The phone rings. The caller ID makes me smile, and I answer with a loud, “Hello!” Drawn out for humor…like “HELLLLLOOOOOO!” (This caller knows me well and expects nothing less than the loud, rambunctious, funny gal she knows me to be!)
The voice on the other end is someone I love more than life itself, but her voice is off. She asks me a series of questions that fill me with dread: Where are you? Are you alone? Where are you headed?
I interrupt…what is it? I know it’s something bad. She’s stalling.
I hate to tell you this when you’re in the car (I wasn’t driving). I just don’t want you to hear it somewhere else.
Time stands still. This news is about to forever alter the lives of a family I love. (I beg you to stand in the gap for them today even though you do not know them or their story.)
Do you know these phone calls? Have you had one?
Perhaps it forever changed your life…
My mom in 2008: They were trying to take Dad off the ventilator. It’s not going to work; His blood is infected and he’s septic. I’ve decided to unplug him; should I wait on you?
My sister in October 2013: I’m pregnant.
My doctor in 2010: You have a pituitary tumor.
From a friend: My husband’s cheating on me.
Through the grapevine: He’s cheating/ she lied/ they fired her/ she dropped out of school/ blah, blah, blah.
I could go on. But, three rings, ten seconds, and BOOM! Life is never ever the same.
It’s what happens next that matters most. (I’ve learned this the hard way.)
After the BOOM, what do you do?
Text 10 people? Gloat in their downfall? Repeat the news to everyone around? Post your opinion or your tribulation on Facebook? Tweet it? (Sadly, I am guilty of some of these.)
Friends, if there’s ONE time I pray you’ll stop and pause, it’s THIS time.
If someone has just died, pray. Can you ask for prayer later on Facebook? Sure, if you have the family’s permission. If someone is pregnant, pray. Can you help them spread the news via text and gather others to pray? Of course, with their permission. If someone has made a HUGE mistake and is about to suffer the consequences, PRAY. If God leads you to ask for prayer on Facebook, do so if you have his/her permission. Or say something vague like…please pray for my friends. Life is hard. If God leads you to discuss this with your pastor because you’re struggling with the news and its implications, do so.
But, please…pray and check your motive before you post or pass any information.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
These are HUMANS. Who make/made human mistakes. And God is teaching me that we are all just ONE decision from making a mistake that could cause a BOOM phone call.
A split second decision…
To change lanes – when there’s a car already there.
To text the co-worker back and encourage him/her to communicate with you – while you’re married.
To have sex when you know you should not.
To take the money.
To punch the guy.
To share another’s secrets.
To cheat, to lie.
ALL OF US. One decision away.
If you’re a Jesus follower, I ask you to remember who you are when you hear BOOM news. You believe in a God that is forgiving. One who is just. One who loves each and every one of us – all the sinners – equally. Are their consequences for actions? Of course. Should you be mad? Feel betrayed? Feel let down? Probably so.
But this God we serve is in the redemption business. He makes all things new. His grace is sufficient for you and for me. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. (All straight from His Word.)
And when the hurting refuse to engage the loud mouths? The crucifiers?
Stand with them. Refuse to join the crowd shouting, “Crucify, crucify.” Instead, pray.
Notice that Jesus didn’t defend himself to the Pharisees – or anyone. The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.
And to the family I love so very much, I think no different of you. I don’t pretend to understand, but I don’t need to. KNOW you are LOVED. Know I am taking you to his feet each and every day in prayer. Know there’s forgiveness for repentant hearts. Be still…and KNOW that He is God.