millions of people’s lives have been changed as a result of God sparing his life that day so that he could continue to offer consistent support to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s ministry of reaching the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Granddaddy sure did love his Savior. He wanted everybody to come to know the same forgiveness, love, peace, and fulfillment that he had because of God’s sovereignty, mercy, and grace.
Through that talk in the car, he taught me what it meant to trust in the sovereignty of God. Suddenly, it made complete sense as to why Romans 8:28 was his life verse.
“And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”
I want to be more like my Granddaddy because he wanted to be more like Jesus.
What has God done in your life to show you that He is sovereign…that He has a wonderful plan for your life…that He works all things out for good if you love Him and have been called according to His purpose?