There are times I wish I could introduce myself to people by means of a twenty-page overview of listening prayer. Then they would have a basis for understanding how I live my life. On the surface, this life appears very unstable, and to some, irresponsible. But if I really believe that the Holy Spirit gives me daily guidance, then wouldn't it be foolishness to reject His direction, even if it looks crazy or stupid?
Dad and I often tell a story about a woman doing a headstand at a 7-Eleven. This woman attended a church outside of Lansing. My father met the pastor of this church during our first years of understanding listening prayer. Here is the very true story...
A woman in mid-Michigan had just begun to listen for the voice of God when she prayed. Driving home one day, she felt something in her spirit say, “Stop in the 7-Eleven and go stand on your head next to the pop machine.” Was that God? To her, it felt more like some bad cold cuts in her lunch, or some sort of short-circuit in her brain. Then she heard that internal voice again, “Stop in the 7-Eleven and go stand on your head next to the pop machine.”
By now she could see the 7-Eleven, but she was determined to continue on her way home. God didn’t make insane requests like that, especially not to people like her. Old Testament prophets and acetic Nazarenes, maybe, but not normal people. This time, the nudge had urgency. “Go back to the 7-Eleven and stand on your head next to the pop machine.”
She turned her car around and parked in front of the 7-Eleven. There were no other cars. At least no one would stare at her, she thought. When she entered, she saw a young man standing behind the counter, and the woman wished that he would go into the back room to stock some things. She walked over next to the pop machine, stood on her head, and… nothing happened.
Weren’t the heavens supposed to have torn open to the sound of angel choirs singing because she obeyed? What gives?
The woman began to walk out, and the young man behind the counter stopped her. “Excuse me, why did you just do that?”
Ok, how does one explain this in a spiritually relevant way? “Ah yes, I was driving home, communing with the God of the universe, the maker of heaven and earth, and He said to me, ‘Oh woman of faith and power… go thou to the 7-Eleven and stand upon thy head by the pop machine!’” Does that sound normal? Does it sound sane? Does it even sound like God? No, it sounds stupid.
She told him to please just forget about it. “I’m sorry to have bothered you. I’m a little embarrassed. I think I’ll just leave.”
He insisted, “No, wait, I have to know why you did that.” Then he pulled a gun out from under the counter. “A few minutes ago, I had this gun in my mouth. My life isn’t worth living, and I was going to kill myself. At the last moment, I gave God one more chance. I said, ‘God, if you are real, why don’t you send somebody in here and have them stand on their head by the pop machine.’ So I really need to know why you did that. Could you tell me about your God?”
So, was that God?
How do you know if it was God?
Would you have obeyed?