How Does God Speak To Us?
I’ve never heard the audible voice of God telling me what to do. However, there was one time when I was returning to Orillia with my two children asleep in the back of the van and the words, Orillia is not your home, came at me with such clarity that if one of my children were awake I would have suspected he had said it. It was not audible; yet it was clear in my mind. This happened a year before we returned to the Peterborough area.
Another time, I was out for a nature walk and pondering in which direction to pursue my career. The words, Stay the course resounded in my mind and repeated again and again for the entire walk. The thought was different than my own rambling thoughts. It was clear, defined and exact.
I have learned that if I want to do the will of God I must be open to His nudging. I have had strong feelings and many times I have acted on them immediately. I remember being at a women’s retreat when I felt compelled to approach another woman and ask about her son. I obeyed the feeling, sat down next to the woman, and expressed my concern. The tears immediately came to her eyes as she disclosed the pain in her heart for her son. She hadn’t talked to anyone about this and after we prayed she felt like a burden had been lifted.
I believe this is one of the ways in which God speaks to us. I have learned, too, that God guides us in other ways. He guides us by His Spirit through the Bible, through people, and through circumstances.
My own experience with hearing God has been mainly through His Spirit – strong feelings, desires and impressions, visions and dreams that are always subjected to the authority of scripture to test their validity.
Jesus said that His sheep know His voice (John 10:3) and He will lead them (Acts 16:7). However, sometimes when I read the Bible I’d think, “They had it easy. God spoke directly to them. His voice was audible. Moses had the burning bush and the command to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground.” I thought that it would be nice to hear God’s voice the way I heard my own parents’ voices on the telephone. I envied the relationship that these Bible people had with God.
However, I recently was invited to look at this in a new light. After Jesus’ death and resurrection He promised to send us His Spirit.
“Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:21-22).
His Spirit is in us. He is always with us. Everywhere we go becomes a holy place because God dwells in us. In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit came upon them just to accomplish a specific purpose. We have the privilege and the honour of having the Holy Spirit living within us always. I am comforted to have God guide me through the Holy Spirit instead of an audible voice.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? (1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV)
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