A few years ago I was standing in a Wal-Mart checkout line when I noticed something going on in the lane next to me. A young, poor looking family was rung up, but there was a problem with the check they were trying to use to pay. Their cart was full of essential things-- diapers, staple foods--$110 worth. I watched them fidget as the supervisor was called. As I stood there God spoke to me saying: “pay their bill.” Even though I knew it was probably God talking I didn’t act immediately. In fact I didn't act at all.
You might be thinking that a more likely explanation for the "pay their bill" suggestion would be a chemical problem in my brain, serious psychological problems, or perhaps just a compassionate nature. All of these are possible. But I believe it was God. When He speaks to me it can be a simple statement, a word, a verse in the Bible or something non-verbal. I don't think there is anything special that enables me to receive messages from God. I believe everyone gets these messages--the tough part is listening. I do test the messages for reasonableness--I don't totally trust my brain...
I debated the "pay their bill" suggestion; how should I do this? What should I say? Will they reject my offer? Should I just pay their bill, or ask that they pay me back at some later date? I admit I worried about giving them any information that they could use to contact me later. I did nothing.
The supervisor came and things still couldn’t be resolved. They asked the family to follow them to an area that wasn’t quite so public. The last thing I saw as I drove away was the family, sans groceries, driving out of the parking lot.
I wish I had handed the clerk my Visa, and put that $110 on my card. I hope that Wal-Mart experience was just a minor setback to that family. I struggle with the feeling that this event had a very negative impact on them. I will never know what happened.
What I do know is my disobedience blocked the best path for that day.