The familiar voice said, "Can you call me right back at this number?" I was spooked immediately. She was supposed to be at my house and the number she gave me was not in our area code. When I called back, I didn't recognize the man who answered or understand a word he said, but was connected with her shortly. She was exhausted, upset and lonely, and hours away. She was safe and had to stay put, but sounded so scared. "What do I tell her?" I thought, "How can I possibly help hundreds of miles away?" My heart was hurting, wanting to make her nightmare go away, but knowing I couldn't.
"How can God be in this?" she asked choking back the tears.
Dead silence. I had nothing. My heart was pounding so hard, I felt a little shaky. Words seemed empty. I wished I could grab her tight and just cry with her. She needed more than that. She needed assurance. She needed hope. She needed to know how God could make things right again. I felt so inadequate.
There was only one thing to do. I prayed with her, right over the phone, but the prayer did not come easily. I didn't understand any more than she did what God was doing with this situation. (I told Him so too.) I asked Him to give her hope and peace and guidance and rest and blubbered all the things running through my mind. I asked Him to give her no doubt of His presence with her. The prayer ended and it was silent again. Where could I go from there?
I didn't have any great words of wisdom, so I asked a lot of questions instead. I thought about hanging up the phone and road tripping to get to her, but suddenly it seemed the circumstances surrounding her stay there were no mistake. Our prayer had brought me direction. There was a reason she was so far away. It was as if God was requiring her to walk through this valley alone. As gut-wrenching as that was, I couldn't override God.
"I have to go now," she said, not sounding much better.
"It's no mistake," I whispered, "there's a reason. You hang onto that."
She sniffed and said "bye" in a shaky voice.
I hung up the phone and lost it as quietly as I could (There were a few people in the next room).
The good news? (Yes, there is some!) She made it through to the other side. It's a long road and it will be tough, but she made it through this valley.
"The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." (Psalm 145: 13b,14,18)