None of us expect a phone call from somebody important.
What are the chances that a world leader or celebrity would call us? We just cannot fathom that anyone of notoriety would dial our number and invade our humdrum existence.
I suspect that’s why Franco Rabuffi of Italy hung up on a man who identified himself as Pope Francis. Then the “prankster” called again, claiming he was Pope Francis. Franco hung up again. “Yeah, sure, like I’m gonna get a phone call from the Pope, right!”
His phone rang again. Franco picked it up and listened as Pope Francis himself pleaded with Franco not to hang up on him. Franco was speechless as it began to dawn on him that he had hung up on the Pope – twice! But Pope Francis put him at ease and laughed over the matter. It turns out that Pope Francis has a habit of personally calling people who write to him. Franco Rabuffi was ill and he wrote a letter to the Pope. So the Pope called him to pray for him and wish him well.*
You know, it is a universal tendency for people to dismiss any possibility that someone important might be thinking about them, concerned about their welfare, or calling their name. Nevertheless, in 1 Samuel 3:2-10 a young boy heard the voice of God. He thought it was only the voice of a man. It took three times for a young Samuel to realize that the LORD Himself was calling.
“But God’s got a universe to run. He can’t possibly be interested in me,” we reason. I suspect that, every day, the God who knows every detail of your life is calling your name, protecting you from injury and danger, and is continually working behind the scenes on your behalf to draw you closer to Him and make you more like Him.
Do you ever feel invisible?
There is another biblical story of a man named Nathaniel. The first chapter of the Gospel of John records that Nathaniel was sitting under a fig tree, probably meditating on an issue that gnaws away at every heart:
We read through the Bible of people, people who were not particularly good, yet God revealed Himself to them and worked wonders on their behalf. If this is so, then why are sincere seekers of God seemingly ignored?
It seems that Nathaniel was thinking particularly of the patriarch Jacob. Jacob was not a seeker after God. He used his own wits to get what he wanted – which frequently got him in trouble. Yet, at a place called Bethel, God revealed Himself to Jacob in a dream in which He stood at the top of a great ladder stretching from earth to heaven, with angels ascending and descending upon it. (Genesis 28:11-22)
Perhaps Nathaniel thought, “If God gave such special attention to a man like Jacob, who was a deceiver, then why do I – who long to be near God – feel so anonymous, so invisible in the sea of humanity?”
Just then, Nathaniel’s friend Philip appeared. An excited Philip claimed to have found the promised Messiah – Jesus from Nazareth.
Nathaniel scoffed, “From Nazareth? Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Yet Nathaniel went with his friend to see this so-called Messiah.
The God who knows every detail of your life is calling your name
As Nathaniel approached Him, Jesus called out, “Look, a true Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
“How do you know me?” a skeptical Nathaniel asked.
“Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
Jesus had heard his prayer, noticed him among the sea of humanity, and was now calling Nathaniel to follow Him.
Nathaniel immediately replied, “Master, You are the Son of God, You are the King of Israel!”
“Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (John 1:45-51, NKJV)
He knows your name, knows your address, has the hairs of your head numbered, and hears the cry of your heart.
He is beside you every step of your journey. Do not ignore Him but open your heart to Him.
Dear Father in heaven, I find it so hard to believe that someone so great could possibly see me, know me, and love me. Open my eyes to Your love, I pray, and make me mindful of Your presence with me. Please grant that I will never ignore so great a love from so great a Savior. Amen.
*Story from Ben Hooper, UPI, May 1, 2015