GOD’S GOT YOUR NUMBER
Ken Gaub was a well-known missionary who had served in multiple sites around the world. He had his own radio and TV ministries and a popular outreach program to youth. After many years of fruitful ministry, he found himself drained and discouraged. He was considering leaving the ministry and asking God whether or not what he was doing – was doing any good. This is his account of his turning point. Ken left to reside in his Heavenly home in February of 2023.
“God, sometimes I wonder if you know where I am!” I mused to myself. A melancholy cloud of self-pity enshrouded my mind as I tried to concentrate on driving.
“God, even a preacher needs for you to let him know once in a while that you are aware of him,” I mentally implored.
“Hey, Dad. Let’s get some pizza.” The voice of my son, Dan, snapped me out of my self-induced cocoon of despondency. The voices of my wife, Barbara and daughter, Becki, chimed in agreement with Dan. It had been a long day and it was way past time to eat.
“OK,” I yelled back. Exiting from I-75 we turned onto Route 741 just south of Dayton, Ohio. Bright colorful signs advertising a wide variety of fast-food restaurants welcomed us.
Before I had fully parked, the kids were clamoring to get out. Barbara stepped to the bottom stair of our “home on wheels” and stopped. “Aren’t you coming, Ken?” she quizzed.
“Naw, I’m not really hungry,” I replied. “You just go ahead with the kids. I need to stretch out and unwind a bit.”
I stepped outside. Noticing a Dairy Queen down the street, I thought, ‘I really am thirsty.’
After purchasing a soft drink, I strolled slowly back, all the while musing about my feelings of God’s apathy toward me. The sudden ringing of the telephone somewhere up the street jarred me out of my doldrums. It was coming from a phone booth at the service station on the corner.
I drew near and paused. I looked about to see if anyone was going to answer. The service station attendant seemed oblivious to the incessant ringing of the nearby phone.
I started to walk on past, but curiosity overcame my indifference. I stepped inside the booth and picked up the phone. “Hello,” I said casually.
The operator intoned nasally, “Long-distance call for Ken Gaub.”
My eyes widened and I almost choked on a chunk of ice from my Coke. Swallowing hard, I replied in astonishment, “You’re crazy!” Realizing my rude remark I added, “This can’t be! I was just walking down the street, not bothering anyone, and the phone was just ringing . . .”
The operator ignored my crude explanation and asked once more, “Is Ken Gaub there? I have a long-distance call for him.”
Searching for a possible explanation, I suddenly had the answer. “I know what this is! I’m on Candid Camera!”
I reached up and tried to smooth my hair. I wanted to look my best for all those millions of television viewers watching me. I stepped outside the phone booth looking quickly in every direction. I nearly broke the telephone cord as I stretched it to its limit. I couldn’t find a camera anywhere! Impatiently, the operator interrupted again.
“I have a long-distance call for Ken Gaub, sir. Is he there?”
Flustered, I half-laughingly replied, “As far as I know at this point, I am.”
To avoid any further disasters, I set my Coke down as I heard another voice interject, “Yes, that’s him, operator. I believe that’s him!”
I listened dumbfounded to a strange voice identify herself. The caller blurted, “Ken Gaub, I’m Millie from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. You don’t know me, but I’m desperate. Please help me.”
She began weeping. I waited until she had regained control of herself. She continued, “I’m about to commit suicide. I just finished writing a note and while writing it, I began to pray. I told God I really didn’t want to do this. While I was writing this note, I suddenly remembered seeing you on television in Harrisburg. I thought if I could just talk to you, you could help me. I knew that was impossible because I didn’t know how to reach you and I didn’t know anyone who could help me find you. While I was writing, numbers began to come to my mind and I wrote them down.”
While still listening, I began to pray silently for wisdom to help her.
She continued. “I looked at the numbers and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I had a miracle from God and he has given me Ken’s phone number?’ I decided to try calling it. I figured it was worth the chance. It really was. I can’t believe I’m talking to you. Are you in your office?”
I replied, “Lady, my office is in Yakima, Washington.”
A little surprised, she asked, “Oh, really, then where are you?”
“Ma’am, you won’t believe this, but I’m in a phone booth in Dayton, Ohio!”
Knowing this encounter could have been arranged only by God, I seriously began to counsel with the woman. She told me of her despair and frustration. In a matter of moments she prayed the sinner’s prayer and met the only Person who could lead her out of her situation into a new life – Jesus Christ.
I walked away from that telephone booth with an electrifying sense of our heavenly Father’s concern for each of his children. With all the millions of phones and innumerable combinations of numbers, only an all-knowing God could have caused that woman to call that number in that phone booth at that moment in time.
Nearly bursting with exhilaration, I bounded up the steps into the bus. I wondered if my family would believe my story.
“Barb, you won’t believe this! God knows where I am!”