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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Prepare to Hear God's Message

Paper in hand, Debbie looked up at me. “Are you saying God doesn’t communicate deep in one’s soul without the use of external triggers?”

She’d just read my recent article entitled “Has God Ever Spoken to You?” In it, I confessed my skepticism about people claiming God spoke to them. I also even admitted I’ve made that assertion.

Debbie’s query wasn’t unexpected. Upon occasion, she’s said, “God told me….” However, her challenge pushed me to reconsider my not-so-hot hotline to heaven.

My article cited providential circumstances, observations rather than audibles or gut instinct, external versus internal. Furthermore, my explicit prayer request had not been addressed. I could conclude, “He told me…, but not, “He told me to….”

Before marrying Debbie over ten years ago, I was at a crossroads. Our long-distance relationship and upheaval at work jolted my predictable existence and yanked away the security of a decades-long status quo. With an overwhelmed heart and a cluttered mind, I couldn’t commit to steps on either front. Debbie and I agreed to take a time-out.

During the separation, I pleaded with God for clarity and direction. I’d been on my knees all along but also busy obsessing about work and traveling around New England chasing Debbie. My “hearing” was impaired. With the excitement in my life on hold, God finally had my full attention.

Elijah Hears from God

On a grander stage, Elijah stumbled onto some hearing impediments of his own. He’d just wowed the spectators with God’s power and took down scads of false prophets in the process (1 Kings 18:20-40). Jezebel was livid and wanted revenge. Despite the miracle God had just performed through him, Elijah hightailed it to the hills in fear. From 1 Kings 19:11-13a (NKJV):

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, ….

Only when Elijah was prepared for the message could God’s voice penetrate his soul.

Ready, Set, Listen

On a relaxing weekend afternoon, I sat alone on my bed, enjoying the sun streaming through the sheers in my small apartment—and missing Debbie. Then, it happened.

Committed Christian . . . likes to bike . . . outstanding companion . . . trusted confidante.

The trickle increased to a steady stream and morphed from Debbie’s attributes to reasons to marry her.

Incredibly loving . . . cute . . . gets my humor . . . I want to show the depth of my love to her . . ..

The dam was giving way, and the download was too important to ignore. I retrieved a notebook and filled up two columns in no time.

I called a friend who doubled as a spiritual mentor. “This is a gift from God,” he said.

The next several days, the list ballooned. No theatrics, no signs to interpret, no directives. Yet God really had my attention now.

A conscious decision to detach and be still (Psalm 46:10) brought clarity. God didn’t tell me to marry Debbie, but instead gave me—and her—a choice. When we moved forward faithfully, it became apparent He had answered a long-standing prayer. Today’s review of the 91 reasons to marry Debbie reminds me how well we fit together, an indelible imprint of God’s extravagant grace.

Is there a pressing matter in your life and you need to hear from God? Maybe you’re not ready to act on what He reveals. Or perhaps He’s already spoken, but you can’t hear His voice over the din—the endless distractions of this world.

If God has ever spoken to you deep within your soul, please share your story. It will encourage those who are striving to hear from Him.

Copyright © 2020 Tim Bishop, used with permission.

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