A Surprise Story About a Hard-Hearted New York City Cop

Bill Wilmerton
Helen Wilmerton

About 60 years ago, in New York City, there lived a six-foot, blond-haired, blue-eyed policeman named Bill, who worked in the Elmhurst (Queens) 110th Precinct. He seemed to be happy, but down deep inside, Bill was very unhappy. There was something missing in his life.

Bill had met and married Helen, and, as the years passed, they had four children. Soon he began to develop ulcers from worrying so much on the police force. Then he came down with bronchitis, migraine headaches, and serious fainting spells. He tried everything to be cured, but nothing helped. He knew that God could help him, but he didn't want to give up the life he was living.

Bill, Claire, Jean, Barbara

Soon Helen's mother died and both were very sad. That Mother's Day she went to church and found just the One she needed to bring true happiness. She accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. She talked to Bill but he wanted nothing to do with religion. For six long years, she prayed for him and kept going to church, even having to sneak out of the house with the children sometimes.

One day, Bill's daughter asked an evangelist at her church to please come and visit her dad. The evangelist came and invited him to church, but Bill showed no interest. The evangelist would not give up, but, instead, he persistently came back and invited Bill to church. Finally, Bill said, "Look. I'll go to church if you'll just leave me alone." And he kept his word!

Before he went to church that night, Bill turned and said to his wife, "Tell that evangelist to leave me alone after the service or I won't ever go back again." She thought that was all right since he was at least going to church, so she told the evangelist her husband's wish.

At the close of the service, who do you suppose came down and talked with Bill? Poor Helen! She really gave up all hopes of his ever stepping into a church again.

When Bill went home that evening, he didn't say anything to his wife. He was unusually quiet. Before he climbed in bed, he prayed, "God, if you're really interested in me, I want you to make something very unusual happen in tomorrow night's service. Then I'll give my life to you and serve you as hard as I served the devil." With that, he climbed in bed and went to sleep.

The next evening after supper, when Helen had devotions with the children, Bill asked for a Bible and read along with them. If Helen thought that was a surprise, she really must have been shocked when Bill said, "Who's for going to church?" As you can imagine, that was the quickest she ever got ready for church. As a matter of fact, she went out the door, forgetting to take her apron off!

Be still and know that I am God Photo by Josiah Davidson The service went on as usual, and Bill really wasn't paying too much attention. The evangelist got up to speak, and a lady in the back of the church stood up, pointed her finger straight at him, and said, "Be still and know that I am God!" The evangelist, although a little shaken, took his seat again. Everything became so quiet that you could almost hear a pin drop. Bill began to get a little uneasy.

For over an hour, the quietness continued. By this time, Bill began to wonder if God actually heard his prayer. The evangelist again stood up, but instead of preaching, he said, "I feel we should all get down on our knees and pray."

Everyone knelt down to pray except Bill. The conviction he felt was no small thing. Helen quietly reached over and tapped him on the knee and said, "Bill, won't you get down and pray?"

That was all he needed! Down he went on his knees, and he began to weep before the Lord. The whole congregation also began to weep. People who hadn't cried for years cried that night.

What a peace Bill had in his heart when he went home that night! He found that Something that had been missing in his life. Helen was so happy she could hardly keep from shouting for joy.

From that day on, Bill never had to eat anymore baby food for his ulcers, because Doctor Jesus had taken them all away. He never suffered again with bronchitis or migraine headaches, because Jesus had taken them away also. The Police Department surgeons were absolutely dumbfounded when, after examining him, they could find nothing wrong. They said, "What doctor did you go to?"

Bill gladly said, "Doctor Jesus." All they could do was shrug their shoulders in amazement. He was a living testimony to God's miraculous healing power.

The story doesn't end here, because Bill worked for two more years before retiring from the police department and then went to Bible school to study to become a minister.

Right up until his last breath on May 25 of 1982, Bill remained one of the best ministers and teachers of the gospel. At least I think so, because he's my dad!

- Lovingly prepared by his daughter, Barbara (Wilmerton) Haas

NYC Cop to God's Man
A moving letter from Dad to Mom

Radio Drama

Unshackled! has prepared a radio drama, featuring my dad's story. The radio production took place on Saturday, February 9, 2002, and was aired on May 19, 2002. I am adding a link here so you can listen to the drama online. You will need the RealAudio player in order to listen.

The Missing Link
Linking Troubled Youth and Adults with Life-Changing Programs
Web site - www.misslink.org
Chapel Site: www.childrenschapel.org

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