Our son, Don, passes on a story given him by a business contact. The man — whom I’ve never met — offers it as a possible posting. It is indeed worth posting. There are many mysteries in our lives which could be called “providences.” In theology the word stands for ways in which a loving God, a God who cares deeply about the well-being of his creatures, breaks into our lives unexpectedly to bless us or warn us or otherwise do us good. It’s wise for us always to be on the watch for such providences and to give thanks to God, the Father, for his caring concern. Here’s the reader’s piece:
On a Saturday night several weeks ago, this pastor was working late, and decided to call his wife before leaving for home. It was about 10 PM, but his wife didn’t answer the phone. The pastor let the phone ring many times. He thought it was odd that she didn’t answer, but decided to wrap up a few things and try again in a few minutes. When he tried again she answered right away. He asked her why she hadn’t answer before, and she said the phone hadn’t rung at their house.
They brushed it off as a fluke and carried on with their lives. The following Monday the pastor received a call at the church office, which was the phone he had used the previous Saturday night. The man that he spoke with wanted to know why he had called on Saturday night. The pastor couldn’t figure out what the man was talking about. Then the man said, “My phone rang and rang but I didn’t answer it.” The pastor remembered the mishap and apologized for disturbing him, explaining that he had intended to call his wife.
The man said, “That’s okay. Let me tell you my story. You see, I was planning to commit suicide on Saturday night, but before I did I prayed, ‘God, if you’re there, and you don’t want me to do this, give me a sign now.’ At that point my phone started to ring. I looked at the caller ID, and it said, ‘Almighty God.’ I was afraid to answer!”
The reason it showed on the man’s caller ID that the call came from “Almighty God” is that the church the pastor was serving is called Almighty God Tabernacle!
I wonder if others of my readers have had experiences that proved to be providential, in the end bringing blessing to their lives. We are sometimes visited by providences that at first are unwanted and even are disruptive of life’s comfortable routines, but in time they turn out to bring good our way. As Francis Thompson wrote in his famous poem, The Hound of Heaven, God’s love at times makes him seem to be just that — the hound of heaven.