Can you recall an inner prompting, a strong impression about something, that proverbial “still, small voice”? Maybe it came “out of the blue” at an important moment in your life, or when you needed to make a decision or needed a warning? I believe almost everyone can relate to that – but do you believe that sometimes it was actually the Lord speaking to you but you didn’t realize it?
The following is Audrey Bender’s story about hearing from the Lord. Audrey is one of our ministry associates. I have known Audrey and her husband John since 1990. I expect her story will help you to pause and reflect on your own life regarding the Lord speaking to you.
The Lord Told Me to Go to the Dump – Seriously!
My husband and I raised three boys. Our youngest, when he was graduating from high school chose to do his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at Carlton University in Ottawa, Ontario. Actually it was the only university in Canada at that time to offer the program. So we flew him back and forth for four years. At the end of his fourth year with graduation approaching, he expressed his desire to go back for his graduation. He also expressed his desire that his Dad and I be there for the occasion. He said to us “You’ve never seen where I’ve been going to school, you’ve never seen where I lived and you’ve never met my friends.” So we decided it was something we had to do. The only catch was my husband was a teacher and teachers can’t take holidays whenever the “spirit” moves them. We discovered he could have two days personal leave if he paid the substitute teacher. Grad was on a Thursday so this was going to be doable.
Our plan of attack was that he would fly out Wednesday after school and the graduate and I would drive to Ottawa as we had to haul home four years of his life. Our middle son decided to take some holidays and join us. I ordered the airline ticket, picked it up checking it for date, time, name etc. All was in order.
A few days later I woke in the morning wondering what I had done with that ticket. As I made breakfast I was hunting everywhere — all to no avail. Finally my husband asked what I was looking for and I had to confess. I asked him if I had given it to him. He didn’t think so but he too started to search. Soon our eldest son who was visiting asked what we were searching for. To our dilemma he said “Don’t worry, Air Canada will replace it”.
I eventually phoned Air Canada and yes they would replace it for $75.00. I was very upset with myself as this whole trip was costly and I in my stupidity was adding an additional $75.00. My husband was very comforting and told me not to worry we would just pay, and off he went with the newspaper.
I headed for the living room, sitting down I prayed “Lord I have no idea where that ticket is but you know where that ticket is. I need to know”. I did not hear a voice — I was probably too upset to hear, but I was overcome with a very strong conviction. Up out of the chair I met my hubby in the hall and said “I need to go to the dump”. He looked at me in bewilderment and said “as in garbage?” “Yes” was my answer. I said ”Yesterday was garbage day and what if I accidentally put that ticket in the garbage?”
He assured me they would have burnt the garbage and there was no way I would ever find the ticket. I looked at him and said “I HAVE TO GO TO THE DUMP , so are you coming or not?” He was now on board so off we went with utility trailer in tow to get rid of yard waste. Our son wanted to join us and so did his wife. I told her she couldn’t come as she was carrying my first grandchild and the dump is dirty, smelly and full of flies. There was no denying her so off we went.
On the way there I assured them all that I had put our 1 1/2 bags of garbage in green bags with white ties. To which they all rolled their eyes and said “ and so did the other 800 people in town.”
Upon arrival I was blown away. The garbage had not been burnt. Miracle #1. Then I observed most of the bags were black and mine was green. As we wandered through all the small mountains of garbage we only found a few green bags and they were either self tied or tied with red twist ties. After a lengthy search my hubby said “Give it up we will never find it.” At that moment my daughter-in-law turned around and said “Look – on top of that pile of garbage is a half bag of garbage in green with white ties”.
I raced over and whipped that white tie off. Taking a peek inside I squealed “It’s my garbage!” My son, looking sceptical, said “How do you know its your garbage?” So I had to stop and explain that into this bag I had emptied all the garbage cans in the house including the one from my sewing room and there were familiar fabric scraps in that bag. I dumped that bag of garbage out on the ground , got down on my hands and knees and started going through it one item at a time. There in an envelope that had no connection to the ticket was the ticket, and in pristine condition. Miracle #2!
Yes the Lord does care, He hears and He answers. Keep your eyes and ears open. He is near and on His job — loving us as His children.
Learning to Listen to The Lord
As you reflect on Audrey’s story, can you recall some moments when you now realize that the Lord was speaking to you? Sometimes it can be so “mundane” that you might miss it. Years ago, every day for a few weeks upon arriving at my office I had this strong impression that I should go down to the basement. I hadn’t visited our office basement for months and could not fathom why I should now. For what purpose? One day, it was almost like a voice in my head “Go to the basement!” So, I went down to the basement, walking around muttering “why am I down here”? Then suddenly I knew why. I was standing in front one of the main teleposts holding a major beam that supported our building. The telepost had a huge bend at the top and would soon give way. I immediately rushed to Home Depot, bought two more teleposts and installed them. So the Lord was warning me about a serious structural issue in our building! It pays to listen to the Lord and act accordingly.
As we learn to listen to the Lord who speaks, we also need to grow in the spiritual discipline of discernment to recognize His voice (1 Kings 19:12; Nehemiah 7:5; John 10:27; 1 John 4:1; 1 Thess. 5:21). Going forward, I hope this blog is an encouragement to grow in expectant faith and “tune in to the Lord’s spiritual wavelength”.