Starting out on my walk this morning I prayed for friends and family, many facing challenging situations, health issues, and uncertainty regarding their future. I also prayed for God to speak to me and provide ideas and words to share through my writing. Soon a very clear thought came to my mind and I knew it was something God had given me to expand on and write about in a blog. But, before pursuing that idea I feel very compelled to write on the subject of God speaking.
I don’t know about you, but I believe God speaks to his children. Throughout the Bible God spoke – sometimes his children obeyed and sometimes they did not. It is the much same today. Most people want any goodness God might throw their way but they do not want to submit control of their lives to him. I have found that God can be trusted, he is always working for my good, and life is much, much better when I seek him and obey him.
So, how does God speak? That’s the fun part! He is God and we are not. He will not speak the same way every time. He will speak differently to each individual. But I assure you He will speak.
Let me illustrate. In my mid-20’s I began to feel a stirring in my heart that God wanted me to go to seminary for graduate work. My plan was to stay in the business world. But I could not shake this sense that God was leading me towards ministry. I prayed hard that this would go away or that God would confirm and speak to me in some unmistakable way. Because I had family at New Orleans Baptist Seminary I assumed that would be my school if, indeed, God was calling/speaking to me.
A few months later I planned a vacation to see friends and family in Texas. I was taking a break and just wanted to enjoy some time away. My first stop was Ft. Worth where my cousin and her husband were finishing up their studies at Southwestern Seminary. They wanted to show me the campus and as we drove up I thought, “well this place certainly isn’t as pretty as the campus in New Orleans.” As we got out of the car, the minute my feet hit the ground I “heard” a clear voice inside my heart saying, “This is where I want you!” My first thought was, “I’m not even praying right now! I’m taking a break!” But I knew immediately that God had spoken to me and that he was really turning my life upside down. So then I had to decide – was I going to trust him and obey his call to seminary and to ministry? Was I going to disappoint my family and go to Ft. Worth instead of New Orleans?
The more I thought and prayed about all this I came to this ah-ha moment — the people who know me, love me, and want the best for me all have the potential to be wrong. But a word from God will never be wrong – because He is God. I knew he had spoken – mainly because what he said was so contrary to my thoughts on the subject. Off to Ft. Worth I went, with some of my family a little frustrated, at least initially. It was a wonderful season of my life. Thank you God!
In the Bible, God spoke to Moses from a burning bush; no one else had that same experience, but it was how God chose to speak at that time.
When God spoke to Joshua and gave him specific instructions concerning the city of Jericho, he followed the instructions completely. Amazingly, following complete obedience to every silly detail, the walls of the city fell, just as God had promised.
One other illustration from my life was some years ago when my daughter, Mary Margaret, wanted to go on a school trip that cost $1200. We could not afford it and told her so. A few weeks before trip she got a call that a $1000 scholarship was available to her and she just needed $200 in order to sign up! She came into my home office so excited and – I hate to admit it – I must have been having a bad day, I replied, “We did not have $1200 and we don’t have the $200!” (It’s tough admitting I said that.) Immediately, the Lord zapped me and clearly spoke to me, “you have two one hundred dollar bills behind you on your desk; give them to her.” That money was a Christmas gift from my Mama to buy clothes and I had not yet spent it. Shopping is not my thing, and I had put off going because I am not good at it. After praying about it overnight I called Mary Margaret into my office and gave her the money, knowing God told me to do so. She was overjoyed and so grateful. I felt such a peace and was thrilled when she had a wonderful experience on that trip. As to God’s overflowing goodness . . . in this case I got the big after-surprise of a blessing. A friend called a couple of weeks later and announced she was taking me on a shopping spree for my birthday and she would be my personal shopper! She had no idea about the $200 I gave away, and for my birthday that year we made a sweet memory of shopping for clothes together and her gift to me exceeded $1000! Who knew? Only God. Does God speak? Yes, he does. Can we trust him, even when we do not understand? Absolutely.
Unfortunately many people don’t give God credit when he speaks. They say it was a coincidence or a random act. How sad that God speaks through nature, through his word, through friends and co-workers, through his Holy Spirit who lives in believers, and yet we refuse to acknowledge his involvement and activity in our lives and all around us.
Are you struggling with something in your life? Is your future uncertain? Do you wonder if God even exists?
Pray, and ask God to speak to you. Then wait and watch. Open you eyes and your ears. He will speak and you will be amazed! Be prepared to be surprised because he will probably speak in a way you were not expecting. That’s confirmation that he is the one speaking.
He loves you with an everlasting love; he is faithful. His instructions may contradict your logic or your preferences. But his plan is always best. You can trust him with every facet of your life.
Be still and know that I am God.