Lately, I’ve been thinking of ways God communicates with me. If you’ve ever heard someone say “God spoke to me…” and thought ‘I wish I could hear Him speak to me!’; the truth is, He probably has and you may not have even realized it. We are His kids and He WANTS to communicate with us.
So I began writing down different ways I’ve experienced God in my life and four distinct things surfaced. Oddly enough, I saw a pattern of words that began with the letter “S”. Before I go any farther I want to be sure to clarify that these are not the only ways God speaks. God is GOD! And He can do anything to get our attention, change our direction, answer our prayers and completely set our hearts at rest.
SENSE. When you’re putting a puzzle together and trying to find the right fit for a puzzle piece, you know it when you find the exact spot that piece belongs. It just snaps into place. Even when you feel surrounded by chaos and pieces that don’t fit in your life sometimes you just sense God’s presence and He hasn’t even spoken a word.
About six weeks ago my husband, Ken, and I received a medical diagnosis that we certainly didn’t want to hear. This part of our journey is not going to be easy. But from the moment the doctor said ‘I wish I had better news’ we felt the presence of God settle over us like a thick, warm blanket. Like a familiar loved one coming alongside us. Sometimes no words are necessary to say ‘I’m right here and I’m not leaving you’.
SEEK. Jeremiah 6:16, “Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient path (some translations say the ‘tried and true’ path), ask where the good way is, and walk in it. And you will find rest for your soul.” Remember when Abraham & Lot stood overlooking all the land and Abraham let Lot choose which land to live in. He looked and chose which one LOOKED better. Turns out it wasn’t the better land and he paid dearly for it later.
This verse says ASK where the good way is and walk in it. I’ve learned that good doesn’t always mean happy. Sometimes the ‘good’ way is hard. But God knows what we really need. We often quote Romans 8:28, “And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” It doesn’t mean that everything will work out perfectly in our lives. It does mean that God will lead us through life to become the very best version of ourselves we can be in Him. I especially love that at the end of Jeremiah 6:16 after seeking and walking in His good way…we will find rest for our souls.
SCRIPTURE. I’m not talking about randomly opening the Bible and letting our eyes fall on a verse although God can certainly speak to us that way. If you’ve ever read something in the Bible and all of a sudden a specific verse seems to jump off the page at you and it resonates with what you’re going through at the time…that’s actually God using His Word to speak to you.
Here’s an example of how that has happened in my life. A number of years ago at a routine doctor’s visit something came up out of the ordinary. The doctor gave me possible reasons from minor all the way to worst-case scenarios. By the time I left his office I was completely freaked out! I was praying on my way home and when I got there I began to read John 14 which has always brought me a lot of peace. I kept reading into John 15. When I got to verse 3, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you”, I got so excited! I knew that God had shown me that promise for that exact situation. And I knew I was healed!
SPACE. Create a space in your day to listen for His voice. I love 1 Samuel 3:1-10 when the boy Samuel who is living in the house of the Lord is trying to go to sleep and he keeps hearing someone call his name. He keeps going to Eli and I think its because the Lord’s voice is familiar to him. And since the first verse tells us that the word of the Lord was rare in those days I think Samuel had not experienced hearing God’s voice in quite a while.
I believe that before we are born we are known by God. Psalm 139 says that we were not hidden from Him. He saw us before we were formed in our mother’s womb. And so I believe when we begin to listen for God to speak to us our spirits will begin to recognize His voice.
Back to Samuel’s story when Eli realized that Samuel was hearing God speak to him, Eli told him to go back to bed and the next time he heard the voice call to him, he should answer, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
We can ask Him to speak to us. But we have to choose to stop looking and listening to the chaos and the crowds of voices around us. 1 Kings 19:11-13 is Elijah trying to hear God’s voice on a mountain. While Elijah was listening he experienced a great and powerful wind that tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks. He encountered an earthquake followed by a fire. Talk about chaos! But as loud and powerful as all those things were, God was not in them. It says ‘after the fire came a gentle whisper.’
We can be so overwhelmed by the chaos and so busy with our to-do lists and responsibilities that we forget to be quiet. Be still. Just listen. That still, small voice, that gentle whisper – is intimate. You can’t whisper to someone on the other side of the room. They have to be near for you to hear. Think about this – the whisper of God over your soul means that He is NEAR. So near you can lean into His presence. And hear His heart for you.
Create a space in your day to listen for His voice. Write down what you hear. John 10:27 is Jesus’ words saying, “My sheep know my voice, and I know them. They follow me.” Keep listening. Practice being in the presence of Jesus. Regardless of what we face in life, in our most mundane days and our most extraordinary moments, hearing God speak to us, however He chooses to do it, is an exceptional gift He wants us to open! Keep listening!