This past Sunday (2/2/20) Stephanie Joyner shared about this encounter with her neighbor in a local grocery store.  Here’s the written version in case you missed it or just want to mull it over a little more!

My grandfather was a dynamic storyteller. I could sit in a room and listen to him tell stories all day long. He was known for his laughter and large, winsome personality. He could capture the attention of a whole room of people, but his attentiveness was another thing entirely. In his older age, he wore hearing aids, and if I am remembering correctly, there were times where he would tire of listening to the ambient noise of the people and the life surrounding him. In those moments, he would enjoy the benefit of hearing aids which offered him the ability to literally tune out. He could turn the hearing aids down- maybe even off entirely- so that he could hear nothing at all.

Many of us have done a spiritual version of this in our lives. Many of us have wearied of navigating through all of the noise, and rather than create space to cultivate keen spiritual hearing that enables God’s voice to pierce through the noise…we’ve opted to stop listening – to turn down our spiritual “hearing aids” to a dull, numbing, low-level buzz. A couple of weeks ago, during corporate prayer, I shared a testimony of God’s ability to pierce through my life’s noise. I’ll share it here, in hopes that you, too, can hear Him waking you up to the beautiful sound of His voice.

A few weeks ago, after a prayer gathering of a couple of ladies in my home, I rushed out to a last-minute grocery trip. I swear, I fully intended to get my budget on and rock an Aldi trip, but frankly, I found myself running out of time and energy. So, I settled for a B level shopping trip to the grocery store nearest my neighborhood. As I rolled into the parking space, I got the strong sense that God had what some like to call a “divine appointment” awaiting me. I honestly just had a strong sense that there may be someone for me to minister to, waiting inside. So, I shut off my ignition, and took a brief, still moment to pray, “Lord, if that’s the case, give me your eyes, give me your ears, and give me your words.” I proceeded to gather up my purse and rush on to a frenzied grocery trip, much more like a distracted mom than a spiritually intuitive prayer warrior.

Honestly, it was a trip like any other until the very end when I ran into a neighbor on my way back out of the store. I happened to know that her significant other was battling cancer, and I asked how things were going. Her emotions were raw as she told me they actually had just received bad news that very day. The prognosis was grim. The doctors had done all that they could do. She apologized for her scattered thoughts and sense of disorientation in what would normally be a friendly social exchange in the middle of the neighborhood grocery. Because of God’s previous prompting, I was able to respond to her with spiritual sensitivity rather than just social flexibility. I was able to reach out and touch her arm, hoping that in that moment she would physically sense how not alone she was. I was able to speak words that God himself delivered in answer to a short prayer in a parking lot 30 minutes prior. I was able to look her straight in the eye and tell her that I sensed that God was leading me to care for someone inside of this store today, and I was now confident that the person was her. I could look at her and say, “You are not alone. You are known. He sees you, and He made sure that this moment right here happened so that you would know this truth anew. Can we pray together?” She warmly welcomed open prayer and two regular gals on a regular Saturday were able to meet with God in aisle 3 of the rural Food Lion.

1 Corinthians 2:14 says this  “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

This testimony is about one thing. And if you think it’s about an awkward extrovert and her neighbor, you heard it wrong.

This is about what can happen when we stop considering the movement of the spirit of God to be silly, relying primarily on the natural man, and instead grow in spiritual discernment. Perhaps you, like myself, often find yourself turning your spiritual “hearing aids” down- choosing inattentiveness over prayerful pursuit. May I encourage you that prayer is the thing that heightens our hearing. I have personally found that as my prayer life has grown, my attentiveness to God’s movement has grown in kind. That’s what this testimony tells us.

He has much work for us to do in 2020 NorthWake, and He’s far more concerned with our prayers than he is our plans. Honestly, we’d be fools to expect massive movement from God, in response to our desperate effort.

And we’d be fools not to expect massive movement from God in response to our desperate prayers.

Here’s where I kindly remind you that as a church, we gather to pray one Sunday night a month, and a group of us gather here on Wednesdays at noon to beg God for better hearing. Please consider joining us. I cannot wait to hear all of the ways He will lead you… as you listen.

By Stephanie Joyner