At the recent Church Camp, campers heard on the subject of “Hearing the Voice of God.”
Seven video interviews were aired, where each speaker shared, unaware of what the others would be covering. However, the common theme that came through unmistakably was – first and foremost – God speaks to us through His revealed Word – i.e. our reading of the Bible. As we obey what we learn from Scriptures, God sees our desire to hear from Him and obey Him, and He reveals, step by step. This gives us the daily guidance each of us needs; the ‘non-spectacular’ guidance, so to speak.
But does God give ‘spectacular’ guidance, say, when we are choosing from two alternatives which are both good, and want to make the ‘right’ decision? Does God speak audibly and say ‘go here and not there’, we wanted to know.
Yes, the speakers shared, some giving very startling examples, but all quick to point out that they were the exceptions rather than the rule. Rather, they reminded us that none need worry that God, who loves us so immensely, wants to make it difficult for us to know His voice or will. On the contrary, He is ever waiting to reveal Himself. As we regularly and systematically read His Word, and obey it in our lives, we will experience guidance as well receive the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit confirming it. We will also be able to confirm such guidance through the counsel of our fellow Christians within the church community who also seek to do His will.
Another point made was that because God made each of us uniquely and knows us intimately, He often speaks to us through a pathway specially suited to us. He often uses a medium that is unique to you, for e.g., breath-taking nature, beautiful poetry, a hobby or sport, music, or deep thoughts. In our group discussion, one member said God spoke to her through her passion, cooking. She was prompted to minister to a sick neighbour who was steadfastly opposed to being prayed for – by preparing a soup for his convalescence. Long-time barriers were brought down, and her ministry progressed to a new level, receiving permission to pray for him.
The final point I took home was a warning – the need to maintain our spiritual state to be able to hear God. We were reminded about hard ground which is unsuitable for planting seeds – an analogy from Jesus’ parable about the 4 kinds of soil, 3 of which were unsuitable due to their condition. We were warned against having hard hearts which make us unreceptive to what God wants to tell us. Guard against distractions and blockages. To name a few – the pursuit of wealth or power, or allowing sin or unforgiveness to take root in our lives, – all of which will prevent us from hearing what He wants to tell us. We need to constantly work at our spiritual condition to remain attuned to God. Just like those of us who are close to our spouses intuitively know what they are thinking or desire, so too in our relationship with God. Lack of closeness to God means hearing Him less.
If you’ve been struggling with receiving God’s guidance, be encouraged. The loving Father is waiting to reveal His thoughts to you. Go to Him daily.
By Daniel John, Elder (YCKC Bulletin 7&8 July 2018)