A few days ago I was awakened at 4:30 a.m. by my cell phone vibrating on the night stand. The picture on the screen showed it was coming from Brooke's number. Brooke has been in Pemba, Mozambique for nearly 2 months, attending Iris Ministries Harvest School http://www.irismin.org/missions/harvest/, and the only times she's called since then have been when she's walked into the village to a restaurant called Hakuna Matata, which has free wi-fi. We are then able to either attempt to Skype (though we usually get disconnected numerous times), or Viber call or text, and it doesn't cost anything. So, in my still-mostly-asleep-state, I couldn't imagine why on earth she was calling from her regular phone service.
I groggily managed to key in my passcode to unlock my phone and slur a sleepy "Hello". Much to my surprise, it wasn't Brooke's voice on the other end, but a Mozambican male, saying his name was Joe and he's a friend of Brooke's. I asked where Brooke was and he replied that she was "in the kitchen getting food". When I asked why he had her phone, the call was disconnected.
Now any mother will tell you that regardless of how faith-filled we are during the day, when we are awakened by a phone call regarding our children in the wee hours of the morning, most of our brains automatically go to a place of worry, and mine was no exception. All I could think was that Nick's phone had been stolen in Tete, Mozambique. Nick and his wife Marlene are founders of Pioneer61, where Brooke will intern for 3 months following Harvest School. http://pioneer61.org/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUEBGp649mw
Needless to say I was now wide awake! I immediately tried calling her back, but it went straight to voicemail. I texted, asking her to call me, so I could hear her voice or to at least text me something only she would know, so I knew she was OK and in possession of her phone. I waited a few minutes, but got no response. OK, now what?! I remembered I had an emergency number to Harvest School, but didn't want to use it unnecessarily, but still I could possibly send an email to someone, so I got my computer out. I had not logged out of facebook the night before and it came up when I opened my laptop. The first person's status which appeared on my newsfeed was Papa Jim, a missionary there in Pemba! Right below him was our sweet friend, Tetra, also a Pemba missionary! Thank You, Jesus!! I messaged them both, explaining what had happened and asked them to check on Brooke for me.
Within an hour, I heard she was safe and sound and that her phone battery had just died, but still no explanation about this guy named Joe or why he had her phone. Finally, I got a text from Brooke with the explanation. Joe is one of the kids who lives at Iris and Brooke had allowed him to use her phone to listen to music while she ate. She had given strict instructions that he not use her phone to call, text, or get online, and she thought it was hilarious that after he disobeyed, her phone had died, providing a natural consequence to his disobedience. OK, maybe hilarious to her, but not to her poor, worried, sleep-deprived mother! ; )
I texted back that I was thankful she was OK and had her phone, but to tell Joe he is on my "naughty list"! ; )
Now that I knew all was well, I decided to go ahead and get my day started, so I opened my devotional book, Jesus Calling for Kids http://www.jesuscallingkidsapp.com/ to that day's date and the title made me laugh: "My Voice". It was hearing a stranger's voice on the other end of the phone that caused my mind to go to a place of worry. This was just too funny! The scripture was Isaiah 30:21, one of my favorites: Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk in it."
This verse always reminds me of an object lesson I did with kids at camp one year. I blindfolded one child and gave him a marker. In front of him on the wall was a maze. I instructed him to only follow the instructions given to him by his dad's voice. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, as his dad began giving instructions, "Draw a line going left...now draw a line going up...now right...", I had everyone else in the room begin giving false directions at the same time. The child had to learn to tune out all the other voices and only listen to his dad's voice. The lesson? Our Daddy, Father God, will always lead us on the right path. His voice will tell us which way to go. It's our job to tune out distractions and listen to only His voice.
I had allowed a stranger's voice to take me down the path of worry, when all along my Daddy's voice was behind me saying, "All is well. I promised to take care of Brooke and I am. Trust Me."
Can you think of a time when you clearly sensed God's voice behind you saying, ""This is the way; walk in it."?