So, I've been teaching people to pray for years now, and one question that I hear a lot is: "How do I hear the voice of God?" The first person who asked me this was my daughter Kaleigh. She was six. "Mama, I know that when I pray, I talk to God. But how does He talk to me? I hear Daddy when he talks to me; I hear you when you talk to me; but I don't hear God? Why doesn't he just talk to me like you do?"
Just last week my son, TJ asked the same question. His went like this, "Mom, seems to me that if God made mouths and ears for us to use when we communicate with one another--He'd understand that THAT is the way we hear! Why then, doesn't He just speak to us with His own mouth so that we can hear Him with our own ears?"
My Sunday School answer to everyone--Kaleigh, TJ and all the others who've ever asked me about hearing the voice of God--has been, that most of what God has to say to us He's already said in His Word. We just need to read it; obey it; and as we do that we'll get better at being able to trust that inner "feeling...voice...whisper...whatever it is inside of us that makes us feel like we're hearing a voice other than our own..."
I don't think you can be a follower of Christ without spending time in His Word on a daily basis. How can you follow Him if you don't know where He's leading you?
With that said, I do read the Bible almost every single day. And everytime I open God's Word--He has a WORD for me. But sometimes, when I'm in a faith workout season of my life (such as I am in right now), I begin to hear that inner voice a bit louder. But because I know that my own thoughts can interfere with God's voice I always make whatever it is that I think I've heard from God--bow down to His Word. I ask God to validate the "voice" with Scripture.
This happened to me on October 20. I thought I heard God tell me something that I VERY MUCH wanted to hear. It was a miracle He was going to perform by Thanksgiving Day. In keeping with my own rule, I asked Him to validate His "word" to me by giving me Scripture. God gave me Isaiah 55:11-13 (a passage of Scripture that tells us that God's Word never returns to Him without first accomplishing all that He means for it to accomplish.) I was excited to hear this; since I'd waited for months for God to do this miracle. But the closer I got to Thanksgiving; the more I doubted whether or not I'd heard God's "word" or just validated my own desire.
Only Jesus never had to feel this way. He always heard His Father's voice. And He never doubted if His own desires were playing tricks on Him. His "secret" was that He'd come to a place where He genuinely had "no will of His own." (see John 6:38)
I haven't come to that place. I have a will of my own. I have my own timing and my own limits to my own distress. On Thanksgiving Day I learned that I still have much to learn and more to "die to." My miracle didn't come--not the way I expected it. But, in keeping with His faithfulness, God renewed my strength! (Isaiah 40:31).
He also gave me another "word" on Friday afternoon when I went with Kaleigh to the attic to pull down some decorations. This one was definitely from Him--it was printed on the doorframe that connects TJ's room to the attic. It was put there by the men who did the remodeling for us. I've been in and out of that door at least 100 times and have never seen that "word" before. So--because I know that God hears me everytime I pray; because I know that He collects every tear I shed; and because I believe that He is WITH ME NOW; I KNOW I heard Him this time. The verse above that door said this,
Philippians 1:6 "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
And that "word" from that "voice" is quite enough for me today.
"Never doubt in the darkness what you believed in the light." (Joni E. Tada)
A very good friend sent me this quote today and oh did I need it! Lately I've heard myself say some things I never would have EVER thought would come out of my mouth.
No, I'm not cussing like a sailor-that would be mild compared to what I've said. Here I am bumbling about in a darkness created by someone I love very much and everything I've ever taught is heckling me in the shadows.
How can God be good when He doesn't answer your cries? Maybe He doesn't really hear you! Maybe He doesn't even care. Maybe His are IS too short to save and His ear IS too dull to hear! Maybe you don't know how to hear Him at all! Maybe...
I'm afraid I'm guilty of doubting in the darkness what I believed in the light. I know God is good. I know He loves me. I know He will answer my prayers for His very own glory (which includes my very own good).
But...the mean time is MEAN! And there are still 24 hours in a day. And when all that surrounds me points to the exact opposite of all that I am praying...
I guess that's what makes the darkness dark. So, let me see if I can recall what I believed in the light. Here is an excerpt from chapter 2 in my upcoming book "Spiritual Warfare for Women"
Every attack from the Enemy brings with it a divine invitation from the sovereign hand of God to learn by experience what love does.
If I did not believe that truth I wouldn’t be writing this book. I told you in the introduction that since I started writing I have been diagnosed with cancer, our church was flooded and my daughter left home. I’ve no doubt that what I have experienced is more than what some of you have experienced in the past few months and less than what others of you have experienced recently. As I reference my personal battles please know that in no way am I diminishing the battles you face. I am humble as I share with you that already I have experienced the love of God in each of these situations. Two of them (the cancer and flood) have impressively demonstrated the power and glory of God. And I am fully convinced that He will do the same, perhaps even bigger and better in my daughter’s life as well. Furthermore, I am convinced that God will also demonstrate His power and His glory in whatever circumstances you find yourself in today.
Every attack from the Enemy, every one brings with it a divine invitation to experience what God’s love does. Romans 8:28 speaks to this truth:
Romans 8:28 (HCSB) 28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.
"Never doubt in the darkness what you believed in the light."
Blogging is such an interesting hobby--one that I've neglected during this season of my life. The problem is that when I blog I don't really know who I'm talking to; and because I like to process my intimate thoughts when I write, I'm tempted to spill all my inmost thoughts to the faceless and nameless masses.
Only if I do that during these days I will infringe on the personal lives of people I love a WHOLE LOT! And...tomorrow I might be sorry that I divulged so much personal STUFF to people who are too smart to divulge their STUFF in return. :)
So...I've resisted the urge.
But in an effort to get back in the blogging saddle here I am!Let me see if I can just give you some little snapshots of my life (Kind of like the snapshots we don't admit that we like to digest in People magazine while we're waiting to earn our Kroger points at the grocery.)
TJ is doing something that I would have never expected him to do...He's NOT playing basketball anymore (I am thanking God for that decision daily.) But instead He's joined the Cheerleading squad!! I would have NEVER imagined that my SON would be my high school cheerleader!! Go EAGLES!
Kaleigh has just about decided to attend Samford University next year! And we are so excited about that...First, it's only 2 1/2 hours down the road. And second, Samford is my alma mater!! Go Bulldogs!
Mikel is giving Tom and me a granddaughter in January or February 2011. We are looking forward to seeing what God has in mind for all of us through the precious life of Misty Sierra. :)
There you go...a snapshot. Oh, and if you've been following my blogs! Our seniors won their float contest! I can't find a picture right now so go to Kaleigh McCoy's facebook page and see her pictures. :)
I'm wife to Tom. He pastors Thompson Station Church in Thompson Station, TN. We've been there 22+ years (since January 1989)--the only church we've ever served since graduating from SWBTS. I have two daughters--Mikel (19) and Kaleigh (17), and one son, TJ (15). I also have a granddaughter, Misty (born 2-9-11) and a new son-in-law Austin (20).
I love to write and have 7 books in print. Three are in the Lifeway bookstores. And a new one released by Bethany House June 2011. I'm on staff at TSC and serve as the prayer and women's minister. I enjoy laughing, love "alone" time, and am learning to "be still" so I "will know."