I believe it is becoming more and more vital for us to know that we can hear from God and just how to go about listening for His voice. I want to offer some encouragement today to those who may be wondering whether or not God can actually speak to us. I’ve heard the arguments that God only speaks through His Word. While I certainly believe the Bible is His Word, I also believe God can speak to us today through His Spirit. He will never contradict His Word. Often, His words to us are no big revelation. He simply speaks. It does not happen often, but it most certainly does happen.
I remember times when God clearly said to me, “You are doing a good job.” I needed those words from a Father more than anything else at that time. I remember when He said to me “I want you to take care of my sheep.” Those words changed my life. I remember when He said “You will get through this” in respect to one of our difficult foster situations. Friends, God still speaks. This is as biblical as it gets. We see this scenario being played over and over throughout both testaments. Learn to ask for His voice and wait for it. Listen to the Word. Wait for His presence. When His words are most needed, He will speak. You can count on it.
Do any of you remember a moment when God spoke to you through His Spirit? I will share one of my experiences. I was 17 and on the track for a career in politics. The Lord put me on the back row of the sanctuary in a testimony service. In the middle of that service, in a voice as clear as day, God said to me, “I want you to preach My Word.” Whew! Talk about a course correction!
I went immediately to my best friend’s house and asked him and another to pray for me. The three of us prayed over that one statement for a solid year.
One year later I was in my bed reading the Word and the Lord said, “Turn to Isaiah 47.” Chapters 47 and 48 were all about Israel’s stubbornness and unwillingness to follow the leading of the Lord. In chapter 49 the walls fell down. It begins “The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother He named my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword; in the shadow of His hand He hid me…” It goes on to say it is “too small a thing to bring back Israel to Him, that He would make me a Light to the nations.”
I read these words and immediately knew the Lord had prepared and called me to be a Shepherd to His Church.
I received in that moment, although I didn’t fully realize it, that God had called me to a life of joy and suffering, He had given me a global purpose for His Church and He spoke to me of His incredible perseverance of His saints. All that in one sweet moment. I will never forget it.
This story does not make me special or unique. All it qualifies me to is obedience to the One who called me and to remind the Church of its equally unique and holy calling.
I’m telling this story today because I firmly believe if Christians could hear a life altering Word from the Lord today, so much of our crazy current condition would change. Do you believe the Lord can and will speak to us? If so, do you believe He can and will use His Word to speak, guide, comfort, chastise and shape us? If you hold to these two truths you and I must begin to seek Him with our whole hearts. Only the Lord can lead us through these dark times. In the prophet Samuel’s words, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”