Over the years of ministry I have witnessed many wonderfully supernatural ‘things’, but the story I will now tell you has to be right up near the top of my list. It is about a dear lady who has been part of our church family for a long time now, but it’s not just about her, it’s about God’s incredible love. I use the word ‘incredible’ because what happens defies common sense and stretches our view of how the world works. I have used her real name, with her permission, because I want those of you who know her to be able to verify the accuracy of this story.
I was at home alone when the phone rang and a lady introduced herself as Anne Brown. Her voice was quiet and lifeless as she told me of how her husband had left her. A few minutes before he had walked out the door leaving her and their children broken and lost. So please would I come over at once and pray for her. I had no recollection of her being a regular visitor to our church services but my heart went out to her. However, there was a problem; my wife Pat was out at that time and I was not prepared to visit a woman, let alone a distraught woman, alone. I explained this to Anne but before I could tell her that we would come to her just as soon as Pat returned she said; “Well if it’s too much trouble then don’t worry”…. and she put the phone down! I was devastated. I had no idea how to contact her. What would I do? Just then Pat came home and I explained what had happened. Then I did something totally irrational. I picked up the phonebook and opened it to the start of the section listing all the Brown’s. Do you know how many Brown’s there are in the Johannesburg telephone directory?! I knew her first name was Anne but I assumed that the number would be listed under her husband’s initials. I prayed with simple faith; “Please Lord, show me which number to dial” and let my finger move down the long list of names. I don’t know why it stopped where it did, but I picked up the phone and dialled the number it indicated. Anne answered!
She gave me her address and Pat and I went to visit. She told a heart-breaking story of her upbringing, marriage, and abandonment. When she had finished, and before we prayed together, I asked; “How come you phoned me in particular Anne?” She immediately explained that she didn’t know any pastors in the area but had seen me on television when they broadcast our evening service just a few days ago. I was lost for words. At that stage we did not have an evening service, none of our services had been filmed, and I had never been on national television!
Isn’t God amazing!? I cannot even begin to imagine how He pulled it off! Anne soon joined our church family and is to this day a loved and involved member. A few years ago I asked her to think back and tell me honestly if she could have been mistaken. But no, it was all true – it happened just as she had said it did. What is impossible for us is well within God’s ability… after all, He is… God.