I am in the habit of asking the Holy Spirit questions like "what am I wearing to church next Sabbath?", "What would you like for me to do today for you?" or "Where am I worshipping on Sabbath?". Well, the conversation began Friday morning as I am brushing my teeth,and it goes forward like this.
Me- Lord, I am not interested in attending the conference, however, I know you already know this. How about New life?
Me-Niles-Philadelphia! I don't even know where that is, I don't want to go there Lord, wherever there is.
Holy Spirit-Niles Philadelphia.
Me-(Extremely anxious now, because he is sending me straight out of my comfort zone.) Now, I began to negotiate, how about I go back to the Nations.
Me-Lord, I don't like this feeling...it is uncomfortable. Niles-Philadelphia it is.
I processed all day what God was doing. I knew he had something he wanted to tell me that I was not going to get anywhere else.
Sabbath evening has come, I have prepared and ready to rest. I lay down with my word, my journal and spiritual formations book. I began to journal. I realized after about 30 minutes of writing I was holding my pen and sleeping. I woke, turned off my light and went back to sleep. it's about 8pm. At 11:24 pm the Lord woke me out of my sleep with a vivid picture of a friend. I prayed and turned back over. Well, needless to say he wanted to talk and I wanted to sleep but sleep would not come again until 3:40 am.
What the Spirit of the Lord wanted to do for me began at 11:24 pm. He spoke about Himself, he told me about Life beyond Regret, The Practice of Confession and The Guided Life, Receiving Guidance from Him, The Holy Spirit. He then took me to a sermon my father preached one week before he died, and I must say this was the most difficult because I did not think I could make it through the video. Nevertheless, I did and he taught me about Grace and the Reading of the Will. I return to sleep shortly after.
I am driving to church this morning following my mapquest directions to Niles-Philadelphia. I was okay until I thought a I took a wrong turn and pulled over to turn around and I asked
Me- Holy Spirit, am I going the right way cause I don't like being lost. I looked down at my directions and He said "keep going in the direction you were before you pulled over." So, I did.
Driving...I enter the city of Niles...my turn comes up and what do you know DETOUR.
Me- oh, Jesus what do I do now. I follow the detour hoping the street is parallel to the original street I was on.
Holy Spirit-follow the car in front of you.
I follow the car to the light but the light changed and the car turned left and I sat there not knowing what I was supposed to do. I looked at my direction and relized I was at the street I was supposed to take my turn on. It said to go East on Main. Now the street sign said Main street but no east or west and I am geographically challenged without a GPS. So, the light turns green and I go right and realize it was the wrong turn so I turn around and go in the other direction.
Me-Lord,I'm lost again because of this detour.
I keep driving straight looking for Broadway street and all I see it streets named after numbers. I keep driving and then I said.
Me- Lord, I am lost for the 3rd time.
then I heard this voice whom I knew was not the Spirit of God...just go home.
Me-Lord, show me the way, I'm still anxious, I hit a detour, got lost three times but I'm not going home show me the way.
I took a deep breath, pulled my car over and turned around and went in the direction from whence I came. Just as I was pulling into the business district, the Spirit said..
Holy Spirit-Look up.
I look up and there was the street I was looking for. I missed it but I found it. I turned the next corner and the corner after that and was at my destination. I arrived at Niles-Philadelphia 15 minutes late but right on time for the Spirit of God to finish the conversation he started with me the night before. It was powerful. And when I entered the church, the Dean of Admissions (whom I did not know he was),introduced himself and I in return and he said your not at New life this morning. I said, "I tried, but the Holy Spirit said no, and told me to come worship here this morning" he smiled and said Praise God. I said, I am.
The sermon was entitled "through the ups and downs" I laughed inside like Sarah did...The children's story even lined up with what God was saying to me..."Things that go together" I laughed again...
Then the analogy of the rollercoaster did it for me....Once your strapped in....you can't get off till the end of the ride....
John Ortber is the auther of The Life You've Always Wanted and you can find those chapters on the Holy Spirit and Confession in his book.