This UnBlog from December 9, 2010 is one of John’s that illustrates a time that he heard and obeyed the Holy Spirit, which saved his life. It builds on basically the same topic we addressed in our previous Unblog posting.
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I was about seventeen when my dad gave us kids a 1964 VW Beetle. It was the ugliest car on earth at that time, and only became “cute” to later generations–which I admit I’m still not a part of. He gave the three older kids the VW as our teenage car. We paid for gas and oil, and he maintained it. It was a sweet deal.
One of the huge drawbacks of the early VW Beetles was that they had virtually no heaters or defrosters. It was very difficult to get one warm inside, and almost impossible to defrost the windows. I’m told Germans still don’t heat their homes, so maybe it seemed fine to them! To me it was always a frozen, miserable trip. I appreciated having transportation, but it really seemed like a bug, a cold metal insect to me. Did I mention that it had very poor headlights? I mean, light a candle and hold it out the window if you really want to see where you’re going! But the little thing started every single time, had great traction in the snow, and almost never left you stranded.
It was late one snowy afternoon with heavy fog when I was heading home late from Roy High School. The VW windows were predictably frosted over, of course. It was dark, and I could just barely identify the road enough to drive on it. I used to like to follow other vehicles, because I could see better from the reflected light of their headlights than from my own; but there didn’t seem to be any other cars venturing out into the weather at that time, so I was making my way through the fog alone.
Between the school and our home was a long hill. There were train tracks at two places on the hill. The upper one was a single track. The rails were rusty, and I had never seen a train there. The lower track was a double set, and trains crossed daily on that one. The crossing was marked by a big white X. There were no lights, or arms or bells. Just that white X.
I was coming down the long hill, shivering and anxious to get home. I could see the crossing sign up ahead and decided it was safe to cross.
I distinctly heard the Spirit whisper, “Stop.”
I came to a stop and looked closely. There was no train, and I was concerned that a car behind me might rear-end the VW as I was stopped. I put the bug back into first gear and started to move over the tracks.
The Spirit again said “Stop!” a little louder. I stopped again, rubbed a glove over the inside of my frosted windshield to see better, and again decided it was safe to proceed.
I had gone a couple of feet when the Spirit plainly said, “STOP! Roll down the window!” I was startled, and stopped again because the prompting was almost audible this time. I rolled down the window, and through the muffled effect of softly falling snow heard the distinct “clickity-clack-clickity-clack” of a train. I switched my lights on bright, which made a little difference, and was utterly terrified to see train wheels. Not a train–train wheels, going past my bumper no more than a few feet away. I was literally inches from driving under the train.
Time and again, I suspect for millennia before I was born, and through my few years of mortality, this one lesson has been taught to me over and over.
“My sheep hear my voice.”