Do you ever hear the voice of Your Friend, the Holy Spirit?
In the early 1980s, a driver who worked for the same company, and was a friend of mine, was hundreds of miles from home making deliveries when he received a message that his four-year-old son, who was born with a childhood disease, had passed away.
Being devastated, he locked the doors to the truck, gave the keys to the Truckstop manager, and immediately left for the airport and home.
I was servicing sales accounts in Nashville that week, and about 9 o'clock that night, my boss in Knoxville called to tell me the news. He knew that the driver and I were friends; still, since my job was not related, I wondered why he was giving me so much information (that the product was going to warehouses in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas).
He abruptly finished the call by telling me that he wanted me to find the truck and complete his run; then he added. "because you are the only one we have who knows the product and how to drive the truck." Slowly grasping the situation, I said, hey, wait a minute! But it was too late; he had hung up the phone.
This would have been nothing to an experienced driver, but this was over my head. If it were a smaller truck, perhaps, but my only experience with a semi had been working with another driver for a few weeks to learn how to deal with the accounts and had helped with the unloading, (and he had let me do some of the driving).
It had been a fun experience, but I had no idea it would lead to this! I didn't even have a proper driver's license. I'm still not sure my boss knew all of this, and he wasn't about to give me a chance to explain.
So, he sent someone to drive me to the truck; we found it just before daybreak at a Truckstop near Louisville, KY loaded with more than 30,000 pounds of product that required 17 warehouse stops covering a three state area.
Peering into the back of the fully-loaded truck, I whispered a prayer that started and ended with, "Please!" Getting the truck started, and the first few miles were very awkward, but the things I had learned from the driver slowly began to return.
The first stop wasn't difficult to find, and they were able to give me directions to the next customer, 100 miles away. (I was impressed and amused that even though hundreds of miles apart, these companies knew their competition's exact location and how to get there).
So I worked the rest of that day, and, around 10 pm, completed the seven stops located between Louisville to Paducah and then south near the Tennessee state line where I found a motel; it had been two days without sleep, but somehow I seemed to be okay.
My next day began 5 hours later, and it was raining hard. Enroute from Western Kentucky to Memphis, I turned on the radio and learned that a major storm was forecast for the entire area. With five remaining warehouse stops in Memphis and three more 135 miles away in Arkansas, the rain became mixed with snow
By the time I reached Little Rock, it was mid-afternoon; the storm had moved in, and the rain had turned to snow. The streets were getting slippery, and businesses were closing, but I reached all of the stops on time; the workers at the final location had not gone home because they needed the product.
With the final stop completed I did a routine safety inspection on the truck and was standing by the drivers' door, trying to decide if I should begin my return trip or go to a motel and sit out the storm.
It had been still another long day and with heavy snow predicted along my route: Little Rock - Nashville - Chattanooga - North Atlanta - Knoxville, I wondered if I should even go.
Most of the drive to Atlanta would be Interstate, but from there, it would be an intimidating drive through the North Georgia Mountains into Tennessee on a steep, curvy two-lane highway.
However, the driver and I were close friends. We had the same interest in small planes and gliders and would occasionally take his son with us. When I was not with them, and an airplane flew over, I was told he would point to the sky and call my name.
Leaving now was the only way to get home in time for the interment service for my friend's little boy.
So, there, by the truck, I prayed for guidance, and after sensing what to me was the confident response of the Lord, I blurted out, "I'm Going!" and was hurriedly climbing into the truck when an excited Spiritual voice with the same enthusiasm, added, "And I'm going too!"
Although tired and with the snow falling, I was so impressed (shocked) with this voice that I sat quietly for several minutes. I remembered how at the beginning of the trip, I had anxiously looked up into the back of the fully-loaded truck and begged the Lord to be with me.
I do not believe I could have made the trip in that enormous truck with the sharp turns and narrow places to back into without the Holy Spirit.
I remembered the numerous short prayers along the trip and realized God, the Holy Spirit, had skillfully guided and protected me. And I hadn't even said thank you, yet He sounded excited to be going home with me.
The Holy Spirit was reminding me of His continual presence. His voice made me feel safe and confident.
I arrived back in Knoxville just before noon the next day; it was a long snowy drive home of several hundred miles, but the Holy Spirit was with me, and I and the truck were safe and on time.
God, the Holy Spirit, was the greatest gift Jesus could have given His Followers.
Our beautiful Churches can lead the lost to salvation and teach the Bible, but living a happy and successful Christian Life will only come from knowing and experiencing your friend the Holy Spirit, One on one.
Some seem to think the Holy Spirit is difficult to get to know or is continually watching to condemn their sins, but this is not correct. If you are a Christian, He is inside you, closer than your breath, to be your friend in every situation.
That experience was a great step of faith for me; the Lord has since led me in many different paths and finally into full time ministry for Him. But I will always remember the snowstorm hundreds of miles from home and hearing the Holy Spirit say, "And I'm going too!"
"Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you" (John 16:7).
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart, (Jer 29:13, KJV)