Hearing from God.....Billboards and All
by Karen Wolff
Wouldn't it be great if hearing from God was as simple as reading a billboard as you're driving? Just think, you could be driving down the road and God could simply choose one of a zillion billboards on the side of the road to get your attention. There you'd be with a mapped out message right from God. Pretty cool, huh? I've often thought that method would certainly work for me!
On the other hand, God could decide to use something more subtle. Like a gentle rap on the side of head whenever we veer off the course. Yup, there's a thought....God smacking people whenever they weren't listening. I'm afraid we'd all be walking around pretty much in a daze from all that "activity".
Hearing from God is a learned skill. Of course, you could be one of the lucky ones like Moses, who was walking up the mountain, minding his own business, when he stumbled onto the burning bush. Most of us don't have those kinds of encounters so we find ourselves looking for ways to tell if we're hearing from God.
So ... How Can I Tell if I'm Really Hearing From God?
Here are some common ways God talks to us:
#1 HIS WORD. In order to actually "hear" from God, we have to learn some things about God's character. We have to develop an understanding of who God is, and the way He does things. Fortunately for us, all that info is available in the Bible. The book goes into a lot of detail about how we can expect God to react, what kinds of expectations He has for us, and most specifically, how He expects us to treat other people.
#2 OTHER PEOPLE. Many times God will use other people to try to get through to us. It's possible for God to use anyone at any time, but I find more messages coming from people who are practicing Christians than non-practicing ones.
#3 OUR CIRCUMSTANCES. Sometimes the only way God can teach us something is to allow circumstances in our life to lead us THROUGH the very thing we need to discover. When we realize we're hearing from God through the circumstances, we're able to move another step forward.
#4 THE STILL SMALL VOICE. Most of the time God uses a tiny voice inside us to let us know when we're not on the right path. Some people call it "the voice of peace". Whenever we're contemplating something and we don't have peace about it, it's a very good idea to stop and carefully look at the options. There's a reason we don't feel peace about it.
#5 THE ACTUAL VOICE. Sometimes we're able to "hear" something in our spirit that sounds to us like an actual audible voice. Or all of a sudden, you just know you heard something from somewhere. Pay attention to those occasions because it's very likely God trying to tell you something.
When God Talks......Shut Up and Listen
Let me give you an example. A couple years ago I signed up to become a hospital visitor for my church. When I first saw the notice in our church bulletin, I immediately felt I should respond. But, I let it pass. Over the next couple of weeks, the thought occurred to me off and on so I said to myself, "If I see the notice in the bulletin this coming Sunday, I'll sign up."
Of course, it was in there. But this time, when I saw it, there was no getting away from it. I finally had to say, "OK, OK God, I'm going!"
So there I was doing hospital visits for the first time. I was nervous, but I prayed A LOT before I went, and I was doing OK. On my way to my second hospital, I prayed again that God would use me to represent Him to all the sick people, giving comfort, etc.
Right in front of the hospital was a crosswalk with a traffic light. As I stood at the corner I kept praying, starting to cross, even though the light was red. I mean, I was in a hurry trying to get to all those sick people!
Right in the middle of the street I heard, "So you want to represent Me, and you can't even make it across the street without breaking the law?"
I was so shocked by this, I said the most spiritual thing I could think of .... "Oops".
God uses lots of things to talk to us. But actually hearing from God isn't so much a matter of "IF" He's talking, it's whether we're listening.
For more help on this topic, go to Hearing God's Voice
About the Author
Karen Wolff is the founder of
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