“And now we’re going to practice hearing God’s voice,” my sister-in-law Melodie said speaking to our high school youth group. Calvin and I were leading it at the time but we honestly didn’t know what it meant to hear God’s voice. They had just done a teaching with us on hearing God’s voice. It was pretty foreign to us. Does God really speak? If He does, what does He sound like? Okay maybe He does speak but just to pastors and missionaries right? All I knew is that if He did speak, I wanted to hear Him, scared as I felt.
This revelation that God does speak, and not just to specific people but to everyone, even me, radically changed my life and how I live. I now seek to hear God’s voice in my daily walk…in the mundane of washing dishes and changing diapers. My relationship with God has deepened over the years and it’s definitely because I learned that it could! God isn’t distant but He’s so near and He cares and He desires an intimate relationship with me.
So back to the practicing hearing His voice. Melodie said if you have any thoughts come into your mind, just step out in faith. The only thought that went in my mind was that I should go talk to this girl that was in our youth group because she looked sad. So I went over and asked her how she was doing? She blurted out that she didn’t know if she was saved.
Whoa! This was more than I had bargained for. “Have you ever given your life to Jesus?” I asked. “No,” she responded. “Is that something you want to do?” “Yes!” She replied. So she did. Right then and there. I was in awe. “Maybe that was you leading me God,” I later thought. I’m pretty sure it was! And I have been on this pursuit to hear His voice ever since.
Do I doubt at times it’s Him? Absolutely. Do I hear Him wrong? Yup! A friend of mine once said, “Hearing God 100% is overrated. He is much more after the relationship with you than you hearing Him perfectly all the time.” It stuck out to me because it takes the pressure off.
Do I want to hear God correctly? Of course. But I recognize that I am on a journey and that He may be teaching me the different ways He speaks. He has never spoken to me an audible voice like with Samuel (1 Sam. 3) or through a burning bush like with Moses (Exodus 3). He hasn’t spoken to me through a donkey (Num. 22) nor an angel like to Zacharias (Luke 1). Here a few ways He has spoken to me. There are many more verses but I gave a few that have encouraged me.
- Through the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16/Heb. 4:12)
- Through Jesus (Heb. 1:1-2)
- Through the Holy Spirit (John 14:17)
- Through other believers (John 17:18)
- In a still small voice (usually a thought in my head) (1 Kings 19:12, Amos 4:13)
- Through creation/nature (Rom. 1:18-20)
- Through my circumstances (Jonah 1:4-5)
- Through wise council (Prov. 11:14)
- Through feelings of peace (Col. 3:15)
- Through dreams and visions (Acts 2:13)
- Through music (Eph. 5:19)
God isn’t limited. There are many more ways He can speak. I believe He is personal with each person. The other day I had just finished a long phone call with my dad and told him, “I wish I could hug you right now dad!” I was thinking of a big bear hug in my mind. “We’re hugging through the phone,” he said.
When I got home, no joke clipped to the outside of my door was a card. I opened it and on the outside of the card was a big bear and the words “A big bear hug” with a sweet note from some dear friends. I couldn’t believe it. God continues to amaze me in the sweet ways that He speaks to me, how personal and real He is. My desire is to continue to hear Him, to obey Him and grow in my relationship with Him.
What about you? How has God spoken to you? How has hearing God changed your life?