He's Got Your Number! by Loisa Guzman
"Everyone who asks receives, the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."[Matthew 7:8]
When I was in elementary school, daily after lunch, we had to get on our knees and pray for the souls in purgatory so that they could get to heaven. But having heard over and over again that Jesus Christ had been crucified so we could get directly to the Father, I knew something was wrong with this picture. So, one day in the 3rd grade, right in the middle of prayer, I raised my hand. Now being that this was an old-school Catholic school, any defiance or straying from the norm was basically regarded as a mortal sin. Nevertheless, despite the deadly look from Sister Dominic, the 4-foot nun we'd nicknamed "Sister Dynamite," I persisted.
"Young lady, this had better be a matter of life or death!" Sister Dynamite bellowed.
"Oh Sister, it is a matter of life and death," I assured her. "If Jesus died on the cross so we can get to heaven, why must we pray for the souls in purgatory? Won't they get there because of what Jesus did for them?".
The only reason my heresy didn't get me expelled was because I was an A student, but you can best believe I was severely punished for challenging the "responsibilities of a proper Catholic child."
That experience taught me---wrongly---that there was no room for me and my questions in God's kingdom, but in reality, God never took His hand off my shoulder, even when I went asking, seeking, and knocking in the wrong places. As I look back on my days as a disco queen, I realize that there were some pretty dangerous scenes as the mid 70s and 80s clubs where I was a regular. These places were clearly lions' dens of sex, alcohol and drugs, but "...I escaped and am here to tell you about it!" [Job 1:16].
As I moved on from my disco days, God continued His subtle prodding. In college I had a boyfriend that I'd see every single day except Sunday.
"Why can't we ever do anything on Sundays?" I'd whine every weekend.
"Sunday is my family day," he'd tell me, "I spend time with my church family and my actual family. Come to church with me some time."
I was curious, but I had had enough of "church". The church that I knew was a place of angry nuns, despotic priests, and obscure rituals, and I quickly replied, "Nah...I'll pass. Church isn't my thing."
That was God knocking on my door, and even when I refused to let Him in, He kept on knocking. For 3 years I worked for a lovely couple who never failed to invite me to their Wednesday bible study. I mean---Bible study? Who studies the bible? The bible is for priests to read from on Sundays at church! Now I know that "all scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching...so that (we) may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." [2 Timothy 3:16] But then my answer was, "Thanks. I have book club on Wednesdays. Maybe some other time."
"Ok, dear. You're always welcome. You're in our prayers."
And God kept knocking.
A few years went by. My son was a little boy, and it pained me that as an event planner I hardly had time for him. I was a single parent, and I decided I had to have a job that would give me time to be with my son, so I went to work for the Department of Education. But in going from private industry to the DOE, I took a huge pay cut--- more than half my salary---and within a few months I found myself back on my knees. "God, I don't want my son and me to end up on the street. I leave this in your hands. We need a miracle."
God's word promises that "...everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." [Romans 10:13] God had been with me all along. The miracle was already in the works. He was just waiting for me to call on Him.
Soon after, I came to know the real Jesus, and 23 years later I can say without a doubt that He has definitely got my number. Whenever I need to hear from Him, all I have to do is read His "text."
God's got your number too, but you might not recognize His ringtone. Be alert and listen for His call. You won't be disappointed when you call Him back!