Recently one of our evangelists received a phone call. "You don't know me," a trembling voice began, "but I used to be a Seventh-day Adventist. It has been years since I've been to a service."
The caller faltered, apparently uncertain as to whether the rest of the story should be told. "Yes?" the minister encouraged. "I'm glad you called this morning. Is there some way I can be of help to you?"
The voice in the distance choked a little, then continued.
"I'm ashamed to call you, Elder, but I'm desperately in need of help. Could you possibly spare some time to visit with me for just a few minutes? I would come to your home, but circumstances prevent that."
"Mrs. Green and I will be glad to come right over," the minister interrupted, not waiting to be asked. "What is your name and address?"
With all the information in hand, Elder and Mrs. Green jumped into their little car and were soon spinning down the highway.
"Sounded as though the poor lady was in real distress," the pastor said as they drove along. "Maybe it's some sort of family trouble."
As the car drew up in front of the little run-down house in a poor section of the city, it was evident that some needs existed inside. They knocked at the door and were invited into a cold, bare front room where two untidy little youngsters were taking in the scene with wide-eyed wonder.
"You see, Elder Green, as I told you on the phone, I was reared a Seventh-day Adventist. But like many other young people, I grew careless and drifted out of the church. A few years ago I married an unbeliever. My husband has been good to me, but we haven't had the happy Christian home God wants His young people to have."
Here Mrs. Black paused. Tears welled up in her eyes. For a few moments it appeared she would not have the courage to go on.
"We are glad you invited us here today," the evangelist encouraged. "God has helped many young people just like you to pick up the tangled threads of twisted lives and straighten them out. We have a wonderful Savior, who wants to help us with every problem."
For a moment Mrs. Black's face lighted up with hope. Then the expression faded into one of despair.
"I know, but I've drifted so far from Him that I don't see how He can hear my prayer or how I could ask Him to help us now!" She faltered again.
"Just what is your problem?" Elder Green asked. Mrs. Black's glance surveyed the bare room.
"My husband was a taxicab driver," she explained, "but some weeks ago because of a small technicality his driver's license was taken from him. Without his license he has been out of work. You see the results. Now we are out of food. My husband is out now trying to find work, but always it's the same story. For weeks now he hasn't found anything."
Elder Green took over the conversation from this point.
"We will have food in here today without delay," he assured her. "Our local Dorcas ladies always keep a good supply on hand for just such emergencies. Maybe I can be of some help to your husband in finding work. I know one or two men here in the city that I would be glad to speak to about him."
A kindly conversation followed. Information was received. Words of encouragement were spoken. An earnest appeal was made for Mrs. Black to take renewed courage and to give her heart once more to the Master.
"Sometimes," Elder Green explained, "the Lord permits us to find ourselves in strait places so that we will feel our own helplessness and need of Him. Wouldn't you like to kneel here in prayer with us while we tell God all about your problem and your desires? He will hear and answer if we will but give Him a chance in our lives."
The three knelt together while two little children clung anxiously to their mother and wondered who the visitor was talking to with his eyes closed.
"And, dear Lord, please help Mr. Black to find work today. You know the needs of his family and the new resolves of this young mother. Do, Lord, if it could be Thy will, help him to find work today, and help Sister Black to find her way back into the safety of church fellowship," Elder Green prayed fervently.
That evening at the evangelistic service a new face, beaming with renewed hope, was in the congregation. Mrs. Black could scarcely wait to talk with Elder Green. "I'm so thrilled and thankful!" She almost cried with joy. "My husband had his license restored today and was taken back at his old job today, just as you prayed this morning. I'm so thankful to you. Your visit and prayer this morning helped my husband to find work, and it helped me find my way back to God." Sometimes our loving heavenly Father answers prayers on the very same day!
Robert H. Pierson, former president of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.