Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: SURPRISE (07/25/19)
- TITLE: When He Calls
By Janene Bever
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A voice from the past, one I hadn’t heard in over two years. My long ago drinking buddy Chris chirped a sincere greeting into my ear. I was momentarily rescued from my emotional trauma by the shock of this sudden reconnect. We exchanged the usual pleasantries, “how’ve you been? what have you been up to?” She quickly extracted my pitiful story of nights of endless partying, boyfriend in jail for a DUI, financial crisis looming, before she shared with me that she was now a born again Christian and threw out the invitation.
Would I like to go to church with her on Sunday? “No way”, I erupted. Been there, done that. Uh Uh!! Not my thing. “I tried it in the past” I explained. “It didn’t work for me”. I continued to wail into the phone, feeling comforted by an understanding, listening ear. She persisted as I resisted. Finally, “What have you got to lose?” she asked. I was stumped. I turned the question over in my head and couldn’t come up with a plausible answer.
Sunday morning found me, her, and my daughter and her friend at a church in a neighboring town. I trudged in sullenly and remained seated with my arms crossed through the entire service. There was a visiting Pastor delivering the sermon I discovered. My friend was disappointed because she felt sure the regular Pastor would say exactly the words I needed to hear.
Finally, after an excruciatingly long time, the visiting Pastor addressed the Lord and asked for a show of hands of anyone who was ready to surrender their life to Him that morning. Shocked, I discovered that an abundance of tears were rolling down my face and spilling onto my neck. All the more reason for me to feel a panic to be done with it and just get out of there. But he persisted. Pausing for a few moments, he announced that he was just sure there might be a few more people out there who wanted to renounce their sinful lifestyles. There were; a few more hands went up. Great, I thought. Let’s finish this up and go. Ah, but oh no. This visiting Pastor was sensitive to the Holy Spirit and he just knew that there was one more person out there who wanted to give in to God.
Then it happened. As I sat in my misery, anxious to exit this fiasco that had nothing to do with me, God spoke. He spoke silently to my spirit and He very clearly said “It’s you. And, if you don’t make this decision very quickly, you may never get another chance”. Guess what. My hand shot up involuntarily as more water gushed out of my swollen eyes and I heard the visiting Pastor say, “thank You Lord. Amen.” And it was over.
As I stood up in shock and disbelief, my friend, my daughter and her friend were all hugging and congratulating me. As we moved out the door, I mumbled something about being afraid that I had just committed to something I wouldn’t be able to live up to. My friend assured me not to worry, that Jesus would help me. She came home with me, stayed all day talking with me and even took me to another church service that night. I don’t know who was more surprised by the turn of events but I’m pretty sure it was me.
That life changing moment took place 37 years ago and we still meet occasionally to reminisce about the blessed morning long ago when the Lord called me into His Kingdom. His timing was perfect as He coaxed me gently but firmly, knowing that I was ripe to say yes.
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