“Sit right here and take this clicker. Now lean forward and place your chin here.” I did as I was told, gripping the clicker and adjusting my head to fit the chin cup in front of a PC-sized, convex screen.
“Do you see a light in the center of the bowl?”
“Good. Keep your focus on it. When I start the machine, flashes of light will pop up randomly around the bowl. Each time you see a light, squeeze the clicker.”
“Some of the lights will be brighter and some dimmer, just be sure to keep your eyes on the central light. Ready? Begin.”
The machine whirrs, and a dot lights up near the central light. Click. Another briefly shows in a different quadrant. Click. Easy peasy. The lights flare like popcorn, several in quick succession, others with pauses in between. Some shine clearly, others more faintly. Wait, was that one in the corner of my eye? It resembled a phantom circle like spots after looking at the sun. I don’t click, but wait, here’s another…? I click, in case it’s real this time, but I can’t tell. Not so easy after all.
This eye test feels very much like my trying to listen to the Holy Spirit. I attempt to keep my focus on God as I walk through the day with an ear to His directions. Sometimes He speaks clearly in the Bible or through another person. Other times, He nudges me inwardly, and I’m not quite sure if the idea originated from Him or me.
A few days ago, I heard a song that continues to play over and over in my head. It struck a memory from somewhere on my timeline. I can’t place the memory, but I hear snatches of the song. A feeling of God’s presence from that earlier time warms me. Music infuses power in the memory.
I should look up that song. Our Bible study group would like it tonight. I look in three hymnals without success. I find the lyrics online but without chords.
Brother, let me be your servant.
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I may have the grace
To let you be my servant too.
We are pilgrims on the journey.
We are travelers on the road.
We are here to help each other.
Walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ light for you
In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you,
Speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping.
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow,
Till we’ve seen this journey through.
Tonight, I realize, my husband has another meeting and can’t lead music. Rats! I could lead it. No. I haven’t played guitar in a long time. My wrists will complain. Plus, all eyes would be on me. What if no one knows it? What if they don’t like it?
The lyrics don’t excite me as much as they did earlier. Maybe this is my idea and not from God. The floor needs mopping and chairs hauling from bedrooms to the dining table. I decide the song humming in my head is not a nudging from the Holy Spirit but from my imagination.
Later, after the pot-luck meal, the leader poses a question-of-the-night to open the study.
“Besides your spouse or God, who would you call if you had a really rotten day?” and a follow-up question, “Who would you call if you had a really remarkable day?”
A connection with the song forms behind my eyes, but I do not see it yet. Not until we read the scripture for the study.
Let brotherly love continue. Hebrews 13:1
I kick myself in the pants for not pursuing the Spirit’s leading.
Lord, I’m sorry. I should have followed through with the song. It was not a phantom and would have fit perfectly with our study, as you knew it would. Who in the group needed that song tonight, which I denied? It seems a small thing, but I’ll never know the ripples which might follow or could have followed.
Still, at other times when I pounce on ideas I think originate from you, I find I am wrong. Lord, help me keep my focus on you and be ready for your promptings while distinguishing between your leading from mine.
It’s hard to get up and move forward again, but I know you’ve removed my sin as far as east is from west. I don’t have to wallow in my failure. I pray another hymn:
Day by day,
Dear Lord, of Thee three things I pray–
To see Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly,
Day by day.