My father tells a story of an incident in Christchurch when he was a teenager, a story of obedience and humility. In 1941,during World War II, there was fear of a Japanese invasion of New Zealand and a blackout was put in place incoastal areas.
Street lighting was turned down and the windows of most homes were covered with black curtains, paint or paper.
An Emergency Precautions Scheme (EPS)was set up, which my father was part of. They were tasked with making sure that the blackout was upheldbecause Japanese planes were flying overhead.
One night, when my father was out scouting the neighbourhood, an accompanying Army Sergeant saw a light shining at a local Christchurch home.My 14-year-old father was asked to visit it.
My father knocked on the door using a knuckleduster. EPS kids used a knuckleduster to ensure the knock was heard and some homes did not have a doorbell.
A woman came to the door and Dad told her, 'you've got a light shining, you have to get [it] out, don't you know the Japanese are coming ashore?'
A voice from the back of the house, which was her husband, yelled out, 'who's that?'
She replied, 'some snotty-nosed kid is telling us to put our light out for blackout drill'.
The coupleended up being quite discourteous. My father returned to tell the Sergeant aboutthe 'snotty-nosed kid' comment and how the couple declined to turn their lights off.
The Army Sergeant clicked into action and marched to the house with his loaded rifle. Standing outside the house he fired three shots through the window and extinguished the light.
The couple were furious about the shattered window and that they had to pay to fix the damage.
But they were severely reprimanded by the Sergeant, who asked them if they might be spies, and reminded them of the consequence of their actions.
Obedience and humility
I believe, the couple’s actions, in not responding to the need to maintain the city in blackout, showed a lack of obedience and humility.
Firstly, they did not obey a decree from the Government and secondly they refused to listen to a 14-year-old kid.
This story got me thinking about my walk with God and my own obedience and humility.
How much am I listening to God?
How hard does God have to knockto get my attention?
Do I respond to a quiet tap?
Or does God have to use a knuckle duster to get my attention?
Do I sometimes treat God like some snotty nosed kid who is getting in my way?
I don’t want to get to a stage where God needs to place me in total darkness before I humble myself before him.
Learning from not listening
One of the hardest examples I have learned from not listening to God, was a few years ago, when I was in the lift with a work colleague.
It was early in the morning and there were only the two of us in the lift. The work colleague was struggling with breathlessness, sweating and extremely overweight.
I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to speak to this person, who I did not know very well. For some reason I lost the opportunity and remained silent.
Two days later I discovered that this work colleague had died from a heart attack.
I was absolutely shocked and felt a huge sense of guilt that I had not responded to the Holy Spirit prompting.
This taught me a big lesson and has set a course to remind me and respond, whenever I feel the nudge, or hear that still small voice again.
Responding to the small voice
Three years ago I was in the United States at a Vineyard conference.We were asked to prophesy over someone nearby who we did not know.
I turned around and behind me was a young American woman in her late 20’s. We agreed that we would prophesiseover each other.
She gave me some great words of encouragement and as she was talking, I saw a picture of her serving and drinking cups of tea with cakes.
This picture seemed ludicrous . She was a young American woman who would not be interested in tea parties. Also, Americans drank coffee not tea.
However, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge to give her this picture.
After I told her, she told me that she and her husband had been praying about setting up afternoon teas in their neighbourhood for Muslim woman.
The picture gave her huge encouragement.
This was another reminder to trust God and not let physical circumstances undermine what is happening in the spirit.
Humbling myself before God
To ensure that I am walking with God I find the best thing I can do is give God eachday .
God, what are you up to today?
What surprises do you have in store for me?
Help me to do your will.
Perhaps, as we bow to God and give him each day, we can gravitatefrom the school of hard knocks to the school of blessings. His burden is light.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Wayne worked in the media for more than 30 years before leaving to follow a call to set up The Daily Encourager, a values based media showcasing the best of New Zealand society. He has a passion for Jesus, enjoys walking, ball sports, the arts and song writing.
Wayne Graham worked in the media for more than 30 years before leaving to follow a call to set up The Daily Encourager, a values based media showcasing the best of New Zealand society. He has a passion for Jesus, enjoys walking, ball sports, the arts and song writing.