Grief, frustration and resentment seeped through the words, “I guess God just doesn’t talk to me.” A committed servant of the church, a faithful Christian who lived a scriptural life, my friend’s voice trembled over the perceived silence of God. My heart ached then and now. God is not silent; He continually calls. Communicating with us is the heartbeat of Scripture.
The Bible is full of awesome accounts of answered prayers and individual encounters with God. God has not changed His method of operation. Hearing is a gift we receive from God. Listening is a gift we offer back to God. Listening is an act of love and appreciation that requires effort and self-denial.
How can it be that a man who walked in the presence of God for nearly ninety years could fail to discern the voice He was obeying? It is tremendously easy…and heartbreakingly common. Let’s consider some Hearing Aids we can all employ!
The first hearing aid is FOCUS: We live in a noisy world. Background noises fill our ears: electricity hums; motors purr; sirens wail; trains rumble, and jets roar. We learn to tune out our minds, to be people who do NOT hear. That habit threatens to deafen us to God. We babble prayers, spilling out our lists of concerns and wants yet fail to engage our hearts with His heart. We tell God how we feel but don’t ask how He feels. One-way communication leaves us disconnected and empty. Instead, we must learn to do as Oswald Chambers states and “…keep our conscious life as a sacred place for the Holy Spirit.” The Father has a purpose and plan for all that He allows in our lives; we must ask Him to reveal that purpose. Our concerns and the emotions they generate are to be prayer fodder for the Holy Spirit. He takes them to the Father and returns to us the desires of God.
Then, we must receive those desires instead of our own! Our wants tend to keep us distracted and hinder our focus on God. My daughter identified this well when she was just eight years old. At prayer time one evening, she said “Mommy, would you ask God something for me?” Puzzled, I replied that God heard her just as clearly as He heard me. She responded, “Yes, but when I really want something, I can’t hear Him.” SURRENDER is our next vital hearing aid!
Finally, our hearing is perfectly tuned in WORSHIP. When we allow our lives to reveal the heart of God to us, we will be awed at His wisdom, love and power. His Word is the filter for that revelation. His voice is always consistent with who He has revealed Himself to be in the Bible. We must read His Words to know His heart.
Nothing in the life of the saint is accidental. All that we encounter offers opportunity to consider the heart of God and know Him more. Focus, surrender and worship bring the Kingdom of God to bear on the world around us. Perhaps you will enjoy a glimpse in the natural world of what it looks like when a child hears a parent’s voice…listen for our Father and you will smile too! God is speaking. Hear Him and share His voice with others!