I just finished reading a beautiful book about a young woman who, as she lay on her hospital bed, died and went to Heaven for a brief time. The book painted a vivid picture, as best it could, of God’s throne and the place He is preparing for us.
In the book, the girl who wrote it, Crystal, spoke about how; after this experience; God would often “nudge” her to do things. She wondered how she could tell if these “nudgings” were in fact God, just her flesh or her mind playing tricks. As I read on, she explained how she “knew” with everything she is, that those “Nudgings” were from God. For each nudge was not for her own pleasure and selfish desires, they were to Glorify God and show His perfect Love to those in need. This made much sense to my heart, for I have always wondered how to decipher God’s will from my own.
Last year, I also remember reading one of the short stories in the famous compilation series, Chicken Soup for the Soul ®, which told of those “nudges” from God. The writer of the story gave examples of what kinds of things we can do to “pay it forward” and bless others when we listen to His voice. The story gave many ideas for doing so, including one that I can’t forget because it got my attention like a neon sign in the forest at night. The idea suggested to, “Pay the toll for the person in back of you on the highway and tell the toll collector to tell that driver, ‘Jesus loves you.’”
I have thought about doing this often, when I am on a toll highway here in New Jersey, but I never had the courage to do it, until today.
So, as I drove to work this morning on the Garden-State-Parkway-North, around the Saddle Brook, NJ exit, right before the toll booths, I thought about finally doing it, but was nervous to actually go through with it that I almost felt embarrassed. I thought, what if the toll collector thought I was nuts? What if the car in behind me, which, in my rearview mirror looked like a white SUV, followed me to work and told me off or something? What if, what if, what if what if…..?
Then God reminded me, “Lisa, since when is it about you? Is it not for my Glory? Is it not for them to see and feel my deep love for them? Is it not to remind them that I am watching and am always here for them? Let me take care of all these concerns you have. Give it all to me and I will give you the strength to do as I ask.”
I suddenly remembered how God says in His Word that, “We can do all things through Him that strengthens us.” It was His will, and so, I tried to be as brave as I could and drove up to the toll collector.
As I rolled down my window, I noticed the toll collector was a short medium brown skinned man; I believe of Arabic descent, middle aged with salt and pepper short hair and a very thin frame. I handed him a $5.00 dollar bill and said, “This is also for the car in back of me. And when you tell him that I paid, please tell him that Jesus loves him.”
The toll collector looked at me wearing a half sweet half bewildered smile and answered, nodding his head gently, “Ahhh, okay.” Then, I drove away, hitting the gas pedal harder than usual, still a bit nervous, but knowing God had strengthened me to do as He asked.
I sped up, so that the car in back of me would lose the view of my car and not be able to find me. I didn’t want him to come thank me; I wanted him to think about Jesus and how much he is loved by Him. I wanted Him alone to receive all the Glory and Thanksgiving.
As I drove away, I felt this pure joy well up inside of me, which instantaneously let me know it was from God. I felt a smile from ear to ear stretch out on my face, so big that my cheeks hurt a little. I actually think I smiled the rest of the way to work, which was about twelve or so minutes.
God not only used this morning’s request not only to remind the driver of the car behind me at the toll that He had not forgotten him and that He loves him more than anything, but He also used it to bless me. For to feel that overwhelming, indescribable joy burn within me is more than anyone could ever ask for, especially at such an early hour in the morning as about 8:45AM.
On our own, we don’t have enough strength to do what God has called us to do on this earth. Yet, when we call on Him for assistance, His strength empowers us to obey. Like the title of one of my favorite Steven Curtis Chapman songs says, “His Strength is Perfect…” It truly is. And because of that perfect strength, I am blessed beyond comprehension every time. I don’t want to miss the blessing, for the other person especially, and also for myself.
God is truly amazing. Though none of us are deserving of His grace, still He finds us worthy to be His vessels and be used as His light in the darkest of places.
Pay attention to the “Nudgings” of the heart. One never knows when they are divine appointments from God, waiting to explode in to tremendous blessings that no one has ever dreamed possible.