My little one peered through the large windows as our MARTA train sped past people and trees and buildings. It was her first ride. A day of firsts. I had planned an interesting day for her and was glad that she’d loved every bit of it so far. We had gone to a near-by pond and fed the ducks with old bits of bread which I packed in little baggies. She shrieked with excitement as the walked right up to her begging for more. Now this. I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through her mind as she looked on, speechless.
We got off and waited for the train going back to Dunwoody where we had boarded, little did I know there wasn’t one. I paced up and down the platform getting frantic, I didn’t like the feeling of being stuck with my two year old in unfamiliar territory. Atlanta had several areas that were not so great and I didn’t know which ones they were. To make matters worse, my cell phone was out of minutes and out of charge. Unlimited plans were not yet readily available in 2004. A lady walked on to the platform rolling her carry-on suitcase and looking nervously at her watch. I walked up to her, she appeared to be in her mid 50’s, elegantly dressed with her neatly coiffured hair and exclusive jewelry pointing out her somewhat comfortable life style. I greeted her and asked for directions. She did know her way around either as she was from out of state, visiting her daughter and son-in-law with their first baby. She was heading back to the airport to catch her flight back home. She reached into her purse and pulled out a cell phone, with which she called her son-in-law to ask for the directions. He in turn asked to speak with me and gave me exact directions.
I was very touched – airtime minutes were precious and yet she’d shared them so readily. “Lord, I want to bless her, how can I bless her?” I asked silently. Just then the train arrived and we boarded it along with several others who had slowly filled the empty platform by then. I picked out a seat at the very end of the car and put my daughter in the seat next to the window.
“Give her your I-pod,” I heard the Holy Spirit say to me. My I-pod was loaded with wonderfully inspiring contemporary worship music that I had carefully put together. They were so powerful, they seemed to transport me to a different place every time I listened to them. I had no doubt they would be a huge blessing to anyone.
“That would be such an awesome blessing to her,” I said to the Lord, ” but Lord I have no idea how to walk up to someone who seems to have everything and offer them a gift just like that. She will think I’m trying to pay for the help she gave me, that might offend her.”
My questions were numerous and I sat put, not really intending to move anywhere.
“Are you taking her to the mall?” A male voice interrupted the inner turmoil that had quickly built up in me. I looked up perplexed. It was a man at the opposite end of the car, the very last seat, facing our direction.
“Your daughter, are you taking her to the mall?” He asked again.
“No” I answered and turned my face away.
“To the park?” He asked, a grin spreading across his face.
“No,” I answered again, not wanting any more attention. Every head in the car turned from him to me and back following our conversation.
“Just a day out?” He persisted.
“Yes!” I answered, exasperated. He smiled and before I could think or say anymore, he got up, brushed past the other passengers and came all the way to our end of the car. “The Lord said I should give this to you, I’m not sure why He thinks you need it that’s why I was asking, but He said to give it to you,” he finished, pressing the money in my hand. He turned and went back to his seat. I was so sure by now I had turned bright red as I felt very embarrassed. My mind raced. Was he saying the truth or did I just look like I needed help, I wondered. I almost choked on my own saliva as I swallowed hard. Perhaps he was checking me out and wanted to talk to me.
“That’s how to do it,” the Holy Spirit said, interrupting my mind traffic. I gently came undone. “I can’t possibly not obey now,” I said silently, coaxing myself to get up and act. Timidly I got up taking my daughter’s hand and walked over to the lady who had helped us. My legs felt like they had led weights attached to them.
“The Lord wants you to have this,” I said pressing the I-Pod into her hand. As she started to protest, I quickly turned and rushed out of the train which had just made a stop. There on the platform was the gentleman who had given me the $10 on the platform and he approached me again. “I’m a pastor,” he said, trying to explain that he really wasn’t trying to hit on me back there. By the look on his face I realized that he was just as embarrassed as I was. “It’s okay,” I said, “I know why He said you should – it was because of me. Thank you,” I responded.
As you can imagine, my excuse had been just that. An excuse. Deep in my heart was buried an overwhelming fear of rejection. The Lord was opening up the gates and beckoning me to come out of that prison. He was listening to my heart regardless of what I was saying to Him with my mouth.
You may have been praying for the same thing for years and you wonder why the Lord is not answering your prayers. Take a long pause and listen – sometimes, your heart is saying something entirely different from what you utter with your mouth. For example, you may have prayed for healing many times but deep in your heart you really wish to go and be with Lord and you sometimes imagine your sickness can get your there. Life here on earth overwhelms you and you are tired and depressed. God listens to your heart because He is a “Heart kind of guy.” That’s why He gave you the Holy Spirit.
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” – Galatians 4:6
That’s the cry He wants to hear. The bare-yourself-before-the-Lord kind of cry that has you standing before Him naked and unashamed. He is not afraid of our ugly truths.
I cry out with my whole heart; Hear me, O Lord! I will keep Your statutes – Psalm 119:145
The enemy on the other hand will ensnare you with your words as quickly as you utter them. He does care about what is in your heart – only that it should be as foul as possible. That way, he can draw you into his wicked schemes and keep you from walking in what the Lord has for you.
Acts 5: 3-5 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last.
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. Matthew 15:18