If God could send a burning tumbleweed every time He wanted to get my attention, I’m convinced that life would be a lot easier. But it would probably lack faith. A burning bush is a sure sign, right? I would have almost no choice but to believe and obey whatever God asked of me through that burning bush. If I received a sign as momentous as that every time I asked God for wisdom or direction, would I ever take a step into faith? Wouldn’t I simply obey without question, without true trust, and without deepening my relationship with the Father?
I think that God chooses not to send burning bushes so our faith can prove His glory. I think He’s a fan of the I told you so, but in the best way, that trust-in-Me-and-you’ll-see kind of way that works out to both our benefit and His glory in a way only He can orchestrate it.
So when I shared with my friends that I heard God tell me to write a book and that He was calling me into ministry, it was met with excitement and support but also one loaded question: how do you hear God?
God Speaks Through…
- Prayer – I hear God’s voice when I pray. Not in an audible or visionary Joan of Arc way, but by seeing answers to prayers. Sometimes the answers come quickly: the yes’s and the no’s. More often, the answer is wait. Wait and see that the Lord is good. Wait and see what the Lord has done. Wait and see how His plan plays out. In this way, not only does God speak but He provides evidence of His voice and presence as I witness His hand in my life. He provides testimony and witness, which in turn allows others to hear God’s voice through my stories of His provision and faithfulness.
- Scripture – I hear God’s voice when I read the Bible. He tells us about Himself and His love for His people. He corrects our human behaviors, gives us guidelines and rules to follow for our benefit, and makes wonderful promises such as: He will never leave us. He is preparing a place for us. He loves us. He created us. He wins in the end and ultimately in all things so we can trust in His plan and His faithfulness. If we want to hear God’s voice we need to open our Bibles. Let’s be women of the Word. Let’s dive into Scripture and get to know our Savior through the words He spoke and inspired, not just by what other people say about Him or claim that He says or is. There’s a saying, “a well-read woman is a dangerous creature.” Yes! Let’s be well-read ladies of Scripture who are equipped to withstand temptation and who strike fear into the enemy.
- Reflection – I hear God’s voice when I am still, quiet, and listen for His voice. Sometimes I don’t hear anything. Sometimes I feel the nudging of the Spirit upon my heart in a specific direction, and sometimes, yes, I do hear an actual voice. It’s not audible, it doesn’t come rushing down from the heavens, and it doesn’t sound like Morgan Freeman. But if I have been prayerful and consistent in my Scripture reading and in my pursuit of wisdom and discernment, God answers back with the voice inside my head. We all have one – that internal voice that carries the thoughts in our heads and the emotions of our hearts. It’s in those moments that I am more convinced of God’s presence in my life than any other. It’s the affirmation of the things I’ve already prayed about, read about, and/or given to God. For me personally, these moments of vocal clarity typically come when I am the most in tune with our relationship and therefore the most open to listening to what God has to say. Most of the time it’s one sentence, I’m calling you to ministry. Sometimes it’s a conversation, like what I recorded in the afterword of Messy Bun Mantras. It’s the kind of thing that sounds crazy because the average person doesn’t believe that God still speaks to people, but there is no other way to describe it.
I think we spend a lot of time focusing on that last one – hearing an audible voice – that we unintentionally discredit the power of hearing God’s voice through prayer and Scripture. Just because something isn’t audible doesn’t mean it isn’t speaking to us. Don’t we buy artwork because it “speaks” to us? Don’t we decorate our homes in a manner that “speaks” to us? Don’t stories and books “speak”?
I think if God wanted to use burning bushes in this day then He would…if He thought they were effective. I think it builds faith, discipline, and character to learn to be still and listen, to wait for the still, small voice. There’s something to be said for purposefully seeking His voice. He is not silent; He makes Himself known in more ways than we realize. We just need to tune in.
There is a beautiful song called “You Promised” by The Slays. I’ll close with one of their lyrics:
Though it seems You sometimes hide,
You rise in perfect time.You Promised – The Slays