Just wanted to share an experience that I had last week while traveling.
A week ago I had to take a trip to a job site to do some computer work. I hit the road kind of late on Sunday afternoon and was hoping to make it to Amarillo, Texas. There was a really bad storm that I drove into just west of Oklahoma City and it really slowed me down. When I finally made it to the Oklahoma-Texas state line, I realized I wasn’t going to make it to Amarillo because I was really tired. So, I broke out my trusty IPhone and did a search for a place to “belly-up” for the night. I saw that McLean, Tx was another hour ahead of me so I looked up hotels there. I ended up finding a place called “The Cactus Inn” which is owned by Gordon and Jane Sheplor. I gave them a call and got a really nice automated answering service, so I thought to myself that this place must be pretty nice. I reserved a room and then set my GPS to navigate me on in to the location as I had no idea where this place was in McLean.
When I turned off I-40 at the proper exit, it struck me that it was kind of dark there. There were hardly any lights and definitely no restaurants or gas stations. I drove on following my GPS only to find that the turn it told me to make to pull into the parking lot was not correct. I ended up turning down a gravel road with houses on both sides. Now, I knew I was in trouble! But I was so exhausted that I knew it would be dangerous to try and make Amarillo. So, after searching for about 5 minutes, I found the hotel. As I pulled into the parking lot I thought that this evening was going to be an adventure, but I was here, so I decided to just make the best of it. I checked in, got me key and pulled around to my room.
Now here is where it gets just a bit interesting. As I opened the door to my room and looked in, I felt the Peace of God come over me. I don’t know if it was a word of wisdom, discernment, or what, but I just knew that this place was owned by Christ followers. It was an amazing feeling. Anyway, I set all my stuff in the room, and 15 minutes later I was asleep for the night and got a wonderful night’s sleep. The next morning I got up, hit the shower and gathered my stuff up so I could hit the road.
I was doing my usual morning prayer time while driving down the road and had covered 30 miles or so when I realized that I had left my hat on a shelf in the room. Now, normally, I’m not in to wearing hats and my first thought was to just forget about it. I could always get another one when I got back to the office. But, I decided to call and ask them to get it and hold it for me as I was going to be going right back by there on my way home. The person I talked to (Gordon) said that it wouldn’t be a problem, they would hold it for me until I was able to get back by there.
As I continued down the road, I went back to praying and felt like God wanted me to write about my initial experience there and give them a bit of advertising should anyone who reads this blog happen to pass through McLean, Texas. I can say that should I ever pass through there again, I would not hesitate to stop in and spend the night. The room I stayed in was outstanding. It was very clean, neat and when I went into the bathroom, I noticed that the towels were real. Not like those thin, white ones you can read a paper through at most places. It was extremely quiet in my room because it sits back off the road, and even if it didn’t, there didn’t appear to be much traffic anyway. Welcome to small town America. I enjoyed my nights stay there and the price was very reasonable.
Flash forward to my return trip and my stop off to retrieve my hat, where it gets even more interesting. As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed a lady sitting outside in a chair. When I got out of my truck and walked towards her, she asked if she could help me. I identified myself and told her that I was there to pick up a hat that I had left. Gordon was just inside, heard us talking and brought my hat out to me. Jane and I talked for a couple of moments about McLean, the hotel and then somehow the conversation turned towards God. It wasn’t long before Jane and I were having church right there in the courtyard of the hotel. We started talking about the things of God and I was totally blessed. I finally had to stop because I still had a lot of hours of driving to do just to get home, so that I could leave again for a trip my wife, children and I were taking. I told Jane how honored I was and how privileged I felt to get to spend the past few minutes with her just listening to her talk about Jesus. She then got up out of her chair, came over to me and wrapped her arms around me and prayed for me.
I must say that I haven’t felt the Presence and Power of God like that in a long time. Then, His presence got really strong and she started praying for me in the Spirit and then, started prophesying over me. Now, some of you might be a bit skeptical of God speaking to someone through another person, but it is biblical. I also admit that I am a bit of a skeptic myself about these kinds of things because in years past, there has been a lot of abuse of this kind of thing. But, I had never talked to Jane before, she knew nothing about me and nothing we talked about in the 45 minutes before could have given her insight into some of the issues I had been asking God to reveal to me. I’m telling you, it was like she had been driving with me over the past couple of days, hearing me pray to God for insight into what He wants me to do with my life. Some of what she spoke over me I hadn’t even talked to my wife about. Believe me, when something like this happens, at least to me, God has my full attention. I had a notebook with me and wrote down what she prophesied and am trusting God to do it.
But, the whole point of this story is learning to be obedient to the voice of God. If you will be still and hear the voice of God in your life, he will begin to do things just like this in your life. I mean, I would have never imagined anything like this could have happened to me in the small town of McLean, Texas. Who would have ever imagined that leaving a simple ball cap behind would turn out to be a life changing event? My meeting with Jane was not by chance; I’m convinced that God doesn’t leave things up to chance. He has a plan and He is working on His plan and He makes that plan know to us when we listen to Him speak. We just need to take the time to listen to Him, and then obey. There is an old Hymn of the Church that says:
When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy with Jesus,
But to trust and obey.
I know this to be true! And I pray that the Lord continues to help me trust and obey Him more.