Last week, I pulled into the hospital parking lot (one of many trips to many different hospitals that week, actually) to visit a sick member. It was one of those gray, rainy days that tends to make my mood match gray. Mind you, it wasn’t a downpour, just steady rain which I know is good for the ground, but doesn’t do much with it.
Parking spaces are almost always difficult to find in this hospital, especially the spaces near the entrance itself. But that day I found one just across the driveway entrance and only about 30 feet from the awning cover. I smiled, knowing I could cover that distance in seconds.
It would never have occurred to me to take an umbrella at that time.
And yet, that’s exactly what came to mind, Mr. Alpha Male, Mr. (in my head) Invincible. I’ve always wedged it right between my seat and the center console in a Noahic downpour.
I immediately shook off that thought. I didn’t need the umbrella. But as I grabbed the doorknob, I immediately felt the urge hit me again. And so I just shrugged it off and did the least likely thing for me at the time; I grabbed the umbrella, opened the door, then the umbrella, got out of the truck, closed the door and started walking the thirty feet to cover.
As I took cover, a gentleman standing there made the usual Southern joke on a rainy day: “I’ll give you five bucks for that umbrella.” I laughed – then I realized he was very serious.
“I’m not kidding,” he said, “I’ll give you five bucks for it right now.”
I had people waiting for me at that time inside the hospital, but I had to take a moment and find out what was going on. And upon investigation I learned that the gentleman had to cross the road to get to the pharmacy and get a prescription filled, then whenever that was finally done he had 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 who was waiting for me and forgot about the umbrella incident.
A good while later, I left the hospital and jumped in the truck to go back to the church. And a few blocks later, I spotted a familiar-looking red and white umbrella entering an apartment complex.
And that’s where 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 lifespan of fifty-one years so far, I felt compelled to reach for an umbrella to barely cover thirty feet under a slow rain. There was no other explanation why, even when I rejected that urge, it hit me again, even harder. God knew that while I didn’t need it to go thirty feet in the rain, another gentleman needed it to go half a mile in the rain.
Romans 8:9 and 1 Corinthians 6:19 teach that when a person is saved, the Holy Spirit of God comes to indwell him. And since he is the third member of the Trinity, an individual person, he is not there simply as a silent spectator. It is there to play a very important active role in your life. And it will if you let it. The reason I said it this way is because Ephesians 5:18 gives us a commandment to obey, a commandment that we be filled with the Holy Spirit. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit the moment we are born again, but we are filled with the Holy Spirit day by day as we submit ourselves to God. Being filled is very different from just being inhabited. 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.
One rainy day, while I was about God’s business, the Holy Spirit, as subtly as a spring breeze, put an umbrella in my hand so I could put it in someone else’s hand. ‘other.
Please don’t think for a moment that I am writing this fishing for praise; this umbrella was nothing special, and I have three more sitting in my office as I write this. I write to you both because I am impressed with God and His actions 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 assistants wanted to go to Bithynia, but the Holy Spirit decided otherwise, choosing instead to send them to Macedonia. Paul later wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Quench not the Spirit.” In other words, don’t stifle and stifle its influence in your life and relationships. Seek his guidance.
God has given us his infallible written guidance, the Bible. But he also gives us, from time to time, subtle but sure situational guidance through the Holy Spirit. Notice that the leading of the Holy Spirit will not be “additional revelation.” Nor will it ever be unscriptural, and anyone who says it is is simply looking for an excuse for sin or carnality.
But the Holy Spirit will guide you if you let Him.
And it will definitely be the coolest thing that happens to you all day.
Bo Wagner is the pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at email@example.com.