An Unexpected Phone Call

While driving home from the church office this afternoon, I got a phone call just as I saw a car blocking the road ahead.  I answered the phone while taking a detour, and found out from the church member that called why I was being rerouted.  Apparently, a man had a gun and was talking about killing himself.  This was taking place in a restaurant in town.  I prayed with the church member over the phone for the man’s well being, and asked her to keep the situation in prayer as well.

I arrived home and told my wife the situation.  She suggested that I drive back to that area and let them know I was the pastor of Grace Baptist, and offer them any assistance that I could.  She let me know she would pray for me as I hopped back in the car, drove to the street that the restaurant was on, and spoke with a fireman who was redirecting traffic.

“Hi, I’m the pastor of Grace Baptist Church.  Is there anything that I can help with?”

“Just a second.”

The fireman pushed the button on his walkie talkie and after saying some technical walkie talkie stuff, a voice on the other end said, “Go ahead.”

“I’ve got the pastor of Grace Baptist Church here, is there something he can do to help?”

“Not at this time, just get his cell phone number and tell him to stay on hand…On second thought, send him to City Hall.  We can use him there.”

The fireman looks at me and says, “Go to City Hall, they’ll be waiting for you there.”

I hopped back in my car and drove around the block.  The most direct route was blocked by police cars and officers.  I called my wife and let her know how she could pray for me.  I got to City Hall, walked in, and told the first person I saw who I was.  He directed me to a room and left.  There were two women sitting in the room.  I told them who I was and asked if I could do anything to help.  One of them spoke.

“He’s my husband.”

I sat down near her and asked if she would like me to pray with her.  She nodded and reached for my hand.  I held her hand and bowed my head to pray.  I said a brief prayer for the man, asking God to help him through this.  I prayed that he and all of the officers involved would be safe.

After we said “Amen,” I continued to hold the woman’s hand and attempted to comfort her.  After just a moment, she received a phone call and left the room.  I turned my attention to the other woman in the room.  She stated that she was the wife’s cousin.  She did not seem to want to talk or for me to pray with her.  I let her know that I would continue to pray for all of them, and I left the room.  As I walked by the man’s wife, who was still on the phone, I touched her arm and mouthed, “God bless you.”

As I drove home, I wondered if I should drive back and give them a business card, or give a business card to the fireman that I spoke with earlier, but I didn’t.  I pray that I provided some helpful ministry to the man’s family, but the reality is that I probably will never know if what I did will make any difference.  Much of the minister’s job has this same ambiguity.  All I can do is go and do as I feel led, and trust that God is using me along the way.

5 thoughts on “An Unexpected Phone Call”

  1. WOW!! It's amazing when God sparks that feeling that you should do something…I know that may sound a bit silly, but you probably thought about helping when you drove by the detour and then the Holy Spirit was giving Abby the strength to encourage you to go back into what may have been a dangerous situation! Praise be to God for having you in the perfect place at the right time! AND, having grown up in a few small towns, you may learn the result fairly quickly even w/o giving out a business card.You all are great and we miss you around here, but I love that God is using you where He needs you!!

  2. James 5:13-16 talks about calling on elders to pray for those who are in trouble and are sick, and it ends with, "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." I feel that you did everything God asked you to do. I'm glad you didn't give out the business card, because the gesture could have been misinterpreted as a blessing with strings attached, particularly in the eyes of the wife's cousin.

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