Does God talk to us? Can we hear Him amidst all the sound and clamour? Or do we drown His voice because we are like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal?
I believe Shakespeare’s Macbeth put this very well;
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more: it is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
I’m not happy to admit that I have not listened to the Lord seriously, not with singular focus and intent. Oh, I have known that God speaks to me. I have always heard Him in a word, in a song, through a friend’s rambling talk, in a phrase from a book or a magazine, a conversation heard by the way. And I always thought it was enough. That this is the way it is and should be. But, as I’ve discovered very recently, it is not! And I’m disappointed that I had to wait such a long time to realize this. That there is more….
God wants to communicate with us. Not just a word here or there. God wants to talk to us, properly. He wants to tell us things, He wants to guide us, instruct us and just be a part of the discussion. He loves us. He waits for us to ask Him things. Ask Him anything. Tell Him anything. He delights in listening to us share our stories with Him. He knows it all but He still wants us to tell Him. To reach out to Him and acknowledge that He is God, Creator of all things. To give Him our all. Remember, He is the great I Am.
How do I know this? The Word of God, the Bible, tells us so. Remember Abraham, Moses, Noah, Lot, Joseph, Mary and all the prophets? God spoke to them all. Sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly, though His messengers, His Angels, Mary and the Holy Spirit.
But we’re just too busy to hear Him. We don’t give Him a chance to talk, because we’re doing all the talking ourselves. Now what sort of a relationship is this? Try doing this to your friends. Imagine yourself doing the talking all the time and never giving the other person a chance to get a word in edgeways. I’m sure you’ll find yourself with very few friends. I would have added family, but then family has no choice, they’ll remain family regardless of whether we talk to them or not!
What prompted this awakening in myself? I love reading blogs. In fact I just love reading, period. And in a number of Christian blogs, I kept reading the same thing over and over again. Various people would write; in my walk with the Lord, in my talk with the Lord, I heard in my spirit, the Lord spoke to me, in my prayer time, or the Holy Spirit led me to read this in the Bible, etc. And then they would relate all the things that God revealed to them.
This got me thinking, if all these people are hearing from the Lord, why aren’t I? After a bit of introspection, I realized that I was always doing the talking, never the listening. All along, this serious ‘listening to God’ aspect had never occurred to me. Further reflection, brought to mind the story of Samuel. (Book of Samuel 1, 3:4-10). When the Prophet Eli realized that God was calling Samuel, he instructed the boy to say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
So one day, after I had finished my morning prayers, I remained in the quiet of my room, closed my eyes and said aloud, Speak Lord, your servant is listening.
At the time, I was quite aware of my mind set. I wanted to hear the Lord speak. I was pondering over the direction of my life. I thought I had sorted out what my vocation should be but I was second guessing myself. With all this uncertainty whirling in my mind, I waited on the Lord. It was the first time that I had done something like this and I was not sure what to expect. Every time a thought came through, I would dismiss it, telling myself, it’s just me thinking.
And then I heard something that was unexpected. Well not ‘heard’ as in a voice speaking, it was more like a thought that popped into my mind. “I will speak to you in My Word”. I was taken aback. I say this because I knew this was not my thought. You see, I am not a regular Bible reader. I have tried, but I have not felt the Bible come alive for me, until now. So when this word came through, I knew it came from the Lord. He wanted me to read His Word, the Bible. This initial word was followed by another thought, Psalm 91. I did not have a clue what this Psalm was about.
After my listening time was over, I opened my Bible, sought out Psalm 91 and froze…. The heading was; Assurance of God’s protection.
Stunned and awed, I was filled with a thankful heart, not only had God spoken to me through His Word but I felt loved and happy with the message that He had given me. That He was indeed the Great Protector, Comforter, In charge of heaven and earth and He had just assured me of His protection.
Does the Lord speak? You bet. We don’t have to wait for a random word now and again. If we seek Him out, He has tons to talk to us about. If only we would listen.
To recap –
- Pray / talk to God in a quiet place.
- Invite the Holy Spirit and ask him to guide you.
- Focus your mind on Jesus and listen.
Be mindful, there are some days when the Lord will be quiet. Perhaps, He has told you something and is now waiting on you. Prayer is a continuous dialogue.
As Mother Teresa of Calcutta said: God speaks in the silence of the heart, listening is the beginning of prayer.
PS – How do we know that what we hear is the Word of God? Discernment is key. Soon, I hope to share the insights that I have gained about this.