Dennis' Hound of Heaven

A Daughter's Unrelenting Pursuit for Her Parents' Salvation

Hound of Heaven
Photo Source: Unsplash

One plants the seed, another waters it, and God brings forth the increase. Dennis’ Hound of Heaven is the inspiring story of a daughter who never stopped praying for and sharing the gospel of Christ with her parents. In time, through seeds planted long before, she was able see both of her parents come to know Jesus.

Dennis' Hound of Heaven

The words rattled around my head for 18 months, like a pebble in a can:

"Life insurance? I have life assurance. I have the assurance of life in Jesus Christ."


The Seed Is Planted

I heard those words when I made a sales call on a fellow in late 1979. I was selling life and group health insurance. His name was Jerry Bliese, and he was a Christian.

 “What are you talking about?” I asked. He proceeded then to tell me the gospel story. As the Apostle Paul writes: "One plants, another waters, and God brings forth the increase" (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). The planting was done on that chilly autumn day in Colorado Springs.

Downward Slide

During the ensuing months, those words hovered just below my consciousness. At the same time, my own life was on a downward slide--I had a troubled marriage, struggled with addiction, and was in one job after another. I began planning my suicide; trying to decide whether to just end my life, make it look like an accident, or disappear deep into the Colorado woods and put a bullet into my head.

God had other plans, though, and he used my 19-year-old stepdaughter to accomplish them.

Cindy and I had been close since she was eight. That’s when I began seeing her divorced mother, Joan. At 18, Cindy enlisted in the Air Force. A year later, she and the Air Force came to an understanding: They didn't want her and she didn't want them.

She agreed to quietly go away; they gave her an honorable discharge, and she headed back home.

The Seed Is Watered

Cindy came back a bleached-blonde wild child, clearly troubled. And then she started hanging out with some evangelicals who told her about Jesus Christ. Soon, I saw a change. She had a peace about her, the rebelliousness was gone, and she talked about this Jesus fellow. Then Scriptures started appearing around our home--on cabinet doors, in kitchen drawers, on the bathroom mirror.

Today, I can look back and see the Holy Spirit was working. My wife, Joan, was raised Catholic, but in good conscience, left the church when she divorced her husband for the sake of her children and her sanity. I began to pester Joan about the Bible. I wondered how it would be to go back 2,000 years and see if it was true, the story of Jesus.

The Hound of Heaven Prays

All this time, Cindy was praying for us. One day Joan said, "Cindy, you're praying for me. I can feel it. Stop it!" Then, the Lord gave Cindy a poem. I firmly believe the poem was directed at her mother, calling her back to Him. "My little lamb...," it began. The walls Joan had built between her and the Lord tumbled down like the walls of Jericho, just when Cindy made the telephone call.

I was in my office one afternoon when Cindy called, ever the Hound of Heaven. She wanted to talk about the gospel. I wanted her to go away. Finally, I hung up. Seconds later she called again. "Why did you hang up on me?" she demanded. "Cindy, it's right for you, but not for me." (I know, truly original.)

"Just talk to me," she pleaded.

Would this girl ever quit?

I said, "I'll tell you what. Meet me in the dining room 9 o'clock Saturday morning and I'll listen to you." I didn't really expect her to follow through, but the Hound was on my scent, and at 9 a.m., trembling and anxious, she began to speak.

God Brings Forth the Increase

And I listened. How I listened. Whenever I think of that day I am reminded of the woman named Lydia in the 16th chapter of the book of Acts, whose heart God opened to heed the message of Paul.

All I could think was, "This is the truth. This is what I've been searching for."

And in God's perfect timing, Joan walked in the back door just then, absolutely aglow. "Have you been talking to Cindy?" she asked.

At that moment, I remembered Jerry Bliese. "I met a guy some time ago who talks like you," I said to Cindy. "I think that's what he does." (I was unacquainted with words like 'evangelism' and 'witnessing.')

"Would you go with me to talk to him?" Yes, she replied, she would. I opened a kitchen drawer, and right on top of all the clutter, face up, was Jerry’s business card. I telephoned him, he said he would be happy to meet, and the following Wednesday we all went to his home, and for hours we all talked about the gospel.

That was in 1981. A few Sundays later, Joan and I answered the call of Christ. I remember thinking, You lose, Satan. Yes, Satan lost me--and I gained eternity with the Lord.

Nothing has been the same since. Occasionally, I remind Cindy how she loved me enough to tell me about Jesus, even when it was difficult. I will be eternally grateful to her--second only to a loving God who sought and saved me.