Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com
Last week I pulled into the hospital parking lot (one of many trips to many different hospitals that week, actually) to visit an ailing member. It was one of those gray, rainy days that tend to make my mood match the gray. Mind you, it was not a driving downpour, just a steady rain that I know is good for the ground but nonetheless do not much care for.
Parking spots are almost always hard to come by at this hospital, especially any spots actually near to the entrance itself. But on this particular day, I found one just across the driveway from the entrance and only about thirty feet from the cover of the awning. I smiled, knowing I could cover that distance in just a few seconds.
It never ever would have occurred to me to reach for an umbrella at that moment.
And yet, that is exactly what occurred to me, Mr. Alpha Male, Mr. (in my mind) Invincible. I always have it wedged right between my seat and the center console in case of Noahic-flood-level deluges.
I immediately shook that thought off. I did not need the umbrella. But as I reached for the door handle, I immediately felt the urge hit me again. And so I simply shrugged and did the least likely thing for me at that moment; I grabbed the umbrella, opened the door, then the umbrella, exited the truck, closed the door, and started walking the thirty feet to cover.
As I stepped under cover, a gentleman standing there made the standard joke for the South on a rainy day, “I’ll give you five dollars for that umbrella.” I laughed – and then realized he was dead serious.
“I ain’t jokin’”, he said, “I’ll give you five dollars for it right now.”
I had people waiting for me that very moment inside the hospital, but I had to take a moment and find out what was going on. And upon inquiry, I learned that the gentleman needed to walk across the road to the pharmacy and get a prescription filled, and then whenever that was finally done, he needed to walk to his apartment several blocks away.
I handed him the umbrella and said, “A gift from me to you. Have a blessed day, and stay dry.” And then I went inside to see those who were waiting for me and put the umbrella incident out of my mind.
A good while later, I left the hospital and hopped in the truck to go back to the church. And several blocks later, I caught sight of a familiar-looking red and white umbrella entering an apartment complex.
And that is when it finally hit me. I smiled and said, “That was you, Lord, wasn’t it?”
There was no other good explanation why, for the first time in my entire fifty-one-year life span thus far, that I felt compelled to reach for an umbrella to go a mere thirty feet in a slow rain. There was no other explanation why, even when I dismissed that urge, it hit me again, even stronger. God knew that, though I did not need it to go thirty feet in the rain, another gentleman did need it to go half a mile in the rain.
Romans 8:9 and 1 Corinthians 6:19 teach that when a person gets saved, the Holy Spirit of God comes to indwell them. And since he is the third member of the Trinity, a person individual, he is not there merely as some silent spectator. He is there to play a very prominent, active role in your life. And he will if you will let him. The reason I put it that way is because Ephesians 5:18 gives us a command to be obeyed, a command that we be filled with the Holy Spirit. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit the moment we get born again, but we are filled with the Holy Spirit day by day as we submit ourselves to God. To be filled is far different from simply being indwelt. Examining the context of Ephesians 5:18 lets us know that to be filled with the Spirit means to be under his control and direction.
On a rainy day, when I was just going about God’s business, the Holy Spirit, as subtly as a spring breeze, got an umbrella into my hand so that I could get it into someone else’s hand.
Please do not think for a moment that I am writing this fishing for praise; that umbrella was nothing special, and I have three more sitting in my office as I write this. I am writing both because I stand in awe of God and his dealings and because I want to encourage you who are saved to be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit. In Acts 16:7, Paul and his helpers wanted to go into Bithynia, but the Holy Spirit directed otherwise, choosing instead to send them into Macedonia. Paul later wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Quench not the Spirit.” In other words, do not smother and stifle his influence in your life and dealings. Seek his guidance.
God has given us his infallible written guidance, the Bible. But he also, from time to time, gives us subtle but sure situational guidance through the Holy Spirit. Mind you, the guidance of the Holy Spirit will not be some “further revelation.” Nor will it ever run contrary to Scripture, and anyone saying that it does is merely looking for an excuse for sin or carnality.
But the Holy Spirit will guide if you will let him.
And it will almost certainly be the coolest thing to happen to you all day long.
Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at email@example.com, and his books and other resources are available by clicking the “Store” link above.
Feature photo by Pastor Bo Wagner