It has been a long time since I wrote a blog, but I just have to tell you this story.
A month before I left the Philippines to visit the UK, while in the mall in Pampanga, I was amazed to find a Martin guitar in a small music shop.
To people who don't play the guitar, this may not mean anything, but to one who plays an acoustic or semi-acoustic guitar, the Martin is the Mercedes Benz of guitars.
I had the privilege to visit the Martin factory in Nazareth PA USA in 1987, and even then the guitars were way too expensive for me, and it was just a dream to ever own an original.
So I was amazed to find just one Martin in this small music shop in the Philippines, and what's more it was a 12 string, which is what I have played for the last 30 years. Although it was a Martin it was made in Mexico of a cheaper wood that made it more affordable.
I was tempted!! The assistant quickly got it down and offered me a "test drive". Once I played it I was smitten!! The sound was so mellow and the action was so easy that it was a delight to play (it even made my playing sound good- so that had to be a big plus!!).
The assistant clearly thought there would be some easy commission here, so he began to tempt me even more. He told me that there was 30% off the original price, and that I could trade in my old guitar (the 12 string Takamine that one of our prison team members decided to recline the car seat into) and he even offered me 12 months interest free credit. I was so tempted!!
For the next 4 weeks, every time I went to that mall, I would go to the music store, pick up the Martin and allow myself to be tempted just one more time.
I so wanted this guitar, but somehow, the Holy Spirit just didn't allow me to have peace about going into debt in order to buy it and I was really not happy with Him about this.
Here's the thing, Jesus promised us in John 16:13 that He would send the Holy Spirit and He would guide us. And if we are to live the 'Spirit filled' life that Paul speaks about in Ephesians 5:18
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit. then we have to be willing to die to our own desires, and be willing to fully submit to His. We face this choice day by day or even moment by moment (that's why the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:31 ..... I die daily.
So, if we are children of God, the Holy Spirit is leading us, but sadly, so often we just don't like to follow His dictates. After all, our Old Nature never likes being told what to do.
So I was quite unhappy about not having my own way. So, as often we do, when we don't like what the Holy Spirit is telling us, we ask someone else's advice. So I sent two of my children into the music shop too, and asked them to have a try, and tell me what they think. Both of them loved the guitar too, and told me that I shouldn't feel bad but just treat myself.
Of course I reasoned too that I would only be using it to play praise and worship in the prisons and in the church, so that couldn't be a bad thing.
This went on for weeks, but still I had no peace about buying it.
Like a spoilt child I complained and asked God why I couldn't have my own way and just buy the guitar? Why couldn't I just be like anyone else who sees what they want and just buys it? Anyway at 12 interest free payments, it was affordable. So why not?
Of course, God just wants us to be obedient in spite of what we feel. So in the end, I made the decision to follow the Lord's leading, and I stopped going to the music shop. And that was the end of that. Or so I thought.....
Until a few months later, while Nathanael, Aaron and I were in England and we stayed with friends from our home church. I had gone away for a few days with a good friend and supporter of POC and when I returned sitting on my bed was a brand new Martin 12 string guitar, complete with a hard shell case and an extra set of strings. What's more it was the real McCoy, not made in Mexico but made in Nazareth PA USA.
I have to say, I was moved to tears. I was so overwhelmed by the kindness of the couple who bought me the guitar (who I know would prefer not to be named, because that is the kind of people they are!!) but I was moved too by the goodness of God, who still chose to bless me in spite of all my moaning and complaining.
In my many years of knowing the Lord, you know what I have discovered!! His will is not only good, not only acceptable, but it is perfect!! Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
And friends, "perfect" means it cannot be improved upon. God really does know best. His will is perfect.
To think, I could still be in debt paying off a guitar that isn't even the real McCoy.
When we submit to His will, we get the blessings and He gets all the glory!! Now you can't get better than that!!