How do I know when I hear God?
A few things that I know to be truth are that (1) God does not change.
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. James 1:17-18 (NIV)
AND (2) God speaks throughout the Bible. (Seriously, just read a little here and there from Genesis on, you will find Him speaking all over the place to regular, ordinary people!)
Why not to me?
Why not to you?
Psalm 62:11-12 (NIV)
11 One thing God has spoken,
two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
according to what they have done.”
But how do I know? Interestingly, most of the time, what I hear from God is very opposite my own thinking. Opposite.
I want to hear an “Atta Girl! You tell’em!” Instead, He reminds me a soft answer is what He has in mind.
I would stay put right here in my comfortable home, but He often sends me to places I would have never chosen.
So now, when I hear from Him, I know.
Because, for sure, it is not my own thinking that is speaking to me. It is not something I have in mind to do or say, nor I place I would normally go; nor an idea I would naturally have on my own.
No, it is most often just the opposite and according to His perfect and merciful nature.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8 (NIV)
How I am reminded of this truth, time and time again!
And when I take that first step in listening, when I DO the thing I hear first;
when I have finally learned to say, “Okay. I don’t know about this, but you do, Lord.”
In that moment of trust is precisely when I get direction for the next step.
This has been my experience and it is a definite pattern.
It happens this way so often that only experiencing the ‘step by step’ ness of walking with God causes me to realize how it works.
Oh, it is a walk! No wonder this is such a universal description of our relationship with our Father.
Human walks are different. We design the walk start to finish, gauging how much time it will take, setting the course and planning the pace according to our own schedule.
A plan to walk with my husband sounds like this, “Honey, do you want to take a walk?”
“Track or park?”
“Park. Let’s do three miles.”
And there we go. We embark on a simple exercise of our own making. For my husband and me, it is a good time together. We talk, get some fresh air, share our thoughts and upcoming plans.
But this walk together, while it may be good and healthy for us, is but a shadow of the model of our walk with our Heavenly Father.
Our walk with Him is according to His plan, not our planning as we might want it, but always ALWAYS a wonderful and exciting adventure!
“Child! Let’s take a walk!”
“Don’t worry about that, just take this step in My direction. Over here!”
“Okay. Now what?”
“Just be with Me. Enjoy that for awhile.”
“Now, go over there and tell that lady that I love her.”
“What?! I don’t know her.”
“Yeh. I know. It’s okay. I know her. Just do it. Trust Me on this one.”
(Here is where I’ve finally learned to ‘just do it’ Nike’s got nothing on God with this slogan. It was His first and one of His favorites.)
So, I do it.
And right there my understanding begins to unfold. Sometimes very rapidly, like a fast forward movie. Other times, more slowly, a gentle breeze of motion.
Turns out she needed to hear that.
She had been praying for a sign that God was hearing her prayers for her child. She had been distraught, desperate for something to hold on to; scared and feeling alone.
So when I perceived my assignment and simply moved on what I heard, the rest began to fall into place. She received what she needed. Overjoyed! Relieved of all that had plagued her heart!
One word sent from God and she was rescued from her worry.
God will find a way to reach us. He will use the willing.
And He will do it, with or without us, no problem.
I only know that I never want to miss out on the unspeakable abundance of blessing to be found in the awesomeness of what He is doing on this earth!
No longer am I surprised, but ALWAYS and forever, I continue to be completely amazed by the range of His intimate touches and grand gestures toward us!
So it is that I also receive; and to me, it is more… the blessing of His mission accomplished, of being used, a willing vessel;
of not having to guess what to do, but only doing what the Holy Spirit says to do; a better understanding of my Father,
and oh yes, a closer walk, a mini adventure in the great BIG adventure of faith, a spark for His leading, a desire to know Him even better,
and the assurance that He is listening (to us all); He is speaking (desiring that we know it and hear Him) and He does love us (with ALL of His Heart).