Saturday, February 8, 2014

Listening and Obeying The Holy Spirit--An Amazing Story

My Obedience Journal

For the past few years the Lord has given me a "theme" for the year, an area to work on--sort of like a New Years Resolution.  This year the Lord gave me three words.

Listen and Obey

The Lord wants me to learn to listen to His voice and obey His direction.  Over the years I have gotten pretty good at hearing the Holy Spirit when He speaks to me.  I would write down what I heard, shut the book, and then walk away.  I'd remember to follow through about half the time.  Not a very good track record.  

A few weeks ago I decided that this method clearly wasn't working for me, especially as the Lord wanted me to grow in this area.  So I got a pretty journal that I devoted to writing down only the things that the Holy Spirit tells me to do.  I have a running list.  I cross the items off as I accomplish them.  Some are one off things--call this person.  Some will take a life time to achieve--grow in this.  These ones will never get crossed off.  

Every day I read through my list and work my way through.  Most of the things on my list are personal to my family.  But a few things go beyond my home.  Those are the harder ones for me because sometimes they don't make sense.  But in the Lord, everything makes sense.  My job isn't to sort it out; my job is to listen and obey.  Here is a story that happened this past week and it brings tears to my eyes just writing about it:

On Monday the Holy Spirit told me to purge my pantry and that He would tell me who the food was for.  Okay.  I purged the pantry, getting rid of everything we won't eat, and a few things that we would eat but I just felt should go in the bag.  Tuesday.  Nothing.  Wednesday.  Nothing.  Thursday--Lord, did you really mean that You'd tell me who this food is for??  Because the bag is still sitting there in my laundry room collecting dust.  

Friday around 3:30am, the Lord wakes me up from a sound sleep.  My mind is flooded with the song, Hey Brother by Avicii and is stuck on the lines "It the sky comes falling down for you, there's nothing in this world I wouldn't do.  What if I'm far from home?  Oh brother, I will hear you call.  What if I lose it all?  Oh sister, I will help you out."  (I admit I listen to this song a lot so that could explain that part)

Then the Lord gives me a grocery list--milk, bread, Cheerios, Ritz crackers.  The list keeps repeating through my mind.  Milk, bread, Cheerios, Ritz.  Finally He gives me a name.  

I woke up Friday morning and set to finding out where this family lives.  I only know them by sight, as I've never really talked to them before.  I asked a few people where they live, but no one knew.  I was hitting dead ends all over the place.  Um, Lord?  If you really want me to bring this food to this family, You're going to have to help me out here.  

Finally I get a phone number.  Which is great, except MY plan was to just drop the food off, ring the bell and run.  Because bringing two bags of groceries to a family I barely know is sort of embarrassing.  I hesitate.  FINE!  I will text the wife and explain the situation and ask if I can drop some things by.  

We only have a limited amount of time to get the food to them because they are leaving.  Which didn't leave me enough time to stop off at the grocery store where I had medicine waiting.  We had to go to the store near their house to pick up the milk and bread, drop it off, and then go to the same exact store--different location--to get the medicine.  Which seemed terribly inconvenient, but I brush that aside because I am obeying the Lord here.

We rush through the store, get our milk and bread, go to a U-scan and I spy a coupon sticking out of the coupon machine.  Score!  I look at it closely.  It is a coupon for a $20 gift card with the purchase of a prescription.  A prescription I am going to pick up at the other store when we are done with our errand.  I nearly cry on the spot at the way the Lord confirmed that I was obeying Him.

We drop the food off.  The mom is harried as they're getting ready to leave.  Her baby is crying in her arms.  We set the food down, I give her a hug and we leave.  

Two hours later the mom calls me because she has to tell me the back story.  Last week she was reading a biography to her son about George Mueller.  He is a man who opened orphanages.  He believed that they should never ask people for things, but to pray for their needs and trust that the Lord would provide.  A milk truck broke down in front of the orphanage and all the kids got milk because it would spoil otherwise.  Tons of examples of the Lord's provision.  She then told her son that she wanted him to be wealthy when he grows up so that he can be the man who God wakes up in the middle of the night to tell him to go to the grocery store to buy the milk and bread for the mom with the screaming baby in her arms.  

And then I show up at their door, with a story about God waking me up in the middle of the night telling me to go to the grocery store to buy bread and milk to deliver to the mom with the screaming baby in her arms.  On the very day that they ran out of milk and bread.

God is amazing.  The way He works out the details for His purposes.  How He calls us to just listen and obey even when it doesn't make sense to us.  Because there is so much more going on that we don't see.  How could I know that this mom had just shared this exact story to her son as an example of what she wanted for him?  How could I know that she would run out of milk that very morning and wonder how they were going to get more?  How could I know that the Lord would bless me with $20 that more than replaced all the food I had just given away?  And if I had known where she lived and was able to just drop the food off without letting her see me, I would have missed this entire blessing of seeing the intricate story of how the Lord was at work.  

God truly is amazing.

1 comment:

  1. This is very encouraging. Thank you for teaching me not only to listen, but HOW to listen.