For years, I thought that people who heard the voice of God were only important Christians like Bible characters, the Pope, and probably missionaries in Africa.
The more I learned about this sometimes forgotten stepchild part of the Trinity known as the Holy Spirit, the more I was confused.
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” (NLT) John 16:13
Why would Jesus say that when the Spirit of truth comes, guiding us into all truth, he will tell us about the future if he isn't currently speaking to us about our lives—and what's to come?
Our Western culture is loud. If it's not the television, it's our smartphones, and if it's not our smartphones, it's our tablets, computers, endless music, radio, and the hustle and bustle of a life in constant motion. Think about it for a second….
When is the last time you got completely quiet with zero noise?
1. TURN OFF THE NOISE AND BE STILL
When I first started dating my husband, we could talk for ten hours straight. In fact, there were a few times we pulled a few all nighters because we simply wanted to know everything about each other and wouldn't shut up until we did. If the restaurant was too loud, we'd leave and sit on the park bench outside. If the song on the radio was our favorite, we didn't turn it up to hear. We wanted to make sure we that one of us was quiet enough to hear what the other person had to say.
Sometimes in order to really hear the voice of God on a specific matter, you have to stop talking to Him. You have to turn off your distractions, turn your heart, head, and face towards the heavens, and simply BE STILL and WAIT.
2. FIND OUT HOW YOU HEAR
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
My Studhubs will hang out with God and come back with full poetry, and for years because I didn't hear full sentences, I thought there was something wrong with me. I thought I couldn't hear correctly. But if I'm a sheep, and according to John 10:27 Jesus promised that I could hear His voice and follow Him, then maybe I just needed to pay attention to how I heard.
When I hear God, very rarely do I hear compete sentences. I see pictures. I have feelings. I feel a tug in a certain direction. I see movies in my imagination. A person's name will pop into mind. I dream dreams.
Hebrews 5:14 says, “Train your senses to discern between good and evil.” Our five senses (taste, smell, touch, sight, hearing) can all be trained to recognize and discern what God is doing. And because I'm a ‘feeler' I've learned to pay attention to my feelings. Many call it women's intuition, but I've come to know better. It's how God made me, and I'll just get a feeling about something and know whether or not to move forward, backwards, or if God is in it or it might be the enemy.
Many times, we're looking for a voice. But what if we started paying attention to random thoughts that come out of nowhere, prompting us to text a random friend, or close our eyes and begin to imagine the throne room in Revelation 4, seeing Jesus—looking into His eyes, and letting Him pull us close?
There are many ways to hear God. He speaks in the thunder, the whispers in the wind, in circumstances, pictures, feelings, promptings by the Holy Spirit—any way that you can receive instruction, this creative God can ‘speak.'
3. LOOK AND SEE, THEN PUT PEN TO PAPER
What’s God going to say to my questions? I’m braced for the worst.
I’ll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon.
I’ll wait to see what God says,
how he’ll answer my complaint.
And then God answered: “Write this.
Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters
so that it can be read on the run.
This vision-message is a witness
pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
It’s on its way. It will come right on time.
Habakkuk didn't simply hope that God's voice would hit him upside the head. He had questions, so he climbed to the top of the tower to scan the horizon, waiting to SEE what God was going to say. He was on the lookout to see the voice of God.
It seems strange to look for a voice, right? Shouldn't Habakkuk have been listening? The living word—this Jesus—is working in our circumstances all the time. And if we position our vision to look correctly, we can actually see His fingerprints working in our lives from all sides, and the more we're on the lookout, the easier it gets to recognize Him..
Then in verse 2, God tells him to write what He sees as plain as day so He can read it while running through life.
Over a decade ago, I began stilling my heart before God, listening to what I perceived, and then writing down what I saw, heard, and felt. I did this for years on end, filling notebook after notebook with love letters, pictures, and drawings that I would write to Jesus, then listening and perceiving as He showed me how much He loved me—and writing down what I heard. There was something beautiful about these physical messages—something so intimate and pure. And these letters built a history with Jesus that is now the foundation of everything I do.
Dear friend, you can hear the voice of God. He's not just speaking to the special or elite—He's speaking to all of us. And if God has been speaking on an FM station, you can search AM frequencies until you're blue in the face, but until you switch over to FM, you might not recognize His voice. Once you're familiar with the way that He speaks to you, and you build a history knowing what He's like, you won't just hear Him in the silence.
You'll hear Him everywhere.
Turn the dial of your heart today, stilling your mind and soul, realizing how you hear, and when you do hear, write it down, building a history with this beautiful God who longs to whisper to your heart, Counseling you into all truth.