No one has been a greater encouragement to me in the writing of Finding Your Way Back To God than Lane Hunter. Lane has repeatedly said to me, “Dave, I need you to write this book for my friends” or “Dave, I think this is the kind of book that will help so many people who feel distant or disconnected from God’ or more to the point, “Dave, get that book written!!!” This is a picture of my good friend Lane Hunter who stopped by COMMUNITY’s Yellow Box today. Because of his friendship and persistent encouragement it was privilege to give him one of the very first copies of Finding Your Way Back To God.
Whenever, I see Lane I always think, “There is nothing more dangerous than a dying man.” Lane is dying. Lane is dangerous. Dangerous in a good way. At the very end of the book, Jon and I have a section titled, “Deathbed Messenger” where we tell Lane’s story. Here it is…
“Eight years ago I sat in Lane’s living room, where hospice workers had placed a bed to make him comfortable for his last days on this earth. He asked me to come over because it was time to plan his funeral. As he told me what he wanted to have said, sung, and celebrated at his memorial, I couldn’t help but think back to just a few years earlier when Lane found his way back to God.
Lane was a type-A, driven personality who would start his workday at five a.m. and not finish till late in the evening. His obsessive hard work paid off as his company went from being a $100 million business when he started to being worth more than $9 billion when he stepped down because of a terminal illness. The illness brought this ambitious workaholic to a complete stop. When Lane paused long enough to reflect on his life and success, he realized there was something very important missing.
As a kid, his parents took him to church and he had a genuine faith in God, but Lane realized that in his unbridled pursuit of success God had gradually become a faint and forgotten memory. That was when we met.
Lane was sick. The kind of sick that would slowly kill him, but until it did kill him, it would torture his body with constant pain sixteen hours a day. The illness was his wake-up call that something was missing and he needed God. Lane told me, “Dave, the best thing that ever happened to me was getting sick. From the time I got sick, it refocused me. It caused me to find my way back to God and feel so close to God. I would give up everything for what I have now.”
I still have the notes for Lane’s funeral. They have gone unused. It has been nearly a decade since hospice was called, and Lane hasn’t died yet. But neither has Lane been cured. He is in pain every day of his life and only has energy to go out for a meal and spend a little time online exchanging e-mails. Since finding his way back to God, Lane has also found a new identity. He’s not a workaholic creating his own kingdom. Instead, he is a follower of Jesus, sharing his story and helping others find their way back to God.
The experience of being brought back from dead to alive, from lost to found will do that you!
Since planning his funeral, Lane more than anyone has encouraged us to write this book. He is still alive and living one day at a time. I asked him what he would say to you and me. Here it is in his words:
I know that life is but a minute in God’s eternity. So we must take the time we have and make the most of it. Each of us has friends that are aching for peace. Each of us knows people who are dealing with health conditions, loss of jobs, divorces, problems with kids—you name it and someone has it.
Do not be nervous in your efforts. Pray to God that he will use you as his messenger. Ask God to give you the words to write or say. I know everyone doesn’t have the time I do now, but all of us can take time every day to reach out to one person.
It is my plan to do this until the day I die. If I can help anyone to take that first step back to God, I will. My life seemed good for years, but I was missing that personal relationship with God. Now I have found it and it is so important. My hope is for everyone I care about, everyone I know to find their way back to God too.”
If you are wanting to find your way back to God or you want to help a friend find their way back – join Lane and I on this journey and get your copy of Find Your Way Back To God.