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The Last Resort
There are no answering machines in heaven. God says, "Call on me and I will answer. I will tell you great and mighty things you knew not" (Jeremiah 33:3).

Are you old enough to remember when answering machines were invented? Way back in the last century? The first message I left on my machine was this: "Thanks for calling the Callaways. Please leave your VISA number after the beep." I soon replaced it with another: "We're not here but we've left the Dobermans in charge. Please leave them a message after the bark." Here's another: "You have reached the Strategic Nuclear Missile Storage Facility. We are unable to come to the phone right now. Leave a message but whatever you do, don't touch number seven."

My friend Gord left a winner on his machine. People used to call his house just to hear it. If he was home they'd ask him to hang up so they could call back and listen to it:

"Hello, and welcome to the Mental Health Hotline. If you are obsessive compulsive, please press 1 immediately. If you are co-dependent, please ask someone else to press 2. If you have multiple personalities, please press 3, 4, 5, and 6. If you are paranoid, we know who you are and what you want. Just stay on the line so we can trace the call. If you are manic-depressive, it doesn't matter which number you press. No one will answer."

The Bible tells us that there will be no tears in heaven, no sickness, no mourning, and no answering machines. Actually it doesn't mention these little gizmos, but aren't you glad you don't get some recorded message when you bow in prayer?

Aren't you glad that God never sleeps, that He has promised never to leave us or forsake us? That He has promised to answer our prayers? In Psalm 91:14-16 the Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer: I will be with them in trouble."

You may remember the Heritage Classic between the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens back in 2003. When the NHL announced plans for an outdoor hockey game in Edmonton in November, I thought they were crazy. No one will come. It will be minus 35 degrees by game time. But I was wrong. It was only minus 20. And the fans showed up in droves. More than 55,000 of them jammed Commonwealth Stadium to watch their heroes freeze. More surprising still was the fact that almost one million fans requested tickets.

Rumour has it that one lady called the box office and was denied. So she called the City of Edmonton. They directed her to the Edmonton Oilers hockey team. When she called the team, she was turned down once again.

So she decided to call her son.

"Wayne," she said, "is there some way you can get me tickets for the game?"

"Of course, Mother. It's no problem," he said, "They'll be waiting for you when you arrive." And Wayne Gretzky hung up the phone.

I don't know if this is a true story or not, but this much I do know: We are often guilty of the same thing as dear Mrs. Gretzky. Prayer is our last resort. We look everywhere else for help, and when all else fails, when we are truly desperate and ready to pull out what little hair we have left: we go to the top. Why not let prayer be our steering wheel, not our spare tire? Why not resolve to start at the top each and every morning and live in communion with Him throughout the day? You may want to start by giving Him thanks that you won't have to leave a message after the beep.

Phil Callaway is the editor of Servant magazine, author of a dozen books and a popular speaker. His web site is:

Originally published in City Light News, February 2006.




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