There is great potential of amazing things happening when we respond to God’s whispers, but so often those whispers, that many times come in the form of a thought, are dismissed as being “just me.” That’s what I thought the night God whispered to me to buy my friend Nancy some flowers…..
It was December in Pennsylvania, and I ran through the parking lot in the cold rain as I rushed into my condo to get out of the elements. It was not the kind of night I wanted to be out and about, and I had just gotten home from a long day. I made my way up the steps to my room, and was relishing the fact that none of my roommates were home, and although I loved them, I savored any precious moments of alone time I could get amid a busy time of year. It was then that I had a thought that went something like this, “It’s close to the anniversary of Nancy losing her husband to cancer five years ago. Go get her some flowers and a card from Jesus to her.” Then, I thought of the story of how Jesus wept when Mary was grieving over Lazarus’ death.
It literally only took ten seconds for that thought to pass through my mind, and five seconds to dismiss it as being “just me.” It was cold and rainy outside. I was tired. I had a moment alone at the house. This mounting evidence “proved” to me that these thoughts were clearly “just me.” However, the thoughts wouldn’t leave. They persistently pursued me like a dog wanting to be fed, and eventually, I listened.
I couldn’t figure out why there was such a sense of urgency these thoughts brought with them, so instead of putting my cozy flannel pajamas on, I put my winter coat back on and rushed back out into the elements to get flowers for Nancy from Jesus. I arrived at the grocery store, and I had another thought. “Red Roses.” This went against my better judgment which would have been to get her Gerbera daisies (what I would have preferred to receive as a gift), but I figured if the other thoughts were God speaking to me, then I would go with the flow and assume that this thought was Him too. So, I bought the red roses and a card and raced home to get the card written before Nancy got home.
Staying with theme of the night, I included the analogy of Jesus weeping when Mary grieved, and I told Nancy in her card that Jesus was weeping with her as she grieved. I placed the flowers and card in her room, and I waited for her to come home. One hour prior, I was excited about being alone, and now I found myself listening to every noise hoping it was Nancy’s car door announcing her arrival.
Finally she arrived home, and for one hour she never noticed the flowers or card in her room. A sucker for surprising people, I couldn’t take it anymore. I thought if I was going to have to wait for her to notice the flowers, I was at least going to have some fun. I yelled to her in her room, “Hey, Nancy! What’s your favorite flower?” And she promptly replied, “Red Roses. Why?” My heart pounded with delight and I thought I just might have heard God after all. She explained to me that her husband always gave her red roses and that God had often referred to her as His rose. She also shared that her sons had been sending her roses since her husband had passed away and that she would remove one rose from the dozen roses and leave it on her husband’s grave leaving her to enjoy the leftover eleven roses.
After her sweet story, I couldn’t stand waiting anymore. I stepped over to her room and told her to turn around to see what she had been missing for the last hour and she gasped with joy. I left her to read her card in privacy. In just a few minutes she came into my room and she was weeping. She said, “Did I tell you what God told me in the weeks after the night that my husband died?” I knew that she had not shared this information with me. It was then that she said that she knew God was in the room with her the night that her husband passed away, but she had often wondered what God was doing in that moment. I am sure that is often a question God is asked in moments like that. When she presented this question to God five years before, He gave her a scripture reference and it was the reference to the verse “Jesus wept.” In essence, He was telling her that He was not only with her, but that He was grieving with her and for her. That was the very reference He had me put in her card (remember the thought I had??).
We were both overjoyed at how God had spoken to us both, and I seriously thought God had truly outdone Himself that night. That was until Nancy counted the roses. She had gone back to her room, and not long after, I heard a loud scream. I rushed into her room and through her tears she exclaimed, “There are only eleven roses here!!!”
This night was a night that made me realize even more how I wanted to be even more deliberate about not dismissing my thoughts as being “just me” and believing, instead, that God could be whispering to me through those thoughts. Only He could have known that the florist at the grocery store had made a mistake that very night and that there was a bouquet of eleven red roses with Nancy’s name on them.