(I DO NOT HAVE PRIVATE MESSENGER)
...a true and lengthly, yet worth the read, story; so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy reading about (one of) the wonderful ways the Holy Spirit leads the children of God.
I was putting groceries away when the thought came. “You need to go to Wal-Mart.” Duh. I’d just been to Wal-Mart, Kroger's and Meijers. Several hours on cement floors had left me with burning feet and an aching back. So I made a cup of tea and retreated to my favorite place to wind down...my computer.
There it was again. “You need to go to Wal-Mart.” While I checked my email and balanced my checking account online, I argued, “No, I do not need to go to Wal-Mart. I just went to Wal-Mart and gave them $52.00, thank you, and where is this thought coming from?"
A half-hour later, my youngest daughter, Amy stopped by. Her car was giving her problems and she asked her father to look at it. The “thought” tried a new strategy. “Ask Amy to go to Wal-Mart with you.” I argued back...“No, I am not asking Amy to go to Wal-Mart with me. She doesn’t like to shop, and she loves to help her father when he works on her car. I am positive she has no desire to go to Wal-Mart.” Amy headed to the garage with her dad, just as I knew she would. “This is crazy,” I reasoned, and dismissed it from my mind.
Yet as I settled back down into my cozy office chair and returned to the keyboard, the thought persisted ....the unseen voice in my head. I argued, “Amy does not want to go to Wal-Mart, and neither do I.” Within five minutes Amy was back in the house. Standing in the doorway to my office, she said, “Mom, I need to go to Wal-Mart. Do you want to go with me?” My mouth dropped open and I said,“Sure!“ Only then did I realize the 'thought' might be the prodding of the Holy Spirit. If it was, then to Wal-Mart I would go, even if I didn't understand why. I sheepishly prayed, “Lord, if this is you, please show me why you want me to return to a store I've already been to.“
At the store, we each got a cart and went our own way, with plans to meet, later. Amy began shopping, and like a lost child, I went searching for my “reason” for being there. I didn’t have a clue, as I walked up and down every isle in the store with an empty cart. I felt I must look like a would-be thief casing the store out. “Okay, I can look like a shopper,“ I said, as I dropped a box of my favorite Little Debbie’s in my cart and continued to wander the isles. About an hour later, Amy and I met up, again. We headed for the check-out area, with her in the lead.
As we got in line, frustration and disappointment vied for my attention. I had listened to the voice in my head and wandered around in a store I had no desire to be in. The entire trip had proved to be pointless ....until I heard another voice....one that instantly reminded me of a trapped and wounded animal. The voice was coming from near the register.
My eyes that had been scanning all the “buy me’ items near the front of the store, now searched to see where the voice was coming from. It was the voice of a pony-tailed, teenage girl working the register. She was tiny in frame, short in stature, and appeared to be about 16. She looked like death warmed over, and was telling Amy she had a migraine headache.
My heart instantly filled with compassion for the young lady. I may have started out as a “slow-learner”, but finally, I knew why I was at Wal-Mart for the second time in one evening. The Lord wanted me to pray for that girl! As fear and intimidation attacked me, another argument started....with one exception: this time I knew who I was arguing with. I was arguing with my Lord.
“Lord, you want me to pray for her right there at her register? She’s working, she may not believe in You, or she’ll get fired and they’ll kick me out. How embarrassing! Lord, I don’t think I can do it. Besides, how humiliated will Amy be, standing there watching the whole thing take place.”
He insisted, “You must pray for that girl.” I resisted. “Lord, she may not want me to pray for her! What will I say to her? This is crazy. I don’t think I can do it.” He used a more authoritive tone, “You cannot pass her by.” “But Lord!” I protested. To which he said again, “I tell you, you cannot pass her by. You must pray for her.”
The message was loud and clear. If I walked out of that store without praying for her, I would disappoint my Lord, I would abort my spiritual growth, and that young worker with an unbearable headache would suffer needlessly. I must pray for her, regardless of the consequences. But how was I going to do it? I needed wisdom. I looked around. There were no other customers in line behind me. I could do it! I could pray for her. No one would hear the prayer. Her job would be safe, and Amy would not be humiliated.
I quickly practiced how I would approach her. Fear crept back, as I bargained, “Lord, if no one else gets in this line, I’ll pray for her.” I shouldn’t have looked behind me. Several customers, both men and women were now in line. There was no way I could do it. I asked, “Lord, why are you putting me through this?” Like a parent giving a child one final opportunity to obey, he said, “You cannot pass her by.” If I passed her by, it would be Jesus passing her by, and I knew he would never refuse anyone.
As I neared the register, I noticed she wore a cross necklace. I breathed a little easier. “She believes in you, Lord,” I reasoned, while my heart was racing. I paid for my "Debbies" and as she placed change in my hand, I knew it was now or never; out of my mouth came, “Do you believe in prayer?”
My words unplugged a dam, as tears poured down her face. Like a drowning person who had just been thrown a life-preserver, she grabbed my hands and cried out, “Yes, I do!” Her body shook as we stood there, hand-in-hand, with me on one side of the counter and she on the other.
While customers waited their turn, I said, “Well, then“.....as I began to pray. “Father, your word says if I ask anything in the name of Jesus, you will do it. So in obedience to you, I rebuke this migraine headache and take the authority you’ve given me, over it. Headache, I command you to leave; you have no place here and you must leave, in Jesus‘ name.“
Before I could say, ‘Amen” she reached over the counter and threw her arms around my neck in a big hug of thanks. I whispered in her ear, “You’re going to make it. God is going to help you make it through the rest of your shift.” She shook her head in agreement and cried, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
As we walked out of the store, I looked straight on. I wondered what was going on in Amy's head. Had I been an embarrassment to her? Was the store manager going to come up behind me and demand to know what I had done to his employee? But none of it mattered. I had gone into the store clueless; I was now leaving in the power of the Spirit. Like King David, I felt as though I could ‘run through a troop and leap over a wall.’ I wanted to pray for someone else, anyone ....and I didn’t care who, or where!
It was a quiet ride home. In the silence, I began to remember a story I had recently read in a Christian magazine. It was about a man named, Jerry Savelle. It seems Jerry had just left an eating establishment with a friend he had met for lunch. As they walked along the sidewalk, they came upon a crowd gathered around. Jerry was curious, so he made his way through the crowd. There on the sidewalk lay a man experiencing a heart attack. Jerry said everyone was just standing there doing nothing. The power of the Lord came upon him. He pushed past the on-lookers, and much like the style of Smith Wigglesworth, he grabbed the man by the front of his shirt and commanded, “Satan, in the name of Jesus, you let go of this man!” The heart attack stopped, just like that! The amazed man was fine.
In talking with him, Jerry discovered the man did not know Jesus. Right there on the sidewalk, Jerry prayed with him, and the man accepted Christ as his Savior. Someone in the crowd had called an ambulance, but the man didn’t want to go. The EMT convinced him to go to the hospital for observation. Jerry said the last time he saw him, the man had a big smile on his face as he waved from the ambulance window.
Now, on this second trip back home from Wal-Mart, I thought about the desire I’d had since coming to Christ and experiencing spiritual growth. I wanted to live in the power of the Spirit, and I wanted to be someone the Lord could trust to help others in their time of need. I remembered the prayer I had prayed many years back, “Lord, I’m determined to follow you all the way. I’ll go where you want me to go, I’ll say what you want me to say, and I’ll do what you want me to do.” I had momentarily forgotten my sincere prayer, but the Lord had not.
The story is not over. I always wondered what happened to the teenage girl I had prayed for. I told the Lord I sure would like to know how she was, and if there was some way our paths could cross again, to please let it happen.
A few months later, on a Sunday evening, I had a desire to visit a church where some of my friends attended. During the worship service, between songs, the worship leader invited anyone who had a “awesome testimony” to come forward and share it with the church.
A young girl with hair down to her waist who was sitting near the front, ran up to the podium. When she turned to face the crowd, my heart skipped a beat! It was her! The girl I had prayed for! She began to share her brief testimony. She said, “I’ve had migraines for most of my life. A couple of months ago, the Lord delivered me of them. I no longer have migraine headaches, praise God!”
I was sitting beside a good friend who knew my story of praying for a worker at Wal-Mart. I poked her in the ribs and said, “That’s the girl I prayed for at Wal-Mart! Don’t let her get out of here tonight without my talking to her!” After church she brought her to me and introduced me to “Laura.” She then proceeded to tell her that I was the lady who had prayed for her at Wal-Mart. I experienced ‘deja vu’ as she threw her arms around my neck and cried, “Thank you! Oh, thank you!”
My Wal-Mart story ends here. (If you've made it this far, I thank you for your patience. I pray it was worth the time invested.)
Concerning hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit....I’ve only just begun. I am compelled to ask you, too, dear reader, could He be speaking to you today? Could that little thought...the one nudging you to the point of aggravation, be the Lord trying to get your attention so He can send you on an assignment...one chosen just for you?
He will lead you by his Spirit. You are his little lamb and you do, indeed, know his voice. He will never lead you astray.
You may be wondering about my daughter, Amy, and if my prayer was an embarrassment to her. Not really. I am thinking right now about the article Joyce Pool was kind enough to write about me on July 25, 2006, "A Prayer Legacy," in which she asked Amy to share her thoughts about having me for a mother. Why don't you pour another cup of coffee, and head to Joyce Pool's articles to read for awhile?
Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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