I had a day recently with two shows. The morning show was in the western Maine town of Fryeburg, then I was to head east to another venue in South Portland, on our east coast. On my way to the first show, I had to stop at the store for apples for obligatory Adam-and-Eve-eat-the-apple-while-I-juggle routine. When I went to the produce section, I noticed a bin of bright, plump, lemons adjacent to the apple bin. "You need to do the lemon trick in the afternoon show," the Holy Spirit said to me.
Now hold on a minute. I was not hearing voices, but the longer I follow the Lord with my less than perfect faith, I am able to descern His 'voice' from just a random thought or feeling. There is a place in humans deeper than, and more real than, our minds and emotions. It is our spirit, and that is where God speaks. I can't define it any better, but I know when God speaks in that place (although I am sometimes still guilty of trying to convince myself - and God- that some of my ideas and feelings are actually His voice).
So, to continue with my story, He was clearly telling me to do my dollar in the lemon trick in the afternoon show. So I decided that I would get the apples, do the morning show, then deal with the lemons later. I tend to have tunnel vision on show days, and I wanted to make sure one show was over before thinking about the later one.
The show in Fryeburg was fine, but even as I was packing up from that show, I was being reminded that I'd need lemons before the second show. God, it seems, was not going to let up on this. Since our house is pretty much the midpoint of the two venues of the day, I stopped at home for lunch. I asked my wife if we had any lemons, and we had one. The trick requires three. "You still need to do the lemon trick,' the Holy Spirit reminded me.
"I know! I will!" I wasn't opposed to the idea, but I was beginning to feel a bit hounded at this point.
After lunch, I had to drop Sue off at our church's food pantry where she was working with another lady to prepare for a state inspection. Of course, there's usually lemons there. I'm sure they could spare three of them. But, alas, there were no lemons that day. However, there were oranges, and the trick works almost as well with them. I grabber three (with permission, of course) and headed east.
The venue of the second show was a seniors apartment building. Not a nursing home or even assisted living, just a seniors community. Many of the people still drove, worked part time, and so on. The occaision was their annual ice cream social. The coolest thing about it, though, was that my contact person was a girl I graduated high school with in 1979! We had not seen each other since graduation night. I'm still not sure how I feel about someone I graduated with being eligible for senior housing. Must be a mistake.
I got lost in South Portland -I'd like to blame my GPS - but it could certainly have been human error. When I finally arrived, I had 30 minutes to set up rather that the standard full hour. So I scrambled, never shaking the notion that I had to set up the dollar bill in the orange trick. With five minutes to go before showtime, I still didn't have it prepped. This one takes a little time, and I had three other tricks with me that I could have set up in the time it would take me to set this one. But again, I was under the strong conviction that this was nonnegotiable. So I set it up.
That trick, which speaks of the Old Testament passage, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart" became, almost unintentionally, the jumpingoff point for the Gospel presentation for the rest of the show. More importantly, after the show was over, I reconnected, albeit briefly, with a friend I hadn't seen in over 40 years. And it wasn't until I was packed and onmy way home, that I understood the importance of that routine in that show on that day. While I prefer not to try to explain its significance here, I know, again, in that place deeper than my thoughts or feelings, that God had foreseen the impact that particular message would have that day.
I'm glad I listened.