“God doesn’t speak to me. At least, not that I’m aware of,” a woman in our small group recently remarked. Until a few years ago, I might have said the same. Raised in a church that did not emphasize hearing from God or teach much on how this is done, the idea was a foreign concept to me. When I began attending a prayer fellowship with a different group of believers, I was always surprised how casually they would remark, “God told me this. . . ” or “God said to do this . . . “
How did these people know it was God? Was His voice audible? If not, how could they be so sure? Why didn’t He speak to me this way?
When it comes to God speaking, the analogy has been made that “the radio is turned on, but you need to tune in.” Of course, we also live in an age where there is more static than ever before, and this seeks to inhibit picking up His specific frequency.
The other night I was at the bathroom sink, getting ready for bed, when I prayed a prayer in my mind, silently asking God about a situation. After spitting out my toothpaste, a response to my own prayer rolled audibly out of my mouth. . . which I hadn’t consciously thought.
When an item is misplaced and I am tempted to get frantic, I’ve learned that it’s much better simply to stop, ask Him where it is, and wait for an answer. Recently I was beside myself wanting to find a certain CD, and had ransacked house and car in search of it, looking repeatedly in all the places I could imagine it would be. When I finally stopped and asked the Father, within seconds an image of the third floor of our house came into my mind. I found it there within a minute in a place that had never occurred to me to look.
Lately, I’ve been reminded that, while it is possible to hear other voices than God’s and to have fleshly interference, more and more of what is coming into my mind I am recognizing as being His thoughts. Yet in the moment, I still have a tendency to rationalize or explain them away. Again, I have been hearing Him affirm, “Those aren’t just your own thoughts. They’re Mine.”
While some people emphasize being quiet before the LORD, the presence of my two preschoolers often makes this a challenge. However, when I give Him a portion of my quiet time in scripture, which is usually when my children are sleeping, I find that later He speaks to me when I am doing routine chores, such as laundry and washing dishes. In fact, it’s amazing how profoundly He speaks to me during these mundane tasks – to the point that I have considered the possibility that getting a dishwasher might be detrimental to my spiritual life.
Jesus said that “My sheep hear My voice.” If He said so, then there’s no point in disputing it or discounting it for oneself. All of His followers have opportunity to hear from Him individually. But it is much easier to recognize a voice that is heard regularly than it is to try to identify a voice which one hasn’t heard it in quite some time.
How about you? How does God speak to you? How do you distinguish His voice from others?