Bill Hybels shares a story about following the Holy Spirit's promptings in this excerpt from The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond [eBook].
Have you ever had an experience like Bill's? I'd love to hear your story, just leave a comment on the post. -Adam Forrest, Zondervan
There are seasons when I am "meticulously obedient" to the will and whispers of God, and then there are times when I'm sure I know a better way. Still, I try to keep coming back to my heavenly Father with open hands, an open heart and a keener interest in whatever insights he is willing to share. "God, if there is something you would like me to do," I prayed recently, "then please say so. It doesn't matter what it is; I'll do it."
Wouldn't you know it? He actually took me up on that prayer.
Lynne and I had just come from a funeral home across town after saying our final farewells to my aunt. As we approached our car, I spotted a frail, elderly woman pulling into the nearby apartment complex. She parked her car and began to slowly and laboriously pull grocery bags out of her trunk. "How about helping that woman with her groceries?" the Holy Spirit seemed to prompt.
I initially brushed past the whisper because Lynne was with me and we were ready to go. But I had just made that offer to God, "If there is something you would like me to do..." I knew I had to comply.
"Lynne," I said, "I've got this little pact going with God, and I need to go help that woman with her groceries for a minute..."
My wife tried to conceal her dumbfounded expression, but I saw it peeking through. You probably know the look, the one that says, "You? Living at your pace? Helping someone you don't even know? Wow. It must be God."
I approached the elderly woman. "Can I give you a hand with your groceries?" I asked.
"Oh, yes! Thank you!" she said, relieved.
I knew that this small act of kindness would honor God...what I didn't know was that those grocery sacks boasted thirty pounds of fresh peaches each.
The driveway leading back to her apartment ... was roped off, meaning residents had to walk a few hundred yards just to get from their cars to their homes. I knew that this small act of kindness would honor God and help meet a real need; what I didn't know was that those grocery sacks boasted thirty pounds of fresh peaches each. Pretending the added weight didn't affect me a bit, I said, "All set here. You lead the way."
She began winding through backyards that had become swamps due to recent rains. [It turns out the] woman was extremely arthritic [and] had some sort of emphysema that forced us to take a breather every forty-five seconds or so. It took us a full thirty minutes to make our way to her apartment, and by the time we arrived, we were tight. I had learned more about this dear woman's life than I could ever have hoped to know.
We entered her modest home, and ... I set the sacks on the counter before turning to shake her hand and then let myself out through the front door. The woman left her bony, wrinkled hand in mine long after the handshake was done. "I will believe to my dying day that God sent you to help me just now," she said.
The whole deal felt so inglorious—the wet feet, the longer-than-expected trek, the lack of any earth-shattering results—and yet as I walked away from the apartment complex, something in my spirit felt right. God had whispered a simple instruction my way, and this time I had actually slowed down enough to listen. There is no greater feeling in the world than to hear—and heed—God's voice...
I have come to believe over time that it is the little acts of obedience that invite God's power to fully flow in our lives.
I have come to believe over time that it is the little acts of obedience that invite God's power to fully flow in our lives. When you and I prove ourselves faithful with the small whispers, he entrusts us with bigger ones. And when we follow through on those big ones, big kingdom results can be gained. This is what Ananias experienced firsthand, on that day when Saul became Paul. Back to our text.
- Bill Hybels (@billhybels)
Learn more about Bill Hybels's The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond (eBook).
The Gift of the Spirit: Power from Heaven by Jim Cymbala
For Christians Seeking the Spirit's Power via Cash Luna
Lessons Learned from Trying to Force a Miracle via Mark Batterson
Interview with Margaret Feinberg on being "Hungry for God" and Hearing His Voice
(Some styling above is a web-exclusive feature not included in the text of The Power of a Whisper. This post does not represent the views of Zondervan or any of its representatives. The writer's personal opinions are shared only for information purposes. To receive new Zondervan Blog posts in your reader or email inbox, subscribe to Zondervan Blog.)