God's Voice or My Thoughts? How to Know the Difference

When I went to bed that night, I knew who was right—I was. 

When I awakened the next morning, I wasn’t so sure. 

The conversation went over the cliff before I even realized it had changed direction. One minute we were brainstorming ways to fix a problem, and the next minute we were exchanging angry words. He stomped off to bed, and I stayed up and stewed. 

Horizontal or vertical, I’m confident we were both rehearsing how right we were and how wrong the other was. 

Why didn’t she just look up the information when I asked her to? She doesn’t listen, just goes off and does what she wants to do without listening to me. 

Why couldn’t he just wait patiently? I was on to something. Just a few more clicks, and I’d have had the information we needed. 

I considered sleeping in the guest bedroom, but wasn’t willing to give up my comfy bed to make a point. But you’d better believe I’m staying waaaaay over on my side when I do come to bed.

Eventually fatigue won out, and I crawled into bed, staying far to the right of the imaginary line I’d drawn down the center.

Lord, I prayed silently as I clung to the edge of the mattress, pride is an ugly thing. Please help him realize he was wrong, and make him apologize for his unkind words. I don’t want us to spend tomorrow at odds with each other. Then I finished with a sincere but skeptical request: And if I was at fault in any way, please reveal this to me. Amen. 

The next morning, the strangest thing happened. When the alarm sounded on my iPhone, I heard God’s voice. And it didn't sound like Siri.

I’ve always loved the story in 1 Samuel 3, where God awakened the boy Samuel out of a sound sleep by audibly calling his name. But that’s not what happened to me. Instead, God spoke two sentences into my barely-awake consciousness: I’m sorry I was slow to look up the information you asked for. Will you please forgive me? 

As the words echoed in my mind, I knew the Lord was speaking. 

First, the words were true. While I wasn’t totally at fault in the argument, I did have a part in it. 

Second, the words were a direct answer to the prayer I’d prayed before I fell asleep. 

Third, the words did not originate with me. When I’d gone to bed the night before, I was still convinced that I was all right, and he was all wrong. Those two sentences had to have come from God. 

Fourth, to say those words to my husband, I’d have to humble myself and take the first step toward reconciliation. Since this was the last thing my sinful flesh wanted to do, I was confident it was God’s idea, not mine.  

Once I realized I’d heard from God, I knew I had two choices: obey or disobey. 

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins,” (Jas. 4:17). 

I’d like to say I always obey, but I’d be lying. That day, however, I did what the Lord told me to do. As soon as my husband opened his eyes, I said the words God had planted into my brain. 

“I’m sorry I was slow to look up the information you asked for. Will you forgive me?” 

“I’m sorry I was grumpy with you. I was sleepy and impatient.” 

Kiss. Kiss. Hug. Hug. All was well again. 

Not all our arguments end so peacefully. Sometimes I hold on to my stubborn, sinful, self-righteousness and refuse to invite God into the strife. I fail to ask God to show me where I was wrong and focus instead on someone else’s sin or my own perceived innocence. 

But when I do pray and ask God to glorify himself, even in our arguments, I give him permission to work. Sometimes he speaks to me through his Word, sometimes through wise counsel, and sometimes, if I’m willing to listen, he speaks through the still, small voice of his Holy Spirit. 

If you’re in the middle of a conflict with someone, I invite you to pray about it. Watch to see how he answers. Be quick to obey what he tells you to do. You won’t regret it. 

What about you? How has the Lord spoken to you during times of conflict? I’d love to hear your story. Leave a comment below, or, if you’re reading by email, click HERE to visit Hungry for God online, scroll down to the end of the post, and leave a comment there.

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  1. Lori I just love you! God uses you in such wonderful ways with your daily life situations, and it is such a joy to know you and your ministry. Thank you for all you do to communicate God's Word. You are a blessing to so many!

  2. Lori, thank you for sharing this post. It's interesting how we can think we're RIGHT and others are WRONG. God does have a way of clarifying things in all types of relationships.