23. Accidental prophet
On Monday Dec. 3rd, 01, I sat on my P/C typing the December issue of “Outside the Square”, my email newsletter to a group of driving instructors around the world. Kathy, one of my clients had obtained her driver’s licence by passing a test on Nov. 12th. Her fast driving style had me worried and I mentioned my uneasy feeling about her in the November issue. (The case is explained in detail on my driving-school website’s fun-read page - Speeding learner / and Speeding Learner Sequel). One New Zealand instructor responded to my concern and gave some advice.
Perhaps I follow this up and phone Kathy to find out how her driving is going? I thought as I prepared my newsletter. So I did. Her mother answered the call and said: “Haven’t you heard what happened?” No, I had not. On Nov. 15th, three days after obtaining her licence, Kathy crashed her red sports coupe. She collided with another P-plate driver causing $ 7000 damage. The police said, she is lucky to be unhurt.
Why did I have this uneasy feeling about Kathy’s driving? Did I have a sixth sense or what? I certainly surprised myself that Monday and could not wait to tell my fellow driving instructors via the email newsletter. I was hoping to start a discussion on driver licencing. However, nobody shared my interest in the case. Apart from Kathy and her family, nobody seemed to have learned a lesson from it.
On the same remarkable Monday another weird incidence took place. I had just finished a driving lesson in the suburb of Tranmere. As I turned from Hallett Road, at the corner where the Motor Registry is situated, onto Glynburn Road, I switched on the car radio. It was about 12.50 pm, the station was Five AA, which I occasionally listen to. The voices spoke very distinctly and I was unsure what the segment was all about: My name is Peter; I live in Peterborough. Another voice, my name is Victor; I live in Victor Harbour. My name is Marian; I was brought up in Marion!
Exactly as the word Marion was spoken, I crossed the traffic lights corner Marian Road. “What a co-incidence!” I thought to myself. A little later I realized I was listening to an advertisement for Monday night’s lottery.
“That’s interesting,” I reasoned. Is the Lord telling me to buy a lottery ticket to win the money to go overseas? I still was looking for a sign from God on that issue. I turned left into Payneham Road praying for God to give me clarity. At the corner to Portrush Road I believed my answer came. As I turned right I tried to read the message on the board outside the Uniting Church. I nearly mounted the kerb as I turned the car and decipher the writing at the same time. How embarrassing for a driving instructor! I was in a raised state of mind.
I could only read the first three words of that sign: Play the game… (To this day I don’t know what the rest of the message was). That’s interesting, Lord, I thought. Play the game…? Do you really want me to buy a lottery ticket? Buying lottery tickets to obtain an answer to prayer had never entered my head. It is not a Christian’s way of doing business. God can supply funds in hundreds of other ways. He does not need a lottery. Otherwise he would give his people the correct numbers every Saturday night. We would only have prosperous churches.
Nevertheless, despite all Christian principles later that afternoon on the way home I spent $ 3.75 on a lottery ticket. I didn’t know how to go about it. The machine, I was told, picks the numbers for you. “No, no, I protested. I’d like to choose the numbers myself”. The machine does not realize how important this ticket is. I chose the numbers as I muttered a prayer. The lady selling the ticket in the corner store looked at me a little strange. I felt strange. “I hope your ticket wins,” she said as I was leaving the store, feeling even more stupid.
I knew the lottery numbers would come up on television; but not where and when. So I went to bed wondering if the trip to Germany was God’s will. Still not knowing where to check the lottery numbers I asked Isobel to buy a newspaper on the way home after taking the kids to school. The numbers were totally different. I had won nothing; but why all these co-incidences? Why the name of the street just when I heard the same name on the radio? Why the three words, play the game just after? Was I getting ill again? Does God like playing tricks like this to fool his children?
The answer was not far away. As I read the paper I came across an article by Rex Jory, the deputy editor of the Advertiser. The name Winston Churchill leapt off the page, for reasons already mentioned. It made me take special notice of the headline: There may be victory in defeat. I identified with the message of the article and emailed Mr. Jory: Thank you for a great article in today’s newspaper. Two thousand years ago a man hung on a cross. He looked like a loser, yet it was the greatest victory ever won (or words similar).
In response I received a rare email from this high profile member of the media: “You quote the ultimate example”.
So why do I think all this took place? What was the point of it? The second part of the answer, I believe, came on Sunday night. I listened to Life FM, Adelaide’s Christian Radio station. I knew presenter Paul Newsham and his wife Loreen from Paradise Community Church where we had attended from 1983 until 1996. I listened regularly to their Sunday Night Talk program. That night at 9 pm I had a strong urge to phone in and tell them about my strange experience on the Monday before. When the switchboard asked me what I was going to talk about I said: “When is a co-incident a God-incident?”
When it was my turn on-air I explained the incident just as described before and posed the question: When is a co-incident a God-incident? We discussed this issue for a while without arriving at a definite answer. Loreen stressed the point that God is not in favour of dishing out money via lotteries, which was not really my point.
Straight after me, by co-incident, Rex Jory, the man whose article I had responded, was due to be interviewed. The first question I heard Paul Newsham ask: “Whatever you think of that, you got your email?” Why did he say that; you got your email? My sensitive mind figured that Mr. Jory was waiting for that email that day; was this perhaps another test to check my prophetic skills?
There had been many instances where I recognized a word in the paper, a phrase or a song on the radio and thought I ought to phone in and make a comment, similar to the time when I was to give Les a lift to Park Tce., Salisbury Park. Had word about this incident and about me spread and they are testing me? Pastor Paul and Rex Jory can only answer that question. One day, perhaps the media will tell their side of the story and either acknowledge God’s mighty power or make a complete fool out of me.
The other possibility is always the one which my wife constantly reminded me of. I still have a mental illness. Occasionally someone would remind me that bi-polar is an incurable illness, the best you can expect is remission for a number of years. I refused to believe the experts. If God can heal physical ailments, even cancer, he can heal mental illness. Perhaps I never ever had one.
Every morning I would beg HIM to guide me, show me the way and be merciful to me. I yearned for clarification what it was all about. Deep down I knew something supernatural was taking place and I was right at the centre of it. I had to learn trust.
I remember a preacher once make a valid point: Never pray – Lord keep me humble. If you do, you’re telling the Lord that you are already humble. The prayer must always be: Lord, make me humble. Make me into the person you want me to be. This I prayed every morning.
1. More in number 2. A sound mind 3. Now I'm found 4. Candle and the Wind
5. Realm of Nature 6. All in his Hand 7. The Wonder of it All 8. To Think God loves