Staring gloomily out the bedroom window, Reese watched her friend Brendan riding toward her house on his bike.
“Hey, Reese! Why so bummed out?” he called.
With her head in her hands, Reese said slowly, “Oh, everything’s just going wrong, Brendan.”
Brendan parked his bike, then said with a look of mock seriousness, “Tell me, Miss Barlow, when did the problems that led to this dreadful moment in your young life first begin?”
Unable to keep from smiling, Reese grabbed a nearby pillow and acted like she was going to throw it out the window at him. “You sure know how to ruin my bad moods, Brendan Marshall! But I still won’t be able to be in the Young People’s concert this weekend.”
“What are you talking about? Did you forget how to play your cello or something?”
“No, dummy. I accidentally broke it yesterday. When Mom took it into the repair shop this morning they said they couldn’t have it fixed before the concert.”
“Well, at least you’ll be able to sing with the choir.”
“It doesn’t look like it. I woke up with a really sore throat this morning. So you guys have a good time without me, okay? I’m not much use to the Lord right now.”
“Hey, don’t talk like that! The Lord has given you more to serve Him with than just singing and playing your cello!”
Brendan thought for a moment and said, “Well . . . you could . . . uh . . . there must be something. After all, you are the pastor’s daughter.”
“What does that have to do with it? Maybe I’m just a two-talent Christian, and both of them are broken.”
Brendan hopped on his bike. “Well, I’ve got to be going, but keep your chin up, Reese. I think the Lord can use you even when you’re broken!” He headed off with a smile, shouting back, “I’ll pray for you!”
Reese turned away from the window thinking. If this sore throat goes away at least I’ll be able to sing. Surely the Lord wants me to sing for Him.
Kneeling by her bed, Reese began to pray that Jesus would heal her. When she finished, her throat still hurt, but she figured that maybe by morning it would be better.
The next afternoon Brendan called Reese and asked her how she was feeling.
“Worse. Mom thinks I may have strep throat.”
“You’re kidding! Now there’s no way you’ll be in the concert!”
“Thanks for the encouragement, Brendan. Remember me between notes while you’re playing your trumpet.”
“I’m not trying to make you feel bad, Reese, but I’ve been thinking about it and I’m sure the Lord can still use you somehow even if you are sick in bed.”
“I’d like to believe you, but it doesn’t look too promising.”
Concert night came and the Barlow household was bustling with activity as all the family was getting ready—all except one, that is. Reese was feeling better, but not well enough to go out.
“Are you sure you’ll be all right by yourself tonight, Reese?”
“Don’t worry about me, Mom. I’m seventeen years old, I’ll be fine! Plus, I have my phone right by my bed and I can always call if I need you. Have a good time.”
The family car headed down the street, and the house was very still except for the old grandfather clock ticking slowly in the living room. Reese wondered to herself why the Lord had let all this happen. She also thought of Brendan’s comment about her having other talents besides music. Lord, she prayed, is there something else You’ve given me that I can use for You? If there is, help me to be faithful. A few moments later she drifted off to sleep.
The ringing of the parsonage telephone jarred her suddenly from her nap. Reese answered the phone. “Hello, this is the Barlow residence.”
“Is Pastor Barlow in?”
“No, I’m sorry. He’s away from home for the evening. Would you like to leave a message?”
There was a moment’s hesitation. “No . . . I really need to talk to a minister.” The woman’s voice broke.
Reese’s thoughts raced and fear gripped her. Could this woman be thinking of suicide? “I’m really sorry that my father is not home, but maybe I could . . .”
“Oh, never mind,” the woman interrupted. “It probably wouldn’t do any good anyhow. Sorry to bother you.”
“Wait! Don’t hang up! Maybe I could help. Do you want to talk about it?”
There was a long silence. Then the woman said, “Yes, maybe it would help to talk to someone.” Little by little her story came out, a story of sorrow and desperation that had driven her to consider taking her own life. The two of them talked for quite some time, and Reese was surprised at the words the Lord gave her to speak in answer to the woman’s questions. Finally she asked the woman if she wanted to pray.
“You mean right here over the phone?”
“I don’t know why not,” Reese said. “Jesus can answer prayer wherever we are. I believe He will hear us right now!”
There were tears shed on both ends of the phone line that evening. But Reese felt that God had brought real victory when the woman promised to come to church the next evening and talk to her father there.
“I won’t think again of taking my life, Reese. I want to thank you for praying with me. I feel so much better now.”
When they finally hung up, Reese felt thankful and happy! The Lord had proved that He could use her.