Driving to a lunch appointment one day this week, looking in my rearview mirror, I noticed the little heating elements in the back window again. My new-to-me car still had a few things I hadn’t figured out yet and needed to actually read the manual. (Sounds like a man, huh?) The thought entered my mind to get the owner’s manual out of the glove box. I had been meaning to look at that manual for some time now. But since I was driving down the road at the time (just like every other time I’d thought about the manual), I thought I’d just do it later (just like every other time I’d thought about the manual). When I stopped at a traffic light, the impression came to me again. I thought “the light is going to change soon, I’ll just do it later.” The light changed and two cars made it through the intersection before it changed again … and I was about eight cars back. Apparently I would be sitting for a few minutes. Again, and much stronger, the impression came to open the glove box and get the owners’ manual -- so strong, that I became frustrated that the thought wouldn’t go away. I reached over and opened the glove box. When the door dropped down, I burst out in thankful laughter and relief.
Rewind to a couple of days ago when I opened my file drawer to pull out the nightly backup cartridges for the office network servers. The ones that were scheduled to be used that night were not in the drawer. I searched my desk and the rest of my office, even going out to look in my car to see if they had fallen from my briefcase earlier in the week. Not there. I used another set of cartridges for that night and reminded myself to look on my desk at home for the cartridges. But at home that night, they were nowhere to be found. The next day I retraced my steps all over 6000 square feet of office space to find the tapes – undoubtedly left laying somewhere. Now I was becoming uneasy. Those cartridges are extremely expensive and contain valuable, confidential information. So I prayed for God to show me where the cartridges were. I forgot about it until the next morning when I went to switch cartridges again, remembered my dilemma and prayed again for the Holy Spirit to show me where to look or to bring it to my remembrance. In an hour or so, I left for my lunch appointment.
When I dropped the door open on the glove box and saw those cartridges – precisely where I had put them last week – I was at once relieved, joyful, a little embarrassed, and repentant. Belatedly, I recognized the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to me to open the glove box. It wasn’t some erratic thought from my own mind. I had to apologize to God for pushing away the impression. His Impression.
The only time I was ever concerned about figuring out how to turn on the rear-window defogger was early in my morning drive. I would always promise myself that I would get the owners manual out when I got to work and figure out where the switch is. By the time I got to work, the fog was gone and so was any thought of the owner’s manual. So, driving down the street at noon on a sunny day, it was very untypical for my mind to race to the mystery of the defogger switch.
Looking back over my life, there are SO many times that I’ve had an impression or urge that was so out of character, time or place that it couldn’t be me. If I followed that impression, I can always look back and see that it was the voice of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, there are too many times that I pushed aside that prompting … and ended up in a bad situation.
In the past few years of my renewed walk with the Lord, I’ve learned that it’s ok to pray about the seemingly little things … like finding misplaced tape cartridges and car keys, like “healing” a corrupt hard drive that contained all my wedding pictures (that were not backed up!), like my lost dog coming home when I thought all hope was gone. I’ve experienced first hand that what is important to me is also important to Him. And He shows it by answering my prayers – if I pay attention to the nudging in my spirit.
When we get those little promptings … whether it is to smile at that sad stranger that you pass on the sidewalk, send a no-special-occasion card to a friend who’s suddenly on your mind, take a meal to a shut-in, or turn down a street that you don’t normally drive down … consider that it could be the Holy Spirit. Sometimes the results of following that prompt will surprise us!