Over a cup of tea with a teen that I deeply respect, the familiar conversation came up. How can I hear the voice of God? What is His will for my life? We dialogued for a long time and her questions made me wonder if others are eager for similar conversation.
Just to be clear from the start, I’m not a theologian, bible scholar, minister or philosopher. Any knowledge or wisdom shared is from truths embraced, and some years spent trying to live them out. With soul ears tuned into God in my teens, it’s been a daily battle to not change the dial.
“God is always at work around you and He invites you to join Him in his work.”
This simple statement taken from Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby was the first truth that shaped my teen heart to believe that God is involved in our lives. Whether we identify His activity or not, His presence is there. Begin the journey with gratitude. Thank God for the blueprint of your life He crafted before you were born. Praise Him for making it possible to have a relationship with Him.
I fought with God. I tried to reason with Him for why this was unfair. At 16, being confined to bed with a chronic illness for nearly two years felt like punishment. He began to speak in quiet whispers, assuring me that He was with me and still loved me, inspite of how my body felt. I began to write it all down. This was much more than a diary, it was an ongoing dialogue between me and my Maker. Intimate, real, raw, authentic. He understood my circumstances better than anyone.
“When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions.” (Matthew 5:1-2, The Message)
He sees the huge crowds and He jets the other way. His loyals climb right along side of him, likely eager to know what He’s up to now. He begins to teach them rich, deep, life-changing truths. (Unpack them yourself starting in Matthew 5)
Today the journey to find stillness looks much different. With a husband and 3 young kids to love and feed, sanctuary requires intentionality. Choose a place that is restful, grab java and a journal, and claim your sanctuary. Soak in the scriptures. Write or sing or blog what you hear spoken in that quiet place.
The questions that Lysa Terkeurst offers in her book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, may serve as a good guide or litmus test in the discerning process for us.
- Does what I’m hearing line up with scripture?
- Is what I’m hearing consistent with God’s character?
- Is what I’m hearing being confirmed through other messages?
- Is what I’m hearing beyond me? (my ability, strength, wisdom)
- Would what I’m hearing please God?
Be patient to wait and see how God will confirms His words. We serve a creative God and He quite often uses a variety of different methods to get our attention. Be open, expectant and ready to receive.
After an intense battle with aggressive brain cancer, my mom made the journey home, when I was 20 years old. As a role model, confidant, friend and mentor, her absence left a deep scar upon my heart.
“Sue, will you still love me? Even in the midst of this pain, do you believe that I am good?”. I didn’t have an answer. Was God to blame for her death?
Curled up on the couch at home sobbing many months afterwards, I felt my heart being held close. He was hurting right alongside of me. I realized on that day that He is a good Father, in spite of anything that happens in my life. He can be trusted.
Obedience is a choice. It’s an act of our will, not an emotional reaction. I believe God most often speaks to us, to stir up within a heart of love and compassion for others. His mission mandate is hope for the nations, and His desired method is through ordinary people like you and me. Will we believe, listen and obey? The adventure awaits!