KNOCK, KNOCK IT’S GOD’S CALLING!
A Short Story
by 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 ourselves 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 family’s 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 as 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 and she would stand by 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!