Yesterday my husband was late for dinner. I had a feeling I should try to find out if he was OK. By and by I texted: no reply. I kept working on the laundry and reading my email. The idea was persistent but I kept folding laundry. The notion kept nagging, but I told myself I would just get one more thing done before driving to the work site. Finally, I got in the car and sped.
When I arrived, I found out that David had fallen. The ladder where he had been scraping siding in semi-darkness was set on lumpy terrain, and he had thought he was descending from the last rung when in fact it was the third-to-last. He landed badly, compounding his sciatic nerve pain.
I asked David when approximately he had fallen, and when he told me the time, I realized it was about the time that I had started thinking I should check on him. This matter of timing reminded me of the incident in the Bible when God called attention to the timing of a miracle so as to strengthen a man’s faith:
“Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son will live.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.’ The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household” (John 4:50-53).
I often speak in my columns about wanting to be led by the Spirit, because the Bible tells us to be so led:
“… walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16).
I believe this “walking” and “leading” refers to real relationship and communication, not to an abstraction. I believe it refers to a “hearing” from the Spirit that can become more acute if we cultivate an ear for His voice (John 10:26-27) and do not habitually “grieve the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:30) by turning Him off.
Will we always be sure that the nudging we feel is that of the Spirit and not our imagination or another psychological compulsion? I don’t think spiritual life is a matter of mathematical certainty. But it seems to me the rule of thumb is that if the impulse is identifiably not a sinful one, and if it is persistent, and if the doing of the action would tend to good rather than harm, it is wise to heed it. Otherwise, what do we mean by repeating the phrase “walk by the Spirit”?
I can only speculate at this point as to whether a timely visit to my husband’s workplace would have changed the course of events. But my desire from here on out is to be tuned in to God’s every whisper.