I was sitting in the same place earlier this week (the local Starbucks) writing my last blog post when a young woman approached me. I did not know her and to my knowledge had never seen her before
Excuse me. I know this might seem weird, but I just felt the Lord wanted me to give you this. I don’t know why, but I sense that maybe you are going through a hard time right now and just need some encouragement. I don’t know what you do and you may think it weird that a total stranger would approach you like this.
She then handed me a bright green index card with this verse written on it: “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.” Psalm 51:8
I thanked her, then we exchanged names and what we each were doing in Boone, and then she went on her way. What an encouragement that encounter was! She was partly right that I had been through a difficult time in recent months and did at a certain juncture feel crushed, but I am emerging from that. Yet, I know that I still need the encouragement of the Lord in dealing with its remnants. I shared this providential meeting with my wife and she, too, was encouraged. I believe this was the reason this young woman felt prompted to do what she did.
Have you ever felt such promptings? I have. I remember years ago when I was at a student retreat, sitting and listening to the speaker. Suddenly, I felt a prompting to give my Bible to a student. I didn’t know this student, but had briefly talked with her earlier that day. As far as I could tell, she already had a Bible, but the urge was so strong I just knew it was from the Lord. I said something similar to her as the young woman at Starbucks said to me, explaining I was responding to the prompting of the Lord. She thanked me, but I’m not sure what she thought. After that interaction, I never saw her again, and, to this day, do not know what purpose the Lord had in having me do what I did. All I know is that the Lord prompted me and I wanted to obey.
As Francis Chan titled one of his books, the Holy Spirit, for many, is the Forgotten God. He is barely mentioned in many churches, and often the very thought of him makes some Christians uncomfortable. Most want to focus their attention on God the Father and Jesus; yet the Holy Spirit is spoken of from the beginning of the Bible to the end. He is active in Creation and in the lives of God’s people. He is the one who dramatically changed the lives of 12 common men into powerful and bold apostles for Jesus. He is the one who prompted Philip to engage with the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-30). And he is the one that produces the fruit that helps us live in the way of Jesus (Galatians 5:22-23) Without the Spirit’s work, it is impossible to live our lives in obedience to Jesus.
I am convinced those of us who believe are often prompted by the Holy Spirit, but typically most ignore the prompt as “weird,” or are just unnerved by it because it challenges us to move out of our comfort zone—to approach a stranger, to say something about our faith to a co-worker or neighbor, to stop mid-sentence in sharing some gossip and repent on the spot, or to give money to someone. And because we have not been instructed in the ways of the Spirit, we often attribute these promptings to some passing thought in our own minds, which is to be quickly disregarded.
Allow me to challenge you to listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Even further, let me challenge you to ask the Lord to prompt you through the Spirit. I think you will be amazed at what you begin to sense and hear, and at how the Lord will use you in his Kingdom work!
© Jim Musser 2019