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Learn to Listen to the Whisper of the Holy Spirit

Often times we see in scripture where the Holy Spirit spoke to people, guiding them and directing their paths, as they obeyed without issue. Other times that whisper had to turn into a roar before they listened. Still others never listened and suffered the consequences of that disobedience.

Some of us, myself included, tend to be a little more stubborn than others, we sometimes don’t hear the whispering of the Holy Spirit and ignore the Roar, finding a way to justify our actions. When that happens, as in any other circumstance in life, we suffer the consequences of that disobedience.

I believe it was in 2005 or 2006, I was living in Nixa Mo, and was the proud owner of a Honda Shadow 750 motorcycle. It was beautiful. Bright orange with yellow ghost flames. At that time, I was still somewhat of an unexperienced rider, so whenever I would venture out on an excursion, instead of riding my bike I would ride my husband’s 650 Honda. His bike was much smaller and easier for me to manage, as such, While I had become pretty proficient in riding the 650 I had only ridden my bike a few times and was not at all experienced on it.

One Wednesday night, I decided it was a beautiful evening and I was going to ride the motorcycle to evening church service. We were still meeting in the boys and girls club at that time. My husband was teaching at Drury University on Wednesday nights and so this ride would be a solo ride.

I went out to the garage and got on his bike and attempted to start it. It wouldn’t start. I had just ridden it the evening before so I couldn’t understand why it wouldn’t start. I checked out everything and nothing seemed to be dead. It had gas; it just wouldn’t connect. WHISPER ONE.

I thought, “well I will jump start it”. Didn’t work. WHISPER TWO.

“OK” I thought to myself, “well it’s time to take the leap and ride my 750”.

I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit say, “not a wise decision.” But I poo poo’d it off as just being me. WHISPER THREE.

We normally kept the keys in the bikes since they were inside the garage, they had been for the 650, but they were not for the 750. WHISPER FOUR.

Deciding they must be in the bedroom I started down the hallway. We had a very large home at the time, and our bedroom was at the far end of the house, so it took at least a minute to walk to the bedroom from the garage. The whole time I was walking down the hallway, I felt the strong urging of the Holy Spirit to NOT ride that bike. It was no longer a whisper; he was strongly dealing with me not to do this.

I have been a Christian since age 5. I have heard the voice of the Holy Spirit many times and have felt His promptings often over the years. I knew better, but those of you who know me, know I can be a bit stubborn…yes I know that is a shock to you, but it is true. When I make up my mind to do something I am not easily dissuaded.

Here is the thing you must understand, the Holy Spirit loves us and wants what is best for us, but He will not force His will on us. If we recognize His voice and choose to ignore Him, He will let us do it our way. This doesn’t mean He turns his back on us or doesn’t love us. He does, but He will not force us to obey, nor listen. That is a choice we must make. On this day I chose to not listen. I didn’t say “sorry Lord, but I’m going to ride this bike despite you telling me not to.” I would never be so brazen in my disobedience. No, I instead used human reasoning to justify that disobedience. I told myself, “Your just being silly…your just nervous because you haven’t ridden the bike that much. Its time you put your big girl panties on and ride your bike. The only way you are going to get comfortable riding it is just to do it”. Of course, there is a difference in riding the bike around the area to get used to it, and riding it 35 miles to Branson and back, down highway 65.

I found the keys. All the way back down the hallway towards the garage, I felt that prompting of the Holy Spirit to NOT ride the bike. But at this point I had made up my mind. At this point it was a matter of pride. I had told myself I was being a coward and needed to prove to myself I could do this.

I started heading toward church. For the first few minutes I was really scared. I sang worship songs in my helmet, trying to calm myself down. After several miles I began to feel pretty good about myself. I made it to church with no problem. I remember sitting on the back bleachers while Dr. Berl Best preached. I remember thinking. “See you were all worried for nothing…if you made it here safely, you can certainly make it home….”

After service Dave Stallman, also a motorcycle enthusiast, came out and was admiring the bike. We talked for a few moments, and I then got on it and started for home. I began to feel that uneasiness that I had felt when I first left the house headed toward the church. I once again began to sing worship songs in an attempt to calm my fears.

Going northbound I exited off of 65 highway at Hwy 14 exit at Ozark. My plans were to turn left to go to Nixa. My light there at the exit was red. I stopped. When my light turned green, a small pickup that was going east on hwy 14 came to a stop as his light turned red. Just as I was turning left to go over the 65 overpass toward Nixa, the driver of the pickup decided to run the red light. Seeing him coming and anticipating the possibility of being knocked over the guardrail and down onto 65 hwy. I stuck out my hand to push away from the guardrail. The pickup went past me East bound and never looked back. I was able to bring the bike to a stop without it turning over. When I got stopped, I looked and noticed my handlebars were bent and the throttle on the right side was dangling down where it had hit the guardrail. I reached over to lift up the throttle and saw a bone from my right thumb sticking out of my black leather glove.

My first thought was “well… that can’t be good.”

It took me a few tries to get my helmet unsnapped so I could use my phone. I figured my husband was still at Drury, but I knew pastor Sam had to be close behind me on his way home, so I called him. He was approaching the Hwy 14 exit, so he exited off and pulled in behind me.

He called Wes, my husband, who was just leaving Drury. Then the police and the ambulance. They all arrived about the same time. The ambulance driver put me inside the ambulance and started to cut the glove off. I stopped him and told him I didn’t think that was a good idea, as I believed the glove might be the only thing holding the thumb on. It was later decided that Wes would drive me to the hospital and Pastor Sam would follow.

They immediately took me into the emergency room and as I suspected, when they cut the glove off, the right thumb was only attached by a small piece of skin.

To make a long story short, 4 surgery’s later, staff infection and a 7 day hospital stay, I have a thumb that is fused and not much use.

The Holy Spirit never said “I told you so.” But I knew. I knew that had I listened to His whispering that I would not have had to go through all the pain and suffering that I did. I look at the thumb everyday, I see the scar that wraps clear around it. And everyday I am reminded of how the Holy Spirit tried to warn me. Satan tried to kill me that day. The Holy Spirit, even in my disobedience protected me, but there were definitely consequences to my disobedience.

Lesson Learned: When you hear that still small voice of the Holy Spirit…Listen. When you feel that urging or prompting in your spirit to do or not do something…Listen. And if you disobey and suffer the consequences of that disobedience…recognize it for what it is, and learn the important lesson of obeying His voice.

Rita Sanders


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