A Transformational Passover Narrative - The Louis Whistler Story
I am not the greatest story teller in the world, but as I contemplate moving
on from this world, I really feel this short story needs to be told for
I met Louis Whistler in Portland, Oregon. He worked hard as a businessman to keep his family well cared for, and Louis was always seemingly joyful in the Lord. His weekly testimonies at church meetings inspired and gave real insights about the church life to multitudes from San Diego to Atlanta and from Phoenix to Vancouver, Canada. He did not accept money for his participation in the church. You see Louis Whistler was one who cared about the church that Jesus died for and rose again for. I am referring to the church that makes a place for all the believers and is not just a follower of some gifted human being, whether this be a worker of miracles, a great speaker at religious fund raisers, or someone who has a hand full of Doctorates of Divinities after his name. Louis cared for what the Bible calls the Bride and Body of Christ.
When Louis was not on the road, he was building up the church, at every opportunity. This meant you could expect to meet Louis at the gathering of the called out ones several times a week, and a brief greeting from him would draw you closer to God, in spirit and reality. He knew not only the Word of God, but the ways of God.
One day, right after Louis returned home from a trip, he and his wife decided to have their young children watched by a sitter they knew, and attend a meeting of the church together. After the evening service to God was completed, Mr. Whistler rushed home to tuck his children into bed. When the Whistlers arrived home, they discovered their house had burned to the ground. The sitter, as I understand it, had gotten the children out, and the fire department had put out the ashes, but a young son, had died in the conflagration.
Let me say that for a year or so, Louis stopped attending church meetings, and he tried to understand why God would allow such a disastrous, heartbreaking loss of his precious child. During the times he did attend, Louis was somber and seemingly had nothing to say.
Being a city dweller, Louis sought out and found a secret place where he could commune with God and ask Him, “Why, why, why!” His new found place of prayer, contemplation, and agonizing, was a ravine with a deep spring rushing out of a thicket and a hillside at the edge of a golf course, I believe. Too many years have passed, and I am certain I have some of my details incorrect. Nevertheless, the story of Louis and Resurrection Life remains!
Louis, after a year of suffering, was searching the scriptures, sitting on a log perhaps 50 feet from the almost frozen spring. He had already been there quite some time, when he noticed a gnarled and twisted branch not much thicker than a rolling pin. It looked strange sticking straight up out of the rushing spring water. Louis was telling God that he wanted his boy back, when he was drawn, a second time, to look back at the strange stick. He sensed something was too odd about it, went over to investigate, and discovered the limb was an elderly woman’s arm attached to her stiff, dead body that was trapped under the water. She looked as if she was reaching for someone to help her but normally one would assume that time had passed. I don’t think Louis had ever done so before in his life, but after pulling the body from the water, he laid hands on the corpse and prayed that she come back from the dead. After pleading with God to answer his fervent prayer, Louis was interrupted by the sounds coming from the woman as she coughed up the water she had taken in.
After, perhaps 15 minutes, the woman was able to stand. Moments later, Louis was assisting her back to his log further from the spring. He complained to God on his way to a pay phone to call an ambulance and rescue team, “Lord, I have prayed for a year for the resurrection of my son, and you do nothing. I pray once for a very aged woman who probably walked away from a care center (later Louis found this was exactly the situation) and she is immediately restored! I want my son!” Louis asked God for help, and God, from what I was told, said “Louis, your son is with me. You take care of the church and I will take care of your son.”
When you spend time in the mission field, it is nearly impossible to stay in touch with everyone, and I have never relocated that Mr. Whistler again. As we approach Passover this story just came into my consciousness. And I hope, if Louis is no longer with us that like the word of the Lord says of Enoch, “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis 5:22) “Enoch was taken to Heaven so that he might not see death,” says Hebrews 11:5. Part of the testimony of Jesus Christ comes from those humans who are simply transformed by a mere touch of the Risen Life!
May your life be one of those touched by the One Passover is all about!