That became my main concern. I was afraid this was going to cause a scene and become awkward. And I’m not into awkward.
My youngest daughter and I recently took a two week road trip. Our third day on the road we left Nashville and headed to Little Rock. It was early afternoon, time to start looking for a lunch stop, when I saw the billboard for a barbecue place that looked promising.
We pulled up, walked in and were looking at the menu when a lady who was working there came up to me and began telling me what a beautiful purse I had. She went on and on about how great it was, how she’d never seen one like it. I admittedly enjoyed her compliments and I told her thank you, as this was my favorite purse. (And I have many!)
We placed our order and went to the patio to bask in the sun. A few minutes later she came out to bring our order and she was so sweet and southernJ (And we miss Southern, currently living in Northern Virginia.)
She went back inside and a thought popped in my head that was utterly ridiculous. I argued with the thought and tried to dismiss it. But, it wouldn’t leave. I waited several minutes before I reluctantly told my daughter what I believed the Lord was telling me.
I said, “I know this is strange, but the Lord just told me I need to give my purse to her.” And as soon as I spoke, it became more than a thought. I’m learning that when you say something out loud, it becomes tangible and real.
We ate our tasty lunch and as it neared our time to leave, I told Britain to take the tray inside, that I would go to the car and empty my purse and meet her inside. I dumped everything into a plastic baggie and zipped the purse back up and went in.
By this time, the small restaurant had become quite crowded. It was obviously a truck driver’s favorite, as well as many others.
The lady was in the back helping with orders and I began to justify my not going through with this insane act. It’s crowded, I thought. I don’t want to make a scene. There are too many people in line and this will take a while before she comes back out. I looked around and tried to decide the most inconspicuous exit.
About that time, she walked right towards us balancing plates on her arms. Before I could run, my mouth opened and I said, “After you deliver those, could I talk to you for a minute?”
She looked quite concerned but said she’d be right back.
And in the span of about five minutes, I proceeded to explain to her that I wanted to give her my purse. She was quite taken back as well as relieved since she assumed something was wrong. We went back and forth as she refused my gift, I insisted on giving it to her, she reminded me that it was my favorite purse, and I agreed, but explained that the Lord told me to give it to her. She then said I could pray for her. That would be wonderful. (And it would have been, except that’s not what the Lord had asked of me.) I asked her what her name was and she said, “Simone”.
By this time, many patrons were listening to this fiasco play out. I told her I was going to leave it at the counter for her. She exclaimed, “Oh, no! You can’t do that!” And she called for the gentleman working behind the counter not to take it. I walked up to him and asked him if he would make sure Simone got this, and he smiled as I handed him the purse.
We then walked past her, she hugged us, and as we closed the door behind us, I glanced back to see her standing in the middle of the restaurant with her hands raised high and her mouth wide open.
And it was just as I had predicted. Awkward and embarrassing.
However, as Britain reminded me when we got in the car, it was obedience.
It was listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and feeling compelled to obey whatever the cost.
As I shared this story with a friend, we discussed the many elements of obedience. From “hearing” His voice, to acknowledging and deciding to act, to justifying and second-guessing, and remembering not to “doubt in the dark what you heard in the light”, to taking the actual step of obedience, and finally, being confident to leave the results in His hands. To be content in the truth that success is simply obedience.
I don’t always get it right. I wish I was obedient every time I hear His Voice. But I am finding that each time I listen and obey, the next time seems a little easier.
If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land. ~ Isaiah 1.19