'We never know when an apparent mistake or coincidence
DIANE DEW English | Spanish
Who would be calling this late? I wondered, as I picked up the phone. Although half asleep, I sensed the desperation in her voice.
"No, no one here by that name," I said. "You must have the wrong number."
I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. Her trembling voice, however, echoed in my mind. I could not sleep. Again the phone rang.
With a quivering voice, she asked again for her daughter. She had obviously been crying.
"No, you have the wrong number," I said again.
"That's impossible!" she insisted. I wanted to reach out to her. She sounded so helpless. But I was embarassed.
I hung up the phone, but my spirit was grieved. God, is there any hope for me? I prayed. Shy as I am, I had not been able to bring myself to tell her what I felt the Spirit nudging me to say. I knew I had grieved the Holy Spirit. I remembered Jesus' syaing, that if we're ashamed of him before men, he will be ashamed of us before the Father. I prayed for forgiveness and boldness to be faithful the very next opportunity that presented itself.
But I couldn't believe it when the phone rang again. It was 1:00 a.m.
"Is something wrong? Do you need to talk?" I was compelled to ask this time. (Obviously, God had heard my immediate prayer.)
"Oh, yes!" she blurted out. "I'm calling from the hospital. I'm scheduled for heart surgery at 5:00 a.m., and I was trying to call my daughter because I'm so worried, I just can't sleep."
"I don't understand how I keep getting you," she added, apologetically. "I know my daughter's number by heart. She's had it for years; and I call her every day!" she said, puzzled.
"It's okay," I said. "I think I know why the lines keep getting crossed, or what ever's happening,"
"Are you afraid of -- of dying?" I asked, obviously straining to getting the word out. "Because if that's why you're upset," I explained, "the Bible says we can know that we have -- now possess -- eternal life."
She listened quietly as I continued to share the words of life and peace through faith in Jesus Christ. Afterwards, the caller prayed aloud with me the prayer of salvation.
"I never felt such peace!" she said. Even her voice sounded different.
"You didn't even get angry at me," she said with surprise, "for ringing your phone in the middle of the night -- not just once or twice, but three times!"
"Well, God has been very patient with me," I replied. "Think about it. We can call on him anytime. He stays up all night anyway." We laughed. I shared a couple Scriptures. She especially liked Psalms 86:7, "In the day of my trouble, I will call upon thee..." Then we said good night.
I never heard from her again. Whether or not she survived the heart surgery a few hours later, I will never know. But of one thing I am certain: That night, God gave her a new heart.
I have often wondered how many other opportunities I have missed to share the gospel. Or how many times my witness might have been destroyed through a display of impatience or selfishness rather than compassion and openness to the Spirit's leading.
We never know when an apparent mistake or coincidence might be, in fact, a divine appointment.
© 1998 Diane S. Dew All Rights Reserved
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