When the phone rang in Larry’s office, Bryan, a movie producer in Hollywood, was on the other end asking for some help on behalf of a troubled friend named Mark. Larry obliged and hung up the phone. But when he picked up the phone to call Mark, there’s no way Larry could have known what was about to happen.
Larry Poland, a man of tremendous faith, heads MasterMedia, an organization that reaches out to Hollywood executives on behalf of the Christian community. He’s fairly well known in that area because he routinely meets with big shots that are in front of—and behind—the camera. He has a fantastic reputation of encouraging others and is always looking for opportunities to share his faith in Jesus. So, during the call from his friend Bryan, when he learned that Bryan and his wife had tried to no avail to help Mark, Larry, an overly busy man, knew he had to at least try.
Soon thereafter, Larry’s personal assistant walked into his office with a look of frustration on her face. She had bad news: a number of contacts that were supposed to meet with Larry had cancelled for various reasons at the last minute. In fact, she said, there wasn’t even anything scheduled for breakfast the next morning!
Larry asked her if anyone from the office had reached out to Mark, the struggling director of photography that Bryan had called about earlier. When he discovered that no one had, he immediately called Mark, and in his usually boisterous and excited voice said, “Hi, I’m Larry Poland. Our mutual friend Bryan said you were working together on a picture and that you seemed down. He thought I might be able to encourage you. I’m going to be in Hollywood tomorrow morning and wonder if I could treat you to breakfast.” After a long pause, the voice on the other end halfheartedly said, “I guess so.”
The next morning, the two men who only knew one another through a mutual friend, met at a Denny’s on Sepulveda Blvd. During the ensuing conversation, Larry discovered that Mark was struggling with bouts of dark depression brought on by the fact that the “love of his life” had just left him. As it turns out, the “love of his life” was a woman that Mark had left his wife for several years earlier. Between the burden of his recent loss, the guilt over his adulterous decision several years earlier, and the crushing legal fees assessed to him by his ex-wife, Mark was in a deep pit.
“Sounds like you need God’s help to deal with this,” said the ever-optimistic Larry. Mark’s response was an expletive-laden agreement with Larry’s assessment. “Do you know how to get God’s help?” inquired Larry. Mark’s response was an equally expletive-laden “no.”
Larry then launched into a presentation of the Gospel—that Jesus, God’s one and only perfect Son had come to Earth to willfully give His life for the forgiveness of our sins. Right there at the breakfast table, Mark prayed to Jesus, asking Him to forgive him of his sins and to become the Lord of his life.
At the exact moment that Mark said, “Amen,” he broke down into a fit of crying and, strangely enough, simultaneous laughter. For almost three minutes, the grown man sitting across the table from Larry was unable to control his emotions; Mark was a repetitious cycle of tears and sobs, tears and sobs. The sight was such a spectacle that other diners had begun to stare at the two of them wondering if an ambulance should be called.
After what felt like an eternity at the center of the restaurant’s attention, Mark regained enough composure to say to Larry, “Yesterday when you called I was lying in bed with a razor in one hand and a bag of ice in the other, prepared to slash my wrists. I shouted ‘God, if you’re there, help me!’ and the phone rang, and it was you…scheduling this breakfast.”
Talk about God’s perfect timing! To this day, Mark happily tells anyone who will listen about the phone call that interrupted “a really close call.”
Who do you need to call right now? One call you can make is to your Regional State Missionary. Let us help you help others to share their faith, reach out to their friends and be on mission for Christ in a Christ-less world.
And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Jude 1:22-23 (NASB)