How does God speak to us?

I was hanging out on an awesome new site called www.soulpancake.com – I highly recommend it if you like sharing ideas and asking questions about God and life.

Anyhoo, someone there asked this question: Why doesn’t God speak to me?
And went on to say:
“I have talked to a handful of people who have claimed to hear something from god or feel like they are being guided in a direction by him. I have never felt these connections…ever. Has anybody on here had a personal experience with God? I’d like to hear your story. ”

To this I gave the following response, and I thought I’d share it on my blog. 🙂

“When I was a new Christian (as a 16 yrs old) I had a question for my youth pastor. I was trying to learn about prayer and how to be in relationship with God. It was all a bit hard for me to conceptualize; this idea of having a “friendship” with the creator of the universe (often it is still daunting). In my life I have benefited from being able ACTUALLY talk with the people I am in relationship with. But, with God, I had not yet heard “His voice” or an audible word from Him. So, I asked my youth pastor, “Hey, why doesn’t God talk to people anymore the way he did back in the Bible times?”

His response was quick and full of wisdom – he said, “Ed, do you think that because God hasn’t spoken to you that He doesn’t speak to anyone? Even in the Bible, God only spoke to certain people. He chooses to do what He chooses to do.”

I loved the clarity he brought to this topic for me. I often universalize my experience. And, I also think that sometimes we place expectations on what God “should” do.. sometimes we expect him to heal our hurt really fast, sometimes we ask him to give us “that job”, that relationship, that thing we want… etc.

So, for me, at one point I found myself in a place similar to the one you are describing. The thing I wanted, and fully expected, was to hear God’s voice audibly. I wanted that, and expected God to deliver. I would think things like, “If God’s real, then He’ll speak to me the way I want him to.”

As best I can explain, I believe God is not limited in communication the way that we are. Because God is omnipresent and spirit – He is not confined to language or vocal chords to communicate with us. When we slow ourselves down, take time to pray, and ask God to speak with us… often in silence, for me He has. I have never heard him speak out loud – but I am very okay with that.

Think of someone you love for a moment, and now imagine that you have something very important to tell them. What if you could break through the barriers of communication and speak directly to someone’s heart and mind without needing to think of the right words or the right tone? What if you could just connect your heart to their heart? Wouldn’t that be great! Well, God can do that.

It can be a hard thing to learn to hear God’s “voice”. But he does speak. And more often that not He does it on His terms. Which is also a good thing. As a Christian I need to forefit my terms and adopt God’s terms and ways all the time. The Bible says God made us in His image, but we often turn around and return the favor – “making” God in our image with our limitations with our biases, with our flaws. But God is not like us. We know a lot about Him, but if you ask any theologian about how much they know about God – they would say the sum of their knowledge would only be scratching the surface. There is always so much more to Him. We cannot fully understand his ways.

As for the people who claim to hear God’s voice – it very well may be true! Sometimes God needs to get someones attention is such a drastic way that He will do what He needs to in order to get through (I can only guess this, since I cannot know the ultimate motivations for God to do what He does). God does speak to people – and He does it how He determines that He needs to. And people who hear God’s audible voice are not more loved or cherished or favored by Him.

I have had personal experiences with God – one from lately is simply a thought that ended up in the forefront of mind recently. A random student I used to teach popped up in my mind and I got this sense that God wanted me to pray for her. So, I did. Weeks after that moment I talked with her current youth leader and it turns out she had been in a terrible bike accident where she was injured, but that it could have been way worse. She was okay, but really rattled her.

Turns out that it coincided with the day she came to mind for me. In my journey as a follower of Christ I no longer believe in coincidence. :-)”

It ends with a thud doesn’t it? That’s because by the end I had reached my limit of 4000 characters! Yikes! I didn’t realize how long my response was.

So, what do you think about all of this? How do you think God speaks? If at all?

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