When a stranger texts–and God answers
By lamp’s soft light on this chill April day, I open the Word. And this is the verse that I read. “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him (2 Chron. 16:9a).” What follows is true. I carry the proof, and I’ve changed the name to protect her…
On a hot August night, I hear it. My phone tweets with an incoming text. I pick it up. Huh.
It’s a number I don’t recognize. The area code is unfamiliar; it’s not listed in my contacts. And then–tweet, tweet. Before I can compose a reply, two more have come in.
Before my eyes, a heart is breaking. “Hey, it’s Carissa. Please pray for us. I spent last night in jail…”
Row upon row of words, they crazy-stitch a story of violence and fear. And need, and pain. Bushels and baskets of both.
“Please just pray for us. My daughter is traumatized.”
I tap the keyboard and begin. “Carissa who?” Send.
Another tweet. “???? Who’s this?” That’s what the Stranger says.
“You must have the wrong number,” I say. Send.
“But I can pray for you anyway.” Send.
I remember stopping just there, quieting my heart, turning to the One Who knows. “Lord, what to pray? What to give?”
“Be still,” He says. “Tell her that.”
And so I obey. “Be still,” I type with my pointer finger, “and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted on the earth. Ps. 46:10” Send.
For a moment, I sit, and I wait. Comes the Whisper, and once more I take up my phone. Head bent, I tap out a message into the ether for a girl whose name Jesus knows. “I have asked God to bring order to your chaos.” Send.
Tweet, tweet. “You must be on a prayer list. Thank you!” says Hurting Girl, Unknown. “You don’t know what your timely message from a stranger meant to my daughter and me.”
Weeks went by, then turned into months, and I forgot this story. Until…
In this morning’s darkness, I awaken. Slowly, slowly, from the depths of slumber, my spirit begins to stir. The Mister comes, bending low to kiss me before he slips out the door. And then, I hear it. A tweet.
I pick up my phone. It’s a number I don’t know. “Good morning. This is Carissa. And wow! I just realized that you texted me that day in August! You will be blown away when I tell you.”
Huh? Who is this? What’s she talking about? With a sleepy finger, I scroll up and up, and read that thread. Oh, my goodness. The stranger!
“Yes. You’re the stranger who got the wrong number.” Send.
“I am!!!! Can you chat?” I think of the friend I’ve got slated for coffee in a bit, but my schedule belongs, first, to Him. And I’m curious…
When the phone rings, I answer. And she’s right. I am blown away! For I DO know this woman, this friend I’d met once. A girl I’d kept touch with–through Facebook.
She tells me her story. She opens her heart, and I open my own to receive it. When we’re done, the conversation turns again to that text, the mysterious thread. “I did not send you that text,” she says.
“I’ll send you a screenshot,” I say. We hang up, and before I can send her the image, she sends me one first.
Forever more. There may be an explanation, but words and understanding fail me. On a Saturday in August of 2016, her phone got a text. “Carissa who?” And then, after that, my words. That Jesus gave me to pass to a girl in great need.
She does not have a record of having sent me her story. It’s simply not there. I can see it.
I do have a record of receiving her story. It truly is there. I can see it.
My phone number was not saved in her phone. She told me that just this morning; told how she had gone back into old messages on Facebook to find it, then entered it into her ‘Contacts.’ Which is when she realized what had happened.
I am in awe of the power and the sovereignty and the great love of God, this One Whom we worship and adore. If He can send a text to one of His kids on behalf of another one of ’em, then He can do any thing, at any time, and in any way that He chooses.
“So you know that He’s got your back. This is confirmation of that, and your kids–He’s got them, too.” That’s what I say to my friend. And that, dear soul, is what I’m saying to you.
No matter what, no matter when, no matter where or why or how, God is working, and He’s got your back.