During my many years as a Pastor and a Counselor, I have had a number of people tell me about conversations they had with God. Some of the stories were as bizarre as a Twilight Zone movie. Others were less dramatic but included some sort of verbal conversation with God.
Early on in my Christian life I would have thought “what’s wrong with me, why don’t I hear those voices”? But as I matured in my walk with God,and my knowledge of Scripture, I came to realize that probably most of those stories were not really an encounter with God, but were more than likely some desperate, and failed attempt to hear from God.
Could God verbally speak to us, absolutely? But more often than not, God uses our natural senses and our daily lifestyle to speak to us. He normally communicates to us quietly in our spirit. Throughout scripture we see a pattern of the “still small voice” as His primary means of speaking to His children.
This principle is illustrated in the story of Elijah when he was running from Jezebel. He had fled to the mountains of Mount Horeb and was hiding in a cave. God wanted to get Elijah’s attention so He sent a great wind that caused the rocks to fall and bust. He then sent an earthquake and fire. But the scripture tells us that none of those elements were instruments of His revelation. In contrast to all that noise, God then sent a still small voice to speak to Elijah. (2 Kings 19)
God was making a point to Elijah. the lesson is that he shouldn’t depend on miraculous signs for revelation, but he should be still and listen for God’s still, small voice.
Learning to hear God’s voice is key to a successful walk with God. He wants to continually speak to and through us, but we must learn to take time to stop, be quiet and listen. He wants us to learn to recognize His voice and to distinguish His voice from the many other voices around us.
After all these years, I am still learning how to hear God’s voice. I must confess, sometimes, I would like to see a little wind, fire and earthquake when I am waiting on an answer to prayer. However, every time I get anxious about waiting on God, I miss what He is saying in that “still small voice”. Often, what He says while I am waiting is more profound than the eventual answer to my prayer. Could it be that our journey of waiting has as much value as the destination?
Hearing God speak is not something reserved just for the super spiritual, but it’s for every child of God who is willing to learn how God speaks. He wants us to become intentional in our listening, and learn to watch and wait for His voice. Perhaps a good rule of thumb would be to spend as much time quietly waiting and listening as we spend praying?
In the next post I will expand on this subject and write about the practical aspects of hearing God’s voice.