I called upon the Lord and he answered my prayer with one unexpected phone call, and one dear psalm.
It was one of those days when I just couldn’t pray. The 11th day of Christmas was upon us, but the agitation and anxiety of Advent had not worn off.
It had been a long, cold December spent in an emotional scramble as I tried to decide if and how I should intervene in my son’s escalating drug relapse. Unable to focus or rest in prayer as I sat in our sunny chapel, I began to pray the 23rd Psalm, which I’d memorized as my go-to-in-a-crisis prayer six months earlier:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,
he makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside still waters,
he restores my soul …
I recited the entire psalm internally and pictured myself resting peacefully beside a running stream with Jesus, even as I wrung my hands and fretted over whether Bernard would get to the rehab facility we had chosen safely—or at all.
My phone buzzed. The text finally I’d been waiting for had arrived, indicating that my son had landed in Atlanta and retrieved his baggage. I ordered him an Uber as planned, then stepped outside the chapel to call the Uber driver to give him a description of Bernard so they could make contact. Shortly thereafter, my son was in his car.
Mission accomplished, I headed straight to the bank to send a wire transfer for treatment.
As I sat alone in the small, gray bank cubicle still wringing my hands, the call came.
“Hello, is this Bernard’s mother?” a man asked. I recognized the number as the Uber driver’s from the call I’d made to him earlier, and his voice from that conversation.
“Yes, it is,” I answered in a worried tone, wondering what in the heck had happened to prompt the Uber driver to call me.
“This is Johnnie, the Uber driver,” the man began as I held my breath. “Ma’am, your son has something to say to you that you need to hear,” Johnnie continued. “Hold on,” he said as he put the phone on speaker. “Can you hear your son’s voice?”
“Hi Mom, it’s Bernard,” my son broke in. “Can you hear me?” he asked.
“Yes, I can hear you, son. Go on,” I replied sheepishly.
“Psalm 23,” Bernard began in a loud, clear voice. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, he makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.”
“You heard that?” Johnnie interjected. “He RESTORES my soul! That is what the Lord is getting ready to do for Bernard—to restore his soul!,” the Uber driver continued with fervor. “Ma’am, I want to let you know that I pray every morning that the Lord will put the people in my car that he wants me to speak to and encourage that day,” he offered before he put my son back on the phone. “And he put your son in my car today so we could have the amazing conversation we just had. Go on, Bernard,” he prodded.
“He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake,” my son continued.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies,” I joined in with Bernard as he continued. “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
“Amen!” I responded heartily with tears in my eyes.
“You know what guys?” I offered in amazement, sure that everyone in the bank lobby could hear me by now. “I memorized that psalm last year and I’ve been reciting it all morning. Thank you so much for calling me, Johnnie! This was God’s way of confirming to me that he’s got this.”
“I’m going to pray for your son every day, ma’am,” Johnnie responded. “And I want to be the one to pick him up when he’s finished this program so I can see how God has restored his soul. You have my number. Please keep me posted on how he’s doing.”
“Dry your tears, Mom,” Bernard said before we hung up. “It’s going to be okay. I love you.”
With that, the banker entered the cubicle with papers for me to sign, which I did with a huge grin on my face before giggling all the way home.