It was around 2 in the afternoon yesterday, after the morning church service and a brief lunch. I was answering the phone calls that came through the church helpline and preparing some church material with the paper cutter. Some calls were coming in about the church van that was to pick them up at home for the afternoon service, as usual. But then the phone rang and a very weak, slow voice began to speak to me.
"I just wanted to let you know...I just took a lot of pills...I don't want to live anymore...."
Her voice trailed off, and I could tell she was crying. She sounded young, gentle, and hopeless. I tried to sound upbeat and compassionate at the same time, "No, you don't need to do that, there is so much that God wants to do with your life, whatever problem you're going through isn't too big for you, or for God," I told her as I quickly wrote down her number that appeared on the caller ID screen.
She didn't answer me, just groaned.
"Could I have your name?"
"I'm sorry, I couldn't hear that, what did you say your name was?"
"It doesn't matter..."
"Of course it matters, it matters to me, and it matters to God, He wants to help you, you believe in Him, right? How did you find out about us?"
"I got your number off the TV."
And so I talked, encouraged, showed her I cared, told her how much God could do for her, and she listened, making hardly any sound at all. I was about to pray for her over the phone and asked again what her name was, and then the phone went dead.
I called back right away, and it rang until the voicemail message came on. Called again, and the same thing happened, then I called 911. Perhaps the police could track down her number and find her and rescue her, but I knew that the only way she will survive is through God intervening and not allowing her to die. That meant I had to pray, and cry out to Him with all my faith.
After notifying the police, I didn't want to call her again since I knew that they would be trying to reach her while figuring out her location. I prayed and knew without a doubt that this young woman did not want to die. She wanted her suffering to end, she called because she wanted to reach out one last time. There was some shred of hope in her and I was certain that God reminded her of our number just so that He could save her.
After a half an hour I couldn't resist and called her once more. The phone rang, and then stopped ringing - someone had answered the phone, and was listening silently. So I began to talk, and prayed and talked and told her how much God loved her and she listened without saying a word for a long time...and then, she hung up.
The police stopped by an hour later saying that they couldn't trace her number and had not yet been able to find her, but thanked the church for its good work. If they really wanted to, had it been a terror suspect or an important person, I have no doubt they would have pulled out all the stops to find them, but it was just a nameless woman - no one worth too much effort for the Houston Police Department to save. Thank goodness we have God to call on in times like these, because unlike our most trusted authorities, He never tires, and is always ready to answer anything we ask for in true faith.
I may never hear of this woman again or find out who she is, but one thing I am confident about is that her call was no coincidence, and that God heard my prayers.
Around 4 o'clock I went downstairs for the afternoon service, and spoke to more women, some with a past of abuse in their family, passively watching the abuse continue in their children and grandchildren; the grandma whose little 6-year-old grandson has his fingers smashed every week with a hammer by his violent father, and forced to watch sexual acts by his father's friend, the 15-year-old girl that's being pressured into doing drugs and joining a gang, and feels an evil presence living inside of her body, and other's whose problems I can't mention on this post.
The stories of misery surround us every day, if we only knew what people were going through around us. They need our help, they need us to care, to pray, to fight for them to be freed from their suffering. The police, Child Protective Services, school counselors, they all fail. Each of these women I spoke to, has tried them all.
If we're not aggressive in our faith, in standing up against the forces of darkness in this depraved world, who will? God is waiting for us to put on His armor and get into the battle, through our faith, through our prayers, through our dedication to reaching out to all those who are slowly dying. If you don't really believe that you together with God can actually make a difference, then this bleak look at the world can make you want to give up. Stop wasting your time doubting God, there's so much He's eager to do, so many miracles waiting to happen, but He needs each one of us to be available to make them happen.
I expect in a few months I'll have a few more great stories to tell about these same women, of the way their lives turned upside down by God's power. In fact, I'm sure of it. But the sad stories around you aren't going to change unless you take up the fight yourself. Once you start using your faith and winning, you'll never want to stop.