When Do You Hear God?
by Stephanie Olson, Co-founder Set Me Free Ministries
“When do you hear God's still small voice?”
This quote was on one of my friend's Facebook page. Interesting question, isn't it?
A while ago, I was having dinner with a good friend of mine. We were talking about the ability to hear God’s voice, and she said, "Isn't it crazy that people think they actually have direct access to God?" I said, "Well, I believe we do." She backtracked slightly and said, "Well, I know, but I mean, people really think God speaks to them." Again I said, "Well, I believe He does."
Despite what some people believe, God has a deep desire to be in a relationship with all of us. None of us are excluded from that. There are not those of us God wants to spend time with and those of us He thinks, “Boy, I hope Stephanie doesn’t pray to me today!” No. He wants that same intimacy with every single one of us. The difference is that some people don’t want to do the work required to have that intimacy with Him.
I have yet to have God stand behind me, tap me on the shoulder and say, "Stephanie, it is I, God." (Think James Earl Jones.)
Yet, God speaks to me all of the time. And though I have never heard His voice audibly, He speaks to me through His Word, through other people, directly in my spirit (like an idea in my head or my conscience), and through music that glorifies His name. God is consistently speaking to us; we just need to be quiet long enough to listen. Now that isn't always easy, is it? Not for me, anyway.
Here's the thing, though, when God speaks, He doesn't always say what we want to hear. Sometimes His words require change from us. Sometimes His words require us to take a long look at our lives. His desire is for us is to become more like Him, to be more Christ-like. I don't know about you, but I'm not there yet. But I'm listening. I'm willing to work on the tough stuff. I desire to spend time with Him, and I'm willing to hear what He desires for me.
Before Jesus walked on earth, the Tabernacle was built for a dwelling place for God. It was separated into three areas. The Outer Court (a place of sacrifice), the Holy Place (a place of worship), and The Holy of Holies, also called the Most Holy Place (a place of communion adoration). The Holy of Holies was the area where God dwelled. Separating the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place was a veil that was about 60 feet high, 30 feet wide, and four inches thick. The veil was in place to deter anyone from approaching God’s awesome presence with irreverence. In fact, the only person that could access God directly was the high priest, who had to go through meticulous measures to enter. “But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.” (Heb. 9:7, NLT)
As Jesus drew His last breath on the cross, the veil was miraculously torn from top to bottom. No man could have torn the veil, because the height and thickness made tearing it humanly impossible. Why did God tear the veil? Because when Jesus died, Jesus became our High Priest; at that moment, we were given direct access to God. We no longer require a human high priest, because we have Jesus! God loves us so much, desires intimacy with us so much, that He sent His Son to die for us. We don't need to go through anyone; we can go straight to Him.
He longs to speak with us, but unless we spend time in His Word, time in prayer, and time developing our relationship with Him, we won’t recognize His voice. Jesus says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27, NKJ) God is no respecter of persons. Peter says in Acts 10:34, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism.” (NLT) He wants to spend as much time with you as He does with (insert any person you deem “spiritual”). He loves you, and He loves me.
So, back to that question that started all of this: When do you hear God's still small voice?