It’s been three years since I’ve heard the strange voice that changed my life, yet the circumstances surrounding it remain a mystery. Initially his words haunted me, but upon reflecting back one thing is clear. In the end they made me a better person.
I first heard The Voice when I was complaining on the phone to my friend, Dana. “The teachers are giving the kids entirely too much homework.”
“I agree,” Dana answered.
“Max had two hours of math homework before studying for spelling or Latin.” I sighed. “It’s exhausting.”
“Poor Baby!” a deep voice–certainly not Dana’s–said.
“Who’s that?” I questioned.
Dana seemed puzzled. “I don’t know. I’m home alone.”
We spent a few minutes on the mystery, then continued our gripe session without another interruption.
Three days later The Voice spoke again during a conversation with my mother.
“Any news from Kayla?” I asked. Both of us were eager for my sister to get pregnant and often speculated between ourselves the condition of her uterus.
“I know the problem,” I began. “She came to visit me last weekend. I think the time she spent with my wild children drove her back to taking birth control pills.”
The sound I heard sent chills done my arms. It was laughter. Male laughter.
“Who is that?” my mother asked.
“It wasn’t me. Are you alone?”
I was disturbed but tried to forget the incident. However, the next day things got even stranger. My daughter invited a friend from her soccer team to attend our church’s youth group. I was giving her mother directions to our church.
“Turn right on Highway....” I paused as I tried to recall the correct highway number.
“1791,” The Voice offered.
I barely slept that night. Frightening urban legends about psychopaths calling from inside the house filled my mind. I insisted my husband search the attic and closets before bed. The next morning I called the phone company.
“Someone is listening in on my phone calls,” I insisted. The technician checked my service and assured me that no one could be on the line with me.
“Then who am I hearing?” He wasn’t able to offer an explanation, and I got the feeling he thought I was a crazy housewife with too much time on my hands. Subsequent calls resulted in similar responses.
Soon I was hearing The Voice almost daily. He never said much. He just laughed at a joke or offered one or two word comments. After my initial fear of The Voice, I began to get irritated. How dare someone invade my privacy? There were times I had important and private matters to discuss with my friends. The Voice started affecting the things I said.
When Tiffany called to complain about our mutual friend Martha, I had a lot of juicy information I wanted to share with her. I started to add to Tiffany’s list of criticisms when I remembered The Voice. I didn’t know who it belonged to and didn’t feel comfortable sharing what I wanted to say knowing another set of ears might be listening.
“Martha has good intentions,” I told Tiffany, and then changed the subject. “What are you wearing to Ladies Night Out?”
The next day I ran into Tiffany at the grocery store. Her eyes were misty when she hugged me. “You were such an example of Christ yesterday when I was gossiping about Martha. Thank you.”
Her words convicted me to my soul. How many times had I blabbed unnecessary information over the phone? Even though I knew God was always listening to my words, it took a stranger’s presence to shut my mouth.
That’s when I began to think of my mystery voice differently. When a friend needed encouragement, I wondered if perhaps my stranger needed the same encouragement. I often shared scripture with someone over the phone, hoping they ministered to two people, not just one. When I was tempted to gossip or complain, his presence stopped me.
One day I got a call from Mandy, the single mother that lived down the street.
“I’m sorry to bother you, but I need someone to talk to,” she began in tears.
That day I had the privilege of introducing Mandy to Christ. After she hung up, just before I disconnected, I heard a soft, male voice say, “Thanks.”
That was the last time I heard The Voice, but I have never forgotten what he taught me.
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