Friday, August 28, 2009
It's 3 AM
That line started one of the more notable commercials of the last election primary campaign. Then Senator Hillary Clinton used the prospect of a phone ringing in the White House while a family slept in their home to claim an advantage in experience over her rival, Sen Obama. We all know how well that worked in convincing the Democratic voters.
But phones do ring at 3 AM, and they often do signal a crisis.
Perhaps it is a sign of experience as a pastor that when the phone rings in the middle of the night, you immediately think that something has gone dreadfully wrong. There have to be calls being made to let family know that someone got home safe, pulled through, or entered this world to a joyous reception. But when the phone rings in the home of a pastor chances are someone needs help. Of all the skills I have been taught in two seminary programs, numerous conferences, and through literally thousands of books over the years, not one has addressed what to do when that phone rings.
Here's the most important thing you can do:
Start praying while it is ringing for clarity, wisdom, and for God to act on behalf of the one in need.
No, you don't know what's about to transpire. But God does, and I'm a firm believer in getting the attention of the Omnipotent God that His servant and the one he is about to talk to - need HELP!
You'll want to do some other things too, like getting a pen and paper and asking for names, locations, phone numbers, and what the military calls a "SitRep" - a situation report of how everyone is doing right now - but pray. Pray. Pray.
A pastor who has prayed and thrown himself on the grace of God as one who can only minister out of His grace, His mercy, and His wisdom is a far more effective instrument for God to use for His glory and for the comfort and direction those he will care for.
It might be 3 AM, but we serve the One Who never slumbers or sleeps.