If you ask this question, you’ll get a variety of answers.
“I hear God speak all the time.”
“I’ve never heard God speak.”
“Sometimes I think I hear God speak, but I’m not sure.”
“God speaks to special people, like Billy Graham, but he’s too busy to speak to ordinary people.”
One morning recently I was struggling. Unexpected circumstances had pulled the rug out from under us, and a thousand thoughts were whirling through my head.
“Lord, I need a word from you,” I prayed.
Every morning I read The One Year Bible, so I opened it to the reading for the day. I began by reading 2 Samuel 22. The final words of the chapter were, “(God) is the tower of salvation to his king, and shows mercy to his anointed, to David and his descendants forevermore.”
I know this passage was originally written about Israel’s King David, but my husband’s name is also David. Through this ancient passage, God reminded me that he would show mercy to my husband and my family. That God would send such a specific passage, with my husband’s name in it, was very sweet and comforting to me.
On the way to church, I checked my email. My friend Heather, who had no idea what was going on in our lives, sent me an encouraging note, which she ended with a Scripture reference, Romans 15:1-13. I looked up the verses, and verses 4, 12, and 13 stood out:
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. . . . Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him." May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
And when we reached church and settled into our Sunday school class, our teacher stood before the group and wrote four big letters on a dry erase board: H – O – P—E.
Do you think God answered my prayer? And what do you think his message to me was?
This series of events is a classic example of a few of the ways God speaks to his children.
One of the most common ways he speaks is through his Word. When I opened my Bible that morning, I heard a personal and powerful word from the Lord.
God also speaks through his people. My friend who sent the email had no idea our family was struggling; she simply obeyed what God told her to do—send Lori an encouraging email and share this Scripture passage with her.
God also speaks through preaching and teaching. My Sunday school teacher presented material that someone had written and published years ago, but God used it (and her) to remind me to have hope, even when circumstances say otherwise.
I began this post by sharing several responses to the question, “Have you ever heard God speak?” My recent experience demonstrated three ways God has spoken to me.
I realize, however, that if I hadn’t positioned myself to hear him, I might have missed his voice. If I hadn’t read my Bible that morning, I wouldn’t have read the Scripture that used my husband’s name. If I hadn’t cultivated friendships with godly believers, I wouldn’t have received my friend’s encouraging email. If I hadn’t gone to church, I would have missed the HOPE-filled message from my Sunday school teacher.
Our family experienced an unexpected challenge, but we were not unprepared. Because we had built spiritual disciplines into our lives, we were positioned to be able to hear God when he spoke. The reassurance we received bolstered our faith, calmed our fears, and reminded us that he is fully in control. And that, my friends, is what the Christian life is all about.
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