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KNOCK, KNOCK IT’S GOD’S CALLING! by Dr. Rick McGrath, Ph.D.
It’s amazing as I look back over my life and see the grace, glory and yes humor sometimes God uses to call us into the light. Getting older now as I am, I appreciate all that God has shown me and allowed me to witness the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly. God has used all three in my life for my betterment. Most of all, I have learned that when God comes knocking, he will find a way to get the door open. Remembering back in the day when I use to work at McDonnell Douglas in Huntington Beach in Southern California, I lived some 45 miles away in Riverside. We use to try and car pool in as much as we could back then. Though the price of gas was so much cheaper than today, it still felt expensive when you’re making seven dollars per hour. I had participated in several car pools throughout my seven year employment there. One car pool group stands out in particular. We had a car pool of all Christians so we were able to share the Lord’s word and had church in common with each other. It was common practice for us before we left to drive to McDonnell Douglas as well as when it was time to drive home to pray for protection before hitting the road. One day one of our fellow riders changed shifts and we needed a replacement so we posted on the company board for a new rider. A gentleman name Ron responded to our posting. He called us asking some details and said he would be interested in riding with us. We each took turns driving for a week at a time. Each driver would foot the expense for gas during his turn. We told him our meeting place and we asked that he be on time. The next day and on time, Ron showed up. We all introduced our selves and loaded up for the commute. As usual we started off with the morning prayer asking God to bless us, and protect us. We also thanked him for bringing Ron to us so quickly. Well let me tell you. Ron turned white. I asked him, “Ron what’s the matter?” “I don’t know about all this. I’m an atheist and I don’t believe in God. To me, God is a crutch,” he told me. “That’s ok Ron. We won’t hold that against you. Besides by the time you’re done riding with us we believe you will be a believer,” I told him. “Fat chance! That’ll never happen,” he said. “My wife and I want nothing to do with God for any reason. There is no God,” he insisted. “As you say Ron. I’m going to start praying for you anyway. In the meantime, let’s just enjoy each other and our ride to work and back. We won’t push anything on you.,” I responded. Several months went by and on the way in one day, we passed a shopping strip that had a “Just Opened” banner on it. It was a bible school. Being an on fire, bible wheeling fool for Jesus, I got very excited. I wanted to take my journey with the Lord to the next level. On the way back home, the car pool allowed me to stop in and get some information about their programs. The class room was nicely set up. Lots of Christian material and bibles on nice wooden bookcases. Everything you need to get the academic experience expected. The tuition was a little high but they did offer a payment plan. I was on cloud nine. All I had to do was go home and convince my wife to allow me to pursue my calling to serve God and become a preacher. I got back in the car and told my three passengers what the instructors said inside. I told them that I really wanted to participate in the program even though it was going to stretch my families monthly budget. Before leaving the parking lot, I told them I wanted to pray before we left. I asked God to bless my enthusiasm and provide me with the finances I needed to afford my desire to learn more of his word. I also asked that if it not be his will and if these folks were just hustling and giving out meaningless diplomas I ask God to shut them down and take them away. I asked that he show his hand and protect me from financial harm. Once I was done praying, Ron started to laugh. So I asked him, “What are you laughing about Ron?” “ You actually believe all the crap?” he asked. “Of course! And Ron, I’m still praying for you,” I told him. My other two riders chuckled. As soon a I got home I told my wife of my afternoon and how I am hoping to start bible college. It would be after work 3 evenings per week. Class was to start at 5PM and last 2 hours per session. Of course this would mean I would have to forgo the car pool and bare the additional expense for gas. I told her I felt it was important to me and I was serious about pursuing higher education. She told me if I felt that if God was calling me to do that she would stand behind me. Again, we prayed as husband and wife that God would open the door or close it so tight I couldn’t open it no matter how hard I tried. The next morning rolled around and I was more excited than ever before. I couldn’t wait to pick up the carpool riders and get to the school first thing to sign up. That’s all I talked about all the way in. Ron continued to laugh and laugh. I think he laughed all the way in. Finally we arrived! We drove up into the parking lot and stopped. We looked up and the bible college was gone! All we could do is sit there with eyes bulging and mouths literally opened. The classroom was completely empty as if it was never there. No desks, no books, no bookshelves. Everything gone! All I could do is look at Ron and say, “Well non believer! What do you have to say now?” Ron didn’t say anything. Neither did anyone else. There was total silence the rest of the ride to work. I kept asking myself over and over again. “What the heck just happened?” “How could something that just opened be gone overnight?” Was that something that was even possible?” All day long at work I was stunned. I had a hard time focusing on my job. I kept wondering what my wife was going to think when I told her. What was anyone going to think that I told? At the end of the day, after saying our afternoon prayer for safety going home and thanking God for doing whatever it was that he did to protect me, all we did was talk about how strange it was that I prayed for it to be gone and then it was. Poor Ron kept saying, “ I just can’t believe it, I just can’t believe it,” all the way home. Disappointed, I told my wife what happened after I got home. She encouraged me to keep going and that there will be a right time and place for me to pursue higher education. I agreed with her and continued to study at home. In the morning as always, I meet everyone at the parking lot where we have been meeting for months. This time though, something was different. Ron was running a few minutes late so we waited an extra ten minutes. Right as we were about to leave he came rushing up in the parking lot beeping his little Volkswagen horn. Ron parked the car and when he came running over to the car we were shocked. We thought the closing of the bible school stunned us, it didn’t compare to what we were looking at. Ron was carrying a bible. “What!?” I said to Ron. “Let me get in the car. I’m sorry for running late!, he apologized. “Ok! Ok!” he exclaimed. “After seeing what happened yesterday, when I got home I told my wife what happened. We talked about it and we realize it was our dumb pride that was keeping us from turning our lives over to the Lord. I figure I need to get saved if I’m going to go to heaven. Yesterday was proof enough for me,” he stated. “If you could show me how to get saved I would be grateful. I see you guys carrying your bible everyday so I dug mine out of the box from closet and brought it with me, he told us. God has some very interesting ways. When he knocks, doors open. Looking back on that experience I realized that what God did wasn’t just for me. It was more about proving to Ron that he is who he says he is. That day he made a believer out of the four of us! SOMETIMES GOD WILL TELL ON YOU! Sometimes God will tell on you! It’s just the way it is sometimes. You may try to hide what you’re doing but oh no! God brings it into the light. I remember when my oldest daughter was in the seventh grade. Usually one that would think through things before doing something foolish. It was a school day and like any other day, we expected her to return home by 3 P.M. Day in and day out she always came through the door right on time. Today it was different, 3:15, 3:30, 3:45 came and went. It doesn’t take long before worry sets in. We had already lost a son who had died of a deformed heart when he was about 6 months old. Once you experience the loss of a child, a bump on their head turns scary. I told my wife I was going to drive over to the school and see if maybe she was forced to stay after for some reason. I jumped into my car and quickly drove over to the Catholic school a few blocks away. I went into the office to see if my daughter was being held after with no luck. I was informed that parents would be called if the child was going to have to spend time in detention. Now I was really worried. What happened to my little girl? Panic set in! Did she get kidnapped or worse? After our son died, I had gone through a religious transformation as some people call it. I didn’t know what to call it, but religious wouldn’t have been the word I would have used. Being raised as a Catholic, in my opinion what I experienced was something far different than how most Catholics could explain it. I guess when you don’t know what to call it, it’s religious. Later I came to know it as “ A Born Again” experience. Yes! That’s what happened. I was born again in and through the Spirit of God! He touched my life and now I had a real relationship with him. Panicked, I drove home hoping she was there by now. I ran into the house asking my wife if our daughter made it home yet. She told me no. Now both of us were worried. My wife suggested we stop and get down on our knees and ask for God’s protection and direction. We did exactly as she suggested. “Lord, please hear our prayer. Send your angels to place a hedge of protection around our daughter. Give me the insight and direction in which to look for her. You know our hearts Lord. We love you and we need you. We trust you and know that you will provide a solution for us. We thank you in the name of Jesus. Amen!” I told my wife that I couldn’t just sit and wait. I needed to get in the car and at least drive around looking to see if I see anything. She asked me, “How will you find her? You don’t know where she is or even which direction to drive.” “I know! But I can’t just sit here. I have to know I’m looking,” I said back to her. I kissed her and asked that she keep praying while I was out. We didn’t have cell phones back in those days so even if our daughter showed up, my wife wouldn’t have been able to let me know. I got back into the car and began driving. It was around 4:30 P.M. As I was heading down the street I began feeling some kind of strange quite voice in my head suggesting I go this way, then that way. As I got about two miles down the road the voice nudge me again. “Stop the car,“ I heard it say. Thinking to myself but there’s nothing out here. A field of several acres and a river that wound through it with trees lining the river’s edge. Not really understanding what was going on but also trusting God to lead me as I asked in my prayer, what did I have to lose. At least I would feel like I was looking. I pulled over and began to walk in the direction that I felt I was being pointed in. It took me about ten minutes to get to the river. I looked around and there was nothing there that didn’t belong there. The voice spoke again leading me to my left. I walked almost one mile and when I looked up I saw two girls sitting on a large log at the river’s edge. All kinds of emotions went through me. Both good and not so good. First I experienced relief that my daughter was safe, then I felt what most dad’s would probably feel. “Wait until I get the girl home! Boy is she going to get it!” At first I went unnoticed by the two girls. As I got almost up to them, they looked up. The shock and surprise on their faces was priceless! “How did you find us?” my daughter asked. Knowing it was really off the beaten path they couldn’t understand how I could find them. “Well,” I said. “Sometimes God tells on you! You know we have a close relationship with the Lord. I asked him to lead me to you and here I am,” I told her. “I suggest you both get up and let me get you home. And you young lady, you have some explaining to do!” Ever since then, I have experience this same prompting on several occasions. My oldest keeps reminding her younger siblings there is no use. Dad will talk to God and he will tell on you. Dad will find you! And I always have!
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