April 21, 2017 by Lee Escobedo
The call came in at 2:20 AM, about a third of the way into my radio shift. I reluctantly pushed the button to connect the phone to my headset. It hurt to say, “Hi, this is Lee, who’s this?” I felt sick, my throat looked pinkish-red in the station’s bathroom mirror, and I knew I wasn’t well.
“This is Angel.”
I had been traveling back and forth from the studio to the kitchen … fifteen feet. I had heated water in the coffee maker. I had poured hot water into my insulated mug, added a spoonful of honey, two spoonfuls of lemon juice, stirred the mix, and then sipped and held the warm liquid in the back of my throat, gargling a second before swallowing. It helped. It soothed my throat for maybe 20 or 30 seconds.
I knew I should have stayed home. I should have called in sick. But then, I would have missed this call.
“Hi Angel, what can I do for you?”
There was a pause, a silence … which is a no-no in radio. Finally Angel spoke, “It’s over for me, man.” I heard exasperation, desperation, and nearly zero enthusiasm in his hoarse sounding whisper.
Confused, I said, “What does that mean, Angel? What are you saying?” I took another sip of my throat soothing concoction and waited. The music was melodic, bouncing through our broadcast world. I kept my eye on the countdown clock. 1:43, 1:42, 1:41 …, before I had to do something, air a spot, talk, or switch to another song.
“I’m tired of this. I’m done.”
My head began to tingle. I tried to listen closer. I tried to make out what Angel might mean. “Okay, you mean it hasn’t been a good day?” I intended to tell Angel about my miserable sore throat, and blabber on about how it was a lousy day for me too, and how I should be in bed, but he cut me off with …
“I got a gun, man. It’s over for me.”
My throat felt raw, but the soreness was forgotten. Angel had my total focus. Scared and unsure what to say, I asked, “Angel, what’s going on?”
He repeated, “It’s over for me, man.” His voice sounded dead.
I panicked. I wondered, Is this guy going to commit suicide? Has he called me so I’d be his witness to death? “Angel, tell me what’s happened? Why do you have a gun?”
“Oh man, no one cares!”
Rage, resentment, anger, disgust, and ‘please listen to me’ were all mixed into the sounds and words he spoke.
If he intended to kill himself (while I listened), what could I do to deter him? I felt absolutely unprepared and inadequate to say anything persuasive to Angel. I asked, “Angel, why did you call me? I’m a radio announcer, I’m not ...”
“Is this a Christian radio station?”
“Are you a Christian?”
“Good, then you’re connected to God, right?”
I glanced up at the monitor. :04, :03, :02. I reached out and touched the screen and sent another song into the airwaves. “I believe in God, Angel. I …”
“I need you to please listen to me. I need you to pray for me.”
Of course I could pray, but I said, “Angel, let me give you the Crisis-Line phone number. Do you have a pencil and paper?”
“I have a gun. It’s over for me man.”
Oh Lord, what do I say? What do I do? “Okay, Angel, what do you want me to pray?”
“Pray for my kids. Pray for my parents. Pray for my soul.”
I prayed. “Lord Jesus, I don’t know who Angel is, but You do. I don’t know why Angel called me, but You do. I don’t know what’s going on in Angel’s life that has brought him to this moment, but You do. I ask You to …”
I heard a click. I stopped praying and held my breath. I strained to listen. I heard the soft, troubling hum of disconnect.
Angel hung up.
I lost it. I sobbed, unable to control my breathing. I put the station in automation. I collapsed into my studio chair. I cried like a baby. Over and over I heard Angel in my mind, saying, “Please listen to me, please listen to me, please listen to me.”
Angel’s call stunned me, ripped out my heart, and exposed my weakness. It was a good thing. Since his call, I’ve learned to listen. I’ve learned to hear what people are saying. I’m not saying I’m good at it. I’m confessing that now I understand that people are looking at me expectantly and asking, “Will you listen to me? Will you take time to hear me?”
Listening and hearing are gifts that, until Angel, I left unopened.
Before Angel, I had only my agenda. I thought about me. I talked about me. I would rarely think to ask about you.
I didn’t know the reward and joy of affirming someone’s faith. I didn’t know how listening and hearing offered hope. I didn’t know how listening and hearing could bridge and encourage a connection with Jesus.
Angel happened to me early in my Christian radio career, on a sore throat night.
Three days after his initial call, Angel called and thanked me for praying. At first, I wanted to kill him for the anxiety and stress he caused me.
But then I realized that God used Angel to teach me how to listen and how to hear. What a gift.
Open your gift of listening and hearing, because someone needs your ear and God’s love. Can you hear them? “Please listen to me.”
You can read this article and more like it in our publication, The Breakthrough Intercessor, located here.