“Can you please help me? Please! Everybody else keeps cutting me off and can’t take it one more time. I don’t know what to do – – I’ve called and called – -“
Sheer urgency, and desperation diffused with pain, colored every loudly spoken word.
I was nearly out the door when my phone rang. Hesitating, I only answered because of a Holy-Spirit prompting. With every fiber of my being, I restrained a hurried, staccato-type answer and infused my voice with as much cheerfulness as possible.
My errands beckoned, but promptings from above beckoned more loudly. It’s never convenient, so I settled my briefcase on the floor, put down my purse and sat at my desk.
“I’ve been calling all over the place for the last four hours and can’t seem to find anybody to help me,“ the voice continued, still pleading.
“It’s okay – – – calm down and tell me what the problem is,” I spoke in deliberate, empathetic tones.
“Take a breath and I’ll do what I can once I understand what you need,” I said further.
A couple of halting sputters, and then some breathy sobs were the only responses.
Apparently, my caller’s tooth had broken that morning while she was in conversation with another mother. Horribly embarrassed, she told me that this time it was a front tooth.
For the next many minutes, I heard about her plight, an abusive husband, abusive father, the divorce, broken promises, her relocation to the Central Valley and no job. Medi-Cal wouldn’t pay for all her broken, decayed teeth to get fixed and she didn’t know where to turn. She indicated her desire to work, and that job applications had been turned in. Now the call-backs were starting to come.
Panic rose in her voice as she expressed her fear of being turned away if she showed up for an interview with her teeth in such poor condition. She took another breath to continue, but I stopped her.
My notion was that I had better get things under control so she could receive whatever God had for her.
Instructing her to take another breath, I indicated that she should close her eyes. When she was still, I began to pray. Halfway through, muted sobbing echoed on the other end of the phone. I continued on anyway. When the Amenfinished the prayer, she sniffed and cleared her throat.
“Thank you for praying for me. Thank you. I was raised in church, but since all this stuff has been happening, I don’t even know where my Bible is anymore. My sister said I just had to have enough faith and things would turn around.” She told me to watch a lady named Joyce Meyer.
“But, HOW LONG do I have to wait? HOW LONG?? I have been like this a long time and I’m so exhausted that I never seem to get a break. Most of these thirty-seven years have been nothing but struggle, struggle, struggle!!”
A bundle of other negativisms flowed and I listened.
“Alright, I hear you,” I spoke in unhurried tones, softly, yet with authority.
“You haven’t reached someone who doesn’t understand. I do. I understand about being abused and neglected as a child. I DO understand rotten teeth and dental pain. I understand a husband who doesn’t take responsibility and leaves. I understand going hungry. I understand not being able to fix my own teeth, or getting medical care for myself because the kids take priority. I understand your frustration and your feeling of being without hope.”
“But…there is one thing I understand more, and that is that Jesus didn’t come to this world to give you more faith so YOU could do something about your sin and your problems. You have it all backwards.”
Many gentle words fell more graciously and powerfully than I knew I could manage on my own. Thank you Lord.
“I know this: if you give yourself and your problems to Jesus, that doesn’t mean the problems will vanish lickety-split. It took a while for you to get yourself in the mess and it will take a while to get out. “
However, it DOES mean that Jesus will get in the middle of the problems and bring His peace. Once your heart is peaceful, you will be able to see more clearly and God’s Holy Spirit will be able to act in your behalf without you getting in the way trying to solve everything on your own.”
“And, by the way, all those negative things that keep rolling out of your mouth? You are canceling your own blessings every time you speak. Let’s ask God to help you turn those negative thoughts around. Every time one comes, stop yourself and say, ‘Thank You, God, that You are meeting all my needs.“
I paused, “Can you do that?”
“Y e s “ came a tiny, sincere voice.
“Then I am going to pray with you again and you are going to get God involved back into your life. You didn’t call me or reach me by accident. God knew where to send you so you can get what you really need.”
In brief, she gave her life back to God and received some more instruction from me. Impressed that it wasn’t ALL on her, but understanding that she did have a part to play; my caller thanked me with voice that had found its footing.
What a change!
It took the better part of an hour and I only had enough time to do the last thing on my list – to get on the road and drive to my meeting!
Later that evening, I located some online info and resources. Before popping it into the mail, I marveled at God’s love and I gave thanks!
The kicker is that I had been cleaning my office and ran across a stack of Joyce Meyer CDs that I had already enjoyed several times over. They waited on my counter while I waited for God to show me who needed them.
Before letting my caller go earlier, I asked her if she had a CD player. She did. I told her that I had a stack of Joyce Meyer CDs and that I had just asked God who needed them before she had called. When I mentioned that I knew who should receive them now, she burst into tears.
“You already took so much time with me, why are you doing this?” an incredulous voice queried.
“Because God loves you, and He wants to show you that He will take care of you.”
“Remember? I said your call was no accident. God knew right where he was sending you. Use these CDs to help keep yourself encouraged, and give God the time it takes to get help to you.”
Broken Teeth, broken lives, and broken promises.
Only God can heal our Humpty-Dumpty messes.