Have you ever heard God speak? I have never heard an audible voice, but I know without a doubt that He has spoken to me many times. Sometimes He speaks directly through His word. Sometimes I hear a still, small voice whisper in my spirit. Sometimes someone says something that just causes my spirit to jump.
I have recently been through a season in my life where God has been actively speaking to me on a very regular basis. Many of the blogs I have written are a direct result of Him speaking to me through my daily Bible readings. But, I have a specific circumstance in my life that causes me to continually run to God, begging Him to speak to me.
And, He has.
Interestingly, I find myself struggling with whether to believe that it is Him. I know that I have heard His voice clearly, but it is really the interpretation of His voice with which I am struggling. I have a circumstance in which I desperately want God to reveal His will, and I am so scared that I am mistaking MY will for His. I don’t want to read into what God has told me, and so I continually go back to Him begging for clarification. I know the day will come when I receive 100% confirmation, but I want it now. He simply says to me, “Trust me! I’ve got this!”
It is great to know that you have clearly heard God’s voice. There is something amazing, so comforting, in knowing that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has chosen to speak to me! But, after He speaks, what do I do?
You can certainly be like me and continue to question whether it is really God. I certainly don’t recommend this path. But, even Gideon asked God for a sign—threw out a literal fleece more than once—so that he could verify that it was truly God speaking (Gideon 6:33-40). I have thrown out my own fleece on more than one occasion. I am SO thankful that God is patient with me in my uncertainty!
I have come across a number of passages in recent months that have really struck me concerning God speaking. I’d like to share some of them with you in hopes that we can all learn a little more about what to do when God speaks.
In Scripture, we see many responses to God’s voice. Hannah poured out her heart to God and was never sad again. Sarai laughed when God told her she would have a child in her old age. Naaman, the leper, grumbled and complained before he obeyed. Abraham believed and acted and was counted as God’s friend. Mary (the mother of Jesus) treasured the words in her heart. There are many more responses to God’s word, but I would like to focus on two.
The first thing we must do when God speaks is obey. If God directly tells us to take action, we must be willing to obey at all costs. I know this seems elementary, but sometimes it is so difficult. There is a specific action God has asked me to take, and yet I seem to be dragging my feet with obeying. Why? It is a minor thing (to me), but it is going to upset my children. It might take away some of my momentary comforts of this world. I heard a sermon this weekend, however, in which the pastor was talking about a very similar situation. He said that in His experience, every time someone takes the step of obedience, some unexpected blessing falls on them. I am truly beginning to wonder what blessings I am missing out on by not walking forward in obedience.
James 1:22-25 says, “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”
I know that God blesses those who walk in obedience. I know that it is useless to read the word without obedience. But sometimes it is difficult to see beyond what we might be giving up to the blessings God has planned for us when we choose obedience.
Today I was listening to an interview with the wife of an American pastor who is currently imprisoned and facing a death sentence for being a Christian in Iran. He and his wife sensed that God was telling them that the trip would not turn out the way they expected. They had a sense that something might go wrong on the trip, and yet they obeyed anyway. The wife spoke of the incredible peace and closeness that they have both had throughout the ordeal. She said that the relationship she is experiencing with God is worth the pain and fear—even if her husband loses his life. Wow! What an amazing faith!
Sometimes, God doesn’t give us an action to take when He speaks. Much of what I am hearing from God these days is simply God’s reassuring voice to wait, be patient, trust Him. I believe God has revealed some things to me about my future, but I am scared to believe them—scared that I am mistaking my desires for His voice. He continues to tell me to trust Him and wait on Him, but I am doubtful because I do not want to be disappointed—and perhaps because it is not happening on my timetable!
I have struggled with what to do with what God has shown me during this season. One thing I have seen throughout Scriptures is that sometimes all we can do is treasure all these things in our hearts.
Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.
When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t understand what he meant.
Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.
What does it look like to treasure these things in our heart? I have a long list of experiences and coincidences surrounding this specific situation in my life that just shouts “God is working” to me. But, I still find myself doubting and fretting, wondering if He hears my pleas.
I find myself clinging to God’s words to me. I repeat the phrases I have clearly heard from Him. In my doubts, I run to these words—often brought to my mind by Him, I believe. These are the very words that have pulled me from the depths of depression in the last few months. They are the very words that give me the peace that surpasses all understanding. They are the very words that get me through the day sometimes.
I believe with all my heart that one day I will look back on this season of my life and be absolutely amazed at all I learned from God and how faithful He has been at keeping His promises.
Has God spoken to you? Is there a word you need to obey? Maybe He has given you something to simply treasure in your heart. No matter what He says, you can trust Him. His word is true. He is completely trustworthy. Take Him at His word, and enjoy the blessings that He has in store for you!