My cell phone was flashing a caller. I knew a Chad in grade school. Why would he be calling me now? And how did he get my number? When I opened my phone, I realized that it was someone from the country of Chad calling me. How interesting! I soon found out that I was joining thousands of others who have answered this false calling. It was a scam.
Chad, Tunisia, Estonia, Sierra Leone, Moldova, Latvia…this is a very short list of some of the exotic locales from which the phone calls have originated. At the least, it has given me a quick geography lesson and I now know where Moldova is located (for you fact checkers, it is a landlocked country between Romania and Ukraine).
A quick search through the internet reveals that I am not alone. Numerous complaints have surfaced about these international phone calls received by people in the United States. The collective opinion is these are part of a fraudulent enterprise, orchestrated by companies that hire an international premium rate number from a local phone company. If one answers these calls, the scamming company receives a commission. Unfortunately, when the scam began, I did answer the call and was greeted with an “Allo!” in an unknown foreign accent, followed by muffled laughter. The joke was on me since my next phone bill displayed a huge charge to this foreign country.
Aside from the annoyance of receiving these calls, since I have no dealings with any of these countries, I never answer them. However, the scam has expanded to many other numbers in the United States, including ones that share my same area code. Since my cell phone is my main contact for my business clients, I must answer the calls. On more than one occasion, it has led to a strange garbled mix of nonsensical words or a telemarketer informing me about an opportunity for a home loan.
How does one know when a call is truly important? For these cell phone calls, there may never be a foolproof method, however, when God calls, there is no ambiguity.
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:7-10 (ESV)
Noah and Abraham were both called by God to make tremendous sacrifices for an uncertain outcome. Noah was asked to build an ark, a task that may have taken up to 100 years. Abraham was asked to leave the security of his home and relatives and journey to an unknown land to become the patriarch of a mighty nation. I am sure both of these great saints had their doubts, but their faith in God was answered and rewarded. Noah and his family were saved from the great flood and Abraham became the father of the Hebrew nation.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
While there may be doubt in my mind when an unknown person calls my cell phone, when God calls, He always confirms His calling with definitive action.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.