I’ll never forget the very first time that my husband was introduced to my entire family. I anxiously waited to hear him say how much he liked everyone and what a great family I had.
Instead, his first response was –
“Wow, how in the world could you even hear what people were saying? Your family is SO LOUD- I couldn’t distinguish one conversation from the next. It was like everyone was yelling at each other all at once!”
He was exhausted from all the verbal gymnastics and I was invigorated because that’s how my family communicates- LOUD.
What’s more amazing is not the volume but our ability to actually hear everything that is being said even with the chaotic banter swirling in the air!
Our family has definitely mastered the art form of being able to talk over one another and yet still be heard and understood. I don't know if it’s a by-product of our southern roots or maybe a skill developed for the survival of the fittest but, one thing is for certain, we are not quiet.
So why do I sometimes struggle with hearing God’s voice?
Could it be because I want it to come in a supersonic boom or could it be because my reception is fuzzy?
Here’s what I do know….
God is always speaking to His children because He wants to be in a continual dialogue with us.
The problem is we simply aren’t listening. Not really.
In John 10:3-5, Jesus makes a pretty important statement about hearing his voice—
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
This passage is so important because it doesn’t say we CAN or SHOULD hear his voice, it says we DO hear his voice.
This is active- present tense highlighting that GOD IS SPEAKING!
So, if God is speaking then why don’t we recognize his voice? Why do we doubt that He really is communicating?
Houston, WE have a problem.
Radio stations broadcast 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Just because we aren’t dialed in doesn’t mean they aren’t transmitting sound waves that are distinguishable.
Same with God.
Sometimes all it takes is to actively turn the radio on and really listen and other times it’s a matter of fine-tuning so that the station comes in crystal clear.
Is your radio on?
Are you actively listening or is everything fuzzy?
I’m striving to really HEAR God but, it takes effort and focus on my part.
What I’m learning is that God oftentimes speaks very differently to us than the simple audible.
First, God whispers.
The Lord speaks to us in a “still, small voice” (1 Kings 19:12), but often it’s drowned out amid the busyness of our hectic lives.
Therefore, Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
It is in the intentional stillness that we are able to tune our spiritual ears to discern the voice of God. The Lord will speak to our spirits, not in words, but in thoughts and impressions. (Just be careful not to mistake your own thoughts with the voice of God.)
Good things come from the quiet.
Jesus himself knew the importance of this as Luke 5:16 tells us, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
Therefore, if you truly want to hear God speak then you must be intentional and carve out time to spend with Him, alone in a quiet place removed from distractions.
God speaks to us through His Word.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
~2 Timothy 3:16–17
The Bible is God’s love letter to us providing us with insights into his character and words of wisdom for us to live our lives successfully.
If you don’t take the time to read the Bible, how in the world do you expect to hear from God and to know Him intimately?
For me, I carve out 15 minutes each morning before I start the day. I curl up with a cup of coffee in my recliner in my home office and I sit in the dark in the stillness of my home before all else stirs. I spend time in the quiet and then I will read an excerpt from my Bible after ASKING the Holy Spirit to provide inspiration to me through God’s word.
I can’t tell you the number of times that this 15 minute devotion time has altered my entire day. Scripture will speak directly to me like it leaps off the page and provides me with a sense of peace and purpose for the day.
It is a 15 minute investment that is worth every second!
Honestly, God has given me so much in my life that it’s the very least that I can do to make him a priority and start my day spending time with Him!
Now, God is certainly not confined to the above. Sometimes He speaks to us through dreams, visions, and even an audible voice.
I have not yet heard his audible voice but I am certainly not ruling it out! The Bible is filled with numerous stories of God speaking directly to his children through dreams, visions and his audible voice. Since God is the same today as yesterday, He is more than capable of this continued style of communication.
God also speaks through other people.
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 15:23- “a person finds joy in giving an apt reply- and how good is a timely word.”
If you ever get a prompting to speak something directly to another person (especially when you just don’t know why this thought has popped into your head) be obedient as God is using you as a messenger!
Lastly, God sometimes will speak through circumstances and will open and close doors of opportunity.
Be willing to consider that some circumstances or events have God's fingerprints on them trying to tell you something.
Are you tuned in or are you floundering in space disconnected and struggling for guidance, broadcasting calls for help and not “hearing” a distinguishable response?
The key is to recognize God’s voice when you hear it in whatever way that He chooses to communicate to you. God will never speak contrary to His word in the Bible and will never lead you astray.
We are to walk by faith, which comes by hearing God’s words and recognizing His voice.
Father, I am praying that you instill within us a desire to seek you, to be focused in our pursuit of hearing your voice. Give us wisdom and discernment to distinguish your message in our lives. Give us ears and a heart that is receptive to recognizing your voice and relishing your presence in our lives. We thank you that you want to be in constant dialogue with us and that you will never lead us astray.
“The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens me morning by morning, He awakens my ear to listen as a disciple.” - Isaiah 50:4