One evening in the spring of 2008, as I discussed our country’s “disgusting” politics and morality with my parents around their dinner table, God suddenly gave me a heavy impression that all of our “talking” didn’t matter. The conversation transformed into meaningless white noise as the impression grew heavier. I finally interjected politely and asked if we could pray for our country rather than talking about it. My mom and dad are always up for a good family prayer meeting, so we spent a little under a half hour with an “around the world” missionary-style prayer.
After we felt satisfied, I decided it was time to head home. After I said my goodbyes and hugged each of my parents, I walked out to my grey Buick and grabbed the keys from my pocket. Then without any warning or angels illuminating the Michigan sky, I heard God speak. “Go to Seven Eleven. There’s a guy named Jim that I want you to talk to.”
It wasn’t really something I heard with my ears. I heard Him with my body if that makes sense. It was like my entire being morphed into a satellite that detected God’s voice. As I slowly opened my car door, I smiled and laughed hesitantly thinking that my vivid imagination had probably got the best of me. “Really, Lord? A guy named Jim?” I asked still chuckling. “Well, I’ll do it. Might as well. No harm can come from it.”
When I pulled out of the gravel driveway, God kept revealing new things to me. By the time I rolled into the parking lot of Seven Eleven, I sensed that after meeting Jim, I was supposed to “give him hope for his finances and offer him money.” As I hopped out of the car, I dreamed up my own visual story of how I would meet Jim. I pictured it like this: I emerge confidently from my car, walk in Seven Eleven’s door, and “poof!” The worker behind the counter is Jim. Ultra-convenient! Legit and simple! I don’t even have to make a fool out of myself because he’ll have a nametag. Needless to say, my imagination was as wrong as a businessman appearing at work in spandex.
When I slowly walked through the doors, there was a girl at the counter and nobody else working. So, I did what any other guy would do in my situation. I putzed around each aisle staring with great intensity at Ho-Ho’s and other overpriced snack foods that I had no intention of buying. After I made my way through five aisles without picking up a single snack, I thought, “This girl probably thinks I’m going to rob the place.” So, I invented a conversation about Jesus and relationship with God that was slightly awkward, but seemed to do the trick. After conversing for about eight minutes, neither of us had anything left to say, and I started skimming the nutritional content of Twinkies and beef jerkey. “God,” I whispered, “I’m gonna leave. I must’ve missed it. It’s time for me to go. I don’t want to look like a weirdo anymore.”
The moment I finished my impromptu prayer, a guy walked in. God said, “That’s Jim. Go up to him boldly and say, ‘Your name’s Jim, isn’t it?” I obeyed. He didn’t have a nametag. He didn’t get out his ID. This was a risk, but I knew his name would be Jim. I put the Twinkies back on the shelf, tapped him on the shoulder, and boldly stated, “Your name’s Jim, isn’t it?” His whole body rotated toward me and he said, “Yeah, how’d you know that?” A tingle shot up my spine, and I said, “The Lord sent me here to offer you hope for your finances.”
With a sense of awe and bewilderment, Jim paused and said, “Hmmm, that’s funny. I’m going through a bankruptcy right now.” After I explained to him that God wants to be intimate with him and even teach him about finances, Jim said, “I feel like there’s electricity going up and down my spine.” I said, “That’s the Holy Spirit.” Then a light bulb clicked in my head and I asked him, “Are you a Christian?” I knew I had his attention. If he didn’t believe in Jesus before this conversation, he would afterward. I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. He said that he did know Jesus and told me which church he attended. According to plan, I offered him money. He wouldn’t take it. He said that he had what he needed referring to God. After we talked for a few more minutes, he shook my hand, thanked me, and said, “Now I know that miracles really do happen.”
As he pulled away in his pickup truck, I couldn’t help but think that his last remark was the kicker. There’s a Christian guy named Jim living somewhere near my hometown that now believes in miracles. Next time you find yourself tempted to complain about the immorality or the political state in our nation or anything else, pray instead. Moral and political solutions separated from intimacy with God amount to nothing. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The knowledge of the Holy one is understanding.”
Ask God to turn your heart and the hearts of other individuals in our nation towards Him. Then listen for His voice and obey. He might ask you to pray more. He might ask you to forgive someone. Or he might ask you to go and meet “a guy named Jim.” God’s voice is the “still, small voice.” It’ll fill you with peace and lead you towards healing and restoration. I didn’t go out and change the world in a day. I did obey though, and I know it changed one person’s life. It changed mine.