At one point in my life I had a remarkable gift of predicting the future. Seriously I could. My friends were always amazed. Every time I got in my car and started it up I could predict what song was going to be playing on the radio before I even turned it on. Sounds unbelievable doesn’t it? Well believe it because it’s true.
Back when I was enrolled at Hiram College and my friends and I needed something to do we’d hop in my trusty old 84’ Chevy Cavalier and head out to the Ravenna Taco Bell or over to Kent State looking for something to do. And for a while, I had this stint where I could guess the next song that would come on the radio EVERY time. Everyone thought it was pretty awesome. I had no idea how I was doing it but sure enough I was.
So after awhile I started wondering what this supernatural gift was. Maybe I had other powers too? Jedi Mind Trick? Levitation? X-Ray vision? No such luck. But this song thing was for real. So after awhile when I was out driving by myself I started trying to guess without anyone there. Sure enough I could do it EVERY time. I have to admit I started to get a little freaked out.
But then one day I noticed something. If I changed the channel I was instantly unable to “know” the song. Something was up. So I changed back to my preset station. Thinking back I think the station was 100.7 WMMS – I can’t remember for sure though (so much for super-cognition). Anyhow, for some reason I could only predict the song with WMMS “The Buzzard” on (some of you will get the irony of that particular reference in my life). Then one day it happened.
I like to drive with the radio off – just to enjoy the quiet – but one day I hit a bump and then I heard it. The radio was off but I could very faintly hear the song that was on coming out of my driver-side speaker. It must have been some kind of wiring malfunction but I could hear the radio when it was off. Shortly after I hit another bump… it was gone. So I pulled over and unbuckled my seatbelt and put my ear up to the driver-side speaker and sure enough it was very, very, VERY faintly still playing the radio in the background. When I changed the station it was gone. After switching the station back I sat back in the drivers seat I couldn’t even hear it – but for some reason – when I was trying to hear it in front of my friends I was “tuning in” to this station.
Now I don’t have particularly good hearing (my wife will attest to that fact when it comes to doing the dishes). I even had tubes put in my ears twice when I was a kid. Doctors look into my ears and describe the surgery-victimized space like a warzone. But, for some reason, I could hear the music in my car clearly – my ear was “to the track” – so to speak. And that ability made me seem like a masculinized Miss Cleo.
That scenario taught me a lot about listening to God later on in my life. Sometimes we don’t think that “the music” is playing – but sure enough it’s there. Sometimes we just fail to hear it because we have the wrong station on or we doubt what we are hearing. Sometimes we simply aren’t listening – other times we start to think that maybe we are just making things up because: “How in the world could God possibly be communicating with us in ways that we don’t understand?” Unthinkable right? Not really. Sometimes we just need to pay a little more attention so that we can figure out what’s being communicated.
I have something similar that happens all of the time now as a pastor. I will be driving down the road or working in my office and someone will immediately come to mind. So I’ll pick up the phone and call the person and sure enough that person, whoever it is, is really in need in that moment and needs to talk. This happens all of the time to me. Actually, I bet if you ask just about any pastor they can recount numerous times when this has happened to them as well. Maybe this has even happened to you too?
I fully believe that such occurrences are not coincidental. I believe that there is something beyond what the average person sees as obvious – something more far more profound guiding us towards one another. And, when we are able to pick up the signal – when we are able to tune in – we become far more attuned to what life has in store for us… Then, just like in the car, we get to join in and sing along.