One night a few years ago, I was laying in bed having trouble sleeping. At a time in my life, in my depression times, that used to be a chronic problem of mine, but anymore there is generally a reason if I cannot sleep. I tried laying in bed and praying, then I got up on my knees but that wasn't enough. I began to understand, it was like an itch that needed scratching. That's the only way I can describe it. It's a very strong urge in a particular direction. I was supposed to get up, get dressed and pray. I've felt this way a couple of times in the past, so that's what I did. I thought I'd take Luke (my St. Bernard) with me, so just at the stroke of midnight we left the house and started walking around the little subdivision where Jackie and I live.
It was a very nice summer evening with a warm and silky soft breeze and a lovely moon. We made a couple of loops around the neighborhood. I really didn't know what to expect. I knew something would happen, but I was figuring maybe my presence would deter some vandalism or a robbery or something of that sort. I didn't know.
The last time this feeling or compulsion happened was maybe three years previously. I was awoken with a strong feeling. . . another God itch. . .that I was supposed to go to work, so I got up at 3 a.m. got dressed and went to work (I don't have to be to work until 8 a.m.). I drove the six miles or so down the state highway to almost the turnoff into the industrial park where my employment is, and I caught just a shadow out of the corner of my eye, that appeared to be an owl standing on the pavement of the road. . . It was just a brief glimpse of a small owl shape in my peripheral vision, and it was gone before it really made an impression upon me.
I turned my truck around, and made another pass without seeing anything. . . but the feeling within me arose almost to a panic, and I again turned my truck around and went back and made another slow pass. This time looking from the opposite lane of the highway, and I spotted a little owl just standing on the blacktop. I crossed the centerline of the road, and put my truck in a position to block any oncoming traffic. . . It was now almost 4 a.m., on a typically not very busy stretch of road in that time of the morning, but the next 3 vehicles were all 18 wheeler semis, who all patiently waited as I got out of my truck and picked up this little owl and put him in the cab on the seat beside me.
I just grabbed him. I didn’t know what else to do. He was just standing on the edge of the road without moving. . . sure to be killed by those semis waiting behind me. I got in my truck, and backed up, unblocking the road, did a u-turn a little bit up the road and continued on to my place of work. It was now somewhere after 4 a.m. when I pulled into the very empty and dark parking lot of my employment. The little owl looked OK. He wasn’t dragging a wing or bleeding, or in any way looking like he was injured, so when I got out of the truck I just kind of gently tossed him into the air, and he kind of floated/glided to the ground 10-15 yards away. . . not flying at all. Something was wrong, but when I went after him, he fluttered away from me a dozen yards or so, and we played this quiet desperate little game in the dark of the parking lot. . . me chasing, he fluttering away. . . over and over several times, until he gained enough altitude to land in the center of small evergreen tree, next to the sidewalk at the entrance to the offices of my employment. I blindly reached up over my head and grabbed the little bird with both hands. . . bare hands I might add.
He began making a little clicking noise. . . like a little bomb waiting to explode in my hands. I must say that I’ve never felt anything so soft in my hands. It was like I was carrying a little clicking cloud. My mind began to consider what this little creature did for his daily bread. He caught small mammals in his talons, and tore their flesh apart with his beak before consuming it. . . tore flesh much like my hands to shreds before eating it. . . tore flesh like my bare naked hands to bits before eating it. Well, nothing for that. Something was wrong with him. He was in my hands, and I had to get him into my truck. I carried him to the door, and kind of hooked the door latch with my thumb, and while still holding him, I opened the door, and put him on the seat and went into my work.
About 8:00, I went by the employee entrance door, and found that there were several co-workers gathered about my truck peering into the cab. There perched on my steering wheel was the little screech owl, gazing around with his full moon yellow eyes, an unusual sight to say the least, to see him perched there as if he rode with me to work every day.
At 9:00 a.m. I called the local humane society, and they in turn called a registered wildlife rehabilitator. Who picked up the little bird and took him away for a few weeks before being released back into the wild. The wildlife rehabilitator said he had a concussion, probably from hitting the side of a car or truck. For me, that was a magical night when God woke me from a deep sleep to save a little owl on the side of the road, so I've learned to follow these urges from God.
Back to my Saint Bernard, and I walking around our sub-division at midnight. . .we came by the house again and I had a vision in my mind of the Seven-Eleven convenience store on North Main Street in Elkhart. So I crammed my big dog Luke in the front seat of Jackie and I’s Plymouth Neon, or I should say in the front and back seat. I had to put the back of front seat down. He put his paws there, his body between the seats and his butt was on the back seat. He's a big guy. We took off. For some reason I knew I had to come to the Seven-Eleven from the north. So rather than going directly there from the south, I jogged around across the Johnson Street bridge and came down North Main Street.
I don't know what to expect. I'm figuring maybe a robbery is taking place or something. It seems like you always read about this store being robbed. There are three cars in the parking lot and a fellow just standing in the doorway of the store. In my imagination I’m thinking robbery, and he's appearing to be acting like a lookout. As I get out of the car and walk up, he just casually gets in his car and leaves. So I guess that's not it. . .
I walk in, being thirsty from Luke and I's walk, figuring to get a bottle of water. As I walk to the back of the store, I hear the young man at the counter kind of razzing or harassing the clerk. She's a lady maybe my age and the young man is trying to get her worked up, really pushing her, saying things like, "How can you work here by yourself? Aren't you afraid? This place gets robbed all the time. Are there cameras around to protect you?" He was trying his best to make her afraid. You could tell she was basically agreeing with him, but putting him off. I was waiting in line to pay for my bottle of water listening to all this, when the young man finally left.
The cashier turned to me and looked at me with full eyes, with maybe more than a just a little doubt in her voice. Quaverlingly she said, "I am OK. I am protected. . . ." I absolutely agreed, "Yes you are!!!" She continued, "I pray every night for God to protect me and my family. . . ." It dawns on me. . .I am just dancing inside. . . ready to burst! I now know. I told her I'm from Bristol. I was laying in bed tonight, and God got me up and sent me here to tell you that He hears your prayers. He is protecting you. He's watching over you. YES, He definitely hears your prayers. It was amazing. . . an urge. . .an itch. . .a word. . .the right time. . . the right place. . . I paid for my water and left praising God all the way to the car.
I had two other thoughts in my mind. I wanted to drive down Middlebury Street, praying for the neighborhood around the church and I wanted to drive by Pastor Johnson's house. As I got near our church, just a couple of houses down, there was a car stopped and a young man was kind of waiving his arms. At first I thought he was drunk or high and I slowed but didn't stop. I kind of watched him and he called to me, so I backed up, rolling up the windows a little at the same time. Luke is a spooky dog. He is not a kind cuddly St. Bernard unless he knows you very well. If he doesn't know you, he is scary. He will try to eat you up.
Luke was barking (that's kind of like saying the Grand Canyon is a hole in the ground) and I stuck a five dollar bill out the cracked window toward the young man. I had heard him say something about being out of gas. "No! No!", He had money, he needed the gas. He got a gas can out of his trunk and kind of waved it at me. I told him I would get him some gas. I restrained Luke as he quickly shoved the gas can in the front door of the Neon. Long story short, I got the gas and brought it back to him. I now notice that he had a "In God We Trust" license plate. That was pretty cool. I told him that God was calling him. I was laying in bed when God got me up tonight. I didn't want his money. He could thank God for the gas. I went to that church right there, pointing to LTC and I didn't believe in coincidences. . . . There is a reason for our meeting. He was effusive in his thanks. His name is Tyrene Harris.
Three days later I again ran into Tyrene while doing street ministry. His wife or girlfriend was requesting prayer for a cousin who had cancer, when not knowing who she was talking to, Tyrene walked up. Another brother from church, Tyrene, the lady, and I had a little prayer circle, right there in the parking lot, where we prayed for the relation with cancer. When we finished, I felt an overwhelming urge to prophesy to Tyrene. . . “Tyrene God is trying to get your attention. He is actively reaching for you. You need to listen to Him. . .”
Since then, I have had uncountable itches from God. . . proddings to take a particular route home. . . to call someone out of the blue. . . or to begin praying for someone in the middle of the night.
In a flock of hundreds of sheep, Jesus knows which are His. . . He knows the ones who are His because they know His voice. . .They respond to His voice. . . They hear and they do His bidding. . . They hear and they follow Him. . . Learn your Master’s voice, and obey it. . .Learn to recognize the God itch. . .Do what He asks. . .
I love you my God. . .
I thank you my Lord. . .